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April 1, 2024

Boost your patient engagement with this

First, what’s wrong with current patient engagement strategies?

Care organizations tend to overcomplicate their patient engagement strategies, focusing on A/B testing for minor things like color, font, or slight message tweaks. The problem is that, by doing so, they prioritize marginal improvements over deeply understanding their patient's needs. 

How others solve patient engagement

Recently, a payor executive shared how a dentist reduced his no-show rate to under 1%, well below the typical 15%, by personally calling his patients. Initially, a medical assistant handled these calls, with little effect. But once the dentist left personal voicemails, missed appointments plummeted. 

This isn’t just a one-off tale. When I was using a digital PT app (SWORD, highly recommend), I pretty much ignored every automated nudge it sent my way. But the moment my PT personally reached out, I started working out within 5 minutes. It felt like they cared. Chris Hogg has shared a similar story from his own experience: 

For anyone with a psychology background, none of this is surprising. In his book “Influence”, Dr. Cialdini highlights “Authority” as a key principle of persuasion: “People follow the lead of credible experts”. But that’s exactly my point, effective behavior change doesn’t always require fancy technology, sometimes, a more human, psychological approach is all it takes.

Simple next steps

  1. Gather a group of clinicians ready to personally call or text patients whenever action is needed on their part (or automate the initial message but personalize it with the clinician’s name)
  2. Run the experiment over a few weeks
  3. Compare the outcomes between the experiment group and business as usual (yup, this is a/b testing. I never said you shouldn’t do it, I said you should pair it with a focus on what patients need and want)
  4. If successful, do a company-wide rollout? (and share your findings with me)


Quick intro: we’re Thomas and Rik, building Awell - a low-code platform allowing care teams to design, implement and optimize care flows in days, not months. CareOps grew out of our years spent improving CareOps at innovative providers.

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