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Ben Blake

Seniors more engaged with ‘high touch’ rather than ‘high tech’ approach?

October 12, 2018

Medical Technology 4 Minute Read

Part 3 of a 3 part series on the truth about seniors and patient engagement technology (3 minute read)

“We prefer high touch rather than high tech in our approach.” This… the response to the first question in the beginning of our interview with Jennifer Fleming, Practice Administrator at Cornea Associates of Texas. My first reaction was, “Good answer!”

Contrary to conventional wisdom (or at least the perception) in the IT space, technology often becomes the priority rather than the tools we use to support the priorities. While this seems simple and obvious, marketplace behavior says otherwise. This is just one of the reasons why Cornea Associates is repeatedly honored by D magazine as a best practice.

Welcome back to round three, the final in this series! I’m your blog host and physician practice technologist, Michael Patrick.

Ok, let’s jump right back into our story. Jennifer went on to explain what she meant by her “high touch” philosophy. From her perspective, everything starts and ends with creating an authentic and supportive experience…people caring for people. “We use technology as tools to support that approach. But it has to add value without taking away from the overall personal touch, especially for our seniors,” she shared.

Things now becoming clearer, we talked more about how she executes against that. Jennifer said, “Patient portal for accessing medical records and communication about care, Facebook for more social conversations, and we use SurveyMonkey to get feedback on their experience.”

We dug a bit deeper and learned, “All three technology tools help us differently with engaging our seniors. We use the portal to provide patients with immediate access to medical records and a convenient way to communicate with our triage team, and request refills on medications. Our Facebook page has been a great tool for connecting with our seniors around things like celebrating team members and so on. Our seniors are far more engaged on Facebook than our other patient population.”

When asked about SurveyMonkey, Jennifer communicated that they are highly committed to feedback loops being in place throughout the patient experience. This prioritization of social listening fuels their ability to make pivots in how they serve the entire patient population. And technology supports that initiative in multiple ways…none more than how they survey to learn more about the whole patient experience.

And that brings us to their surveying transition story. About 4 years ago, Jennifer moved from mail to SurveyMonkey. Senior engagement more than doubled. The fact is, seniors found it easier to take the survey online and appreciate the opportunity to be heard about all parts of their experience, not just their interaction with their physician.

“We will continue to look at ways we can responsibly use technology to support a high touch experience and generate more engagement. We are exploring some other complimentary technology like a registration kiosk. It may serve as a compliment for patients who prefer more privacy at the time of registration. We have no desire to replace a welcoming face. But complimenting it with a kiosk could be of value.”

As we close on this topic, think about how your senior population (and frankly all your populations) can benefit from the right use of technology in support of a high touch experience. Using this lens will help you be more effective and balanced in serving and caring for your patient-people.

That’s a wrap on yet another way technology can be applied to improve engagement with your senior patient population. Thank you to Jennifer and her team for sharing their story about engaging their senior patient population and how technology is used to support it.

Do you have any “seniors and technology” projects, challenges, other experiences, or questions you’d like to share? If so, hit me up in the comments section or feel free to email me @ If you would like to learn more about Systeem Connect™, check out the video or give us a call at 940.484.0850.

In the event you missed the first two posts in this series of “seniors want technology”, check them out below. Again, I’m Michael Patrick, your physician practice technologist. Stay on the lookout for our next series. Until then, like, share and/or comment on this post!

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