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What is the Digital Front Door?

By Alyssa Carter, Director of Marketing at Wellsource

One benefit of digital technology for patient acquisition marketing is the ability to maximize outreach so that you can connect with the right people at the right time for their care needsIncreasingly, this is taking place on digital spaces. Today’s prospective patients are turning to digital screening, online research, and virtual visits at increasing rates.  

This first digital encounter with a patient is an opportunity to start a patient on a journey towards better health. It’s up to healthcare marketers to welcome patients with engaging experiences that direct them to the next best step in care – essentially, to roll out a welcome mat at healthcare’s digital front door. 

What is the Digital Front Door?  

The Digital Front Door is a healthcare marketing concept that assumes patient journeys begin in the digital world, before a patient ever walks into your hospital or clinic.  Beyond having a website or scheduling tool, a digital front door strategy involves engaging patients in a meaningful way throughout their healthcare journey, beginning with technology as a first interaction. This concept is based on evolving healthcare consumer behaviors in an increasingly digital world, recognizing that patients: 

  • Use search engines prior to booking an appointment 
  • Use online reviews to evaluate providers 
  • Rely on online resources for choosing their provider  
  • Are increasingly likely to use self-assessment tools and condition-specific research before taking action to meet with providers 

What’s more, today’s more digitally-savvy patients have grown to expect 24/7 access to your health system or hospital, facilitated by online booking, chat bots, or self-service tools and condition-specific resources 

Knock Knock – It's Me, Your Patient 

Developing an effective digital front door strategy will require thinking of your patient – their needs, their habits, their preferences and concerns – and using tactics to meet them where they are in their health journey.  

Think about it – a patient journey can consist of hundreds of digital touchpoints, from search results and resource pages on your website to follow up emails, appointment reminders, and messages through a patient portalTechnology is integral to this strategy, as it can expand patient access, scale to meet growing needs within the community, and drive more customizable and personalized patient experiences. 

Data is the Key to Unlocking the Digital Front Door 

The best way to build engaging, personalized experiences for prospective patients is to know who you’re speaking to and craft messages and outreach that will resonate with that patients’ specific concerns.  

This requires data.  

Every interaction a patient has – digitally and in person – helps to paint a fuller picture of their health needs and concerns. Data fuels marketing initiatives, targeting the right person, for the right care, and at the right time. With this data in hand, healthcare marketers can segment patients into appropriate messaging campaigns—individuals who are at high risk for diabetes can receive different, more targeted messages from those who are more concerned with hip and knee pain.  

How are your communication and engagement programs using technology to ensure digital touch points are engaging, on brand, and encourage positive consumer experiences?  

Wellactivate health assessments by Wellsource are condition-specific assessments used by healthcare marketers to guide patients to the right care for them, while collecting data that helps them better connect with patients in their marketing programs. 

Tags: engagement, patient acquisition

"Good health is your greatest asset. You will never regret a decision to take better care of your health."

Don Hall, DrPH, CHES, Founder Wellsource