Healthcare Travel after Coronavirus- TouchPoints that Patients will consider before Booking Treatment
The coronavirus outbreak has spread rapidly around the world and its impact is unprecedented on the health travel industry. However, restrictions imposed on international travel are slowly being lifted across many countries while some people are also planning to travel across the border to get medical treatments. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has already started to change the way people choose where and how they will travel for healthcare. Therefore, it has become very important for healthcare providers to analyze the touchpoints that patients will consider before booking treatment abroad.
For international patients, location is one of the most crucial points they consider before booking treatment. Earlier, it used to be about searching for a suitable location where the required treatment can be available by expert professionals at an affordable price along with good traveling opportunities.
In the new normal, one more thing is added, which is ‘safety’. The patients will consider how safe is to travel to a certain country, current outbreak/lockdown situation, government restrictions for inbound travelers, will they have to first visit the quarantine center, social distancing norms, etc. All these aspects will be considered by the patients when they lookout for a suitable location for the treatment.
Thus, the providers must use several omnichannel communication mediums to ensure patients about the safety parameters and location-specific rules. This will give a clear picture of safety issues before patients’ book treatment.
Price has always been a major factor that people consider before booking treatment abroad. Providers need to be innovative with their price offerings. For example, providers can consider offering all-inclusive packages so that the patients know exactly what they will get for a certain price. This also ensures transparency as they will not get any surprise with the amount to be paid during or after the treatment.
Also, introducing some deals and discounts may attract the customers to book appointments. Providers may also try to promote their services like there will not be any cancellation charges or ‘book now, visit later’ strategy to lure international patients.
Telemedicine’s popularity has increased immensely due to the pandemic. Now, people cannot go out frequently even if it is for treatment. In such a situation, many patients are reconsidering their decisions about elective procedures or postponing treatments. Therefore, the providers in the medical tourism industry should tap this touchpoint and add online consultation or second opinion remote service in their portfolio. This will help the patients to seek expert advice from experienced doctors and/or professionals regarding their health condition and treatment. Based on the consultation/second opinion, they will be in a better position to decide about booking a treatment.
Patients now seek retail-like experience even with healthcare services. Just like they like to evaluate the choice of treatments, compare prices, clinics and doctors, they also consider what benefit they will get after the treatment is done. Just like retail offers after-sale warranty, medical travel also, providers need to offer aftercare services. This can be more remote-based services like regular follow-up with the patients regarding their recovery, diet, lifestyle maintenance, etc. This ensures that patients can remain under expert supervision by opting for such an aftercare service against a certain price.
Transparency in Communication
Establishing trust with the customer ensures long-term sustainability. This implies in the medical tourism industry as well, more so in the post-COVID period. Providers can engage in direct communication with customers using various technological innovations such as text message, email, call, WhatsApp, AI, Chabot, etc.
Moreover, they should also include more educational resources on their websites, social platforms and other online mediums highlighting their services, safety protocols, price, testimonials, etc. This will ensure that patients have numerous touchpoints before making a purchase decision.
PlacidWay, being the self-pay healthcare marketplace can help providers to meet these touchpoints using technological innovation and expertise in the industry. We can help you to explore the best of behavioral marketing that will provide a hybrid experience for the customers. Besides, our direct patient-provider communication tools, educational resources self-pay marketplace model will provide a retail-like experience to patients. As patients get more control, it will boost trust and improve bookings.
For more information on how healthcare providers can tap these touchpoints, click the button below: