Building Trust During Patient Journeys: Healthcare and the Human Touch

As customers, tools like automated chatbots have established themselves as a (mostly) reliable part of our experiences, guiding us through purchases or helping us reset a password—you know, the “quick-fix” stuff.

Yet, when something is wrong with our health, these quick fixes aren’t always possible, and we often seek the warmth and understanding that only humans can offer.

When we become patients, we want to feel heard and valued in our most vulnerable times. And whether selecting a primary care physician or sticking to a treatment plan, trust plays a massive part in our choices and impacts our well-being.

For healthcare providers, building this trust relies on human-led customer experience (CX) that elevates every step of the patient journey—from awareness and diagnosis to treatment and aftercare. Let’s look at how to leverage “the human touch” to achieve this and the far-reaching benefits for healthcare providers who get it right.

Awareness: The First Opportunity for Trust Building

When worrying symptoms arise, patients want to find compassionate healthcare providers with a genuine interest in their well-being before scheduling an appointment, so they often look to online reviews, feedback, and testimonials that reflect this.

Winning their trust this early means being clear, transparent, and easily accessible from the get-go. That could mean having a well-designed, easy-to-navigate website with understandable medical information or social media channels that disseminate credible advice. Even an empathetic, human-written blog post about managing symptoms can plant the seed of trust that encourages them to continue their journey with you.

It’s also essential to have a helpline, webchat, or email channel operated by empathetic, well-informed customer service reps (or Ambassadors, as we call them) ready to help guide potential patients toward the services they need.

Active listening plays a crucial role at this stage. When potential patients contact you with queries, how your Ambassadors respond—the tone, patience, and willingness to explain procedures—can either build or erode early trust.

First impressions count, so keep them as human as possible.

Diagnosis: Informing with Empathy and Convenience

The diagnostic stage can be nerve-wracking for patients, especially if they don’t fully trust their healthcare providers. During this period—stretching from waiting for test results to discussing treatment options—human support teams can ensure that trust remains high.

A quick yet compassionate interaction delivering test results can make all the difference, especially if your teams can explain the implications and options in a patient-friendly language. There is enormous value in trust-building when Ambassadors can liaise between the medical professionals and the patients, breaking medical jargon into understandable terms.

Human teams can also help schedule further consultations or ongoing treatments, check the availability of specialists, optimize appointment times for patient convenience, and even arrange for reminders, taking some stress out of an already stressful process.

Plus, providing patients with easy access to their test results, upcoming appointment schedules, and billing details through a secure, user-friendly online portal fosters trust. Just make sure there is a human support agent on hand to clarify any questions about the information on these platforms, further underscoring your trustworthiness.

Simply put, when a patient feels informed and cared for, you’ve laid the groundwork for trust to flourish throughout the rest of their healthcare journey.

Treatment and Aftercare: Continuing the Compassion

At this point, people are in the midst of perhaps one of the most challenging times of their lives, which is why compassionate, human-led CX can transform a clinical process into a supportive, personalized healthcare journey.

A transparent, accessible line of communication is vital during the treatment phase, whether updating patients on how a procedure went or discussing adjustments to their medication. Your Ambassadors can serve as bridges between healthcare professionals and patients, maintaining the flow of information by conveying doctors’ advice and treatment updates.

Convenience also factors in. Patients are likely juggling treatments with other life responsibilities. Human support teams can assist in coordinating schedules, perhaps even liaising with employers for medical leave documentation or pharmacies for medication pickups, going beyond transactional medical support to offer holistic care.

Human touchpoints can also significantly enhance the aftercare experience, whether by arranging at-home nursing visits or facilitating telehealth check-ups with trained professionals. Providing emotional support, such as being available to discuss any recovery anxieties and triumphs, also helps maintain a sense of trust and community among your patients.

Online platforms can assist in aftercare, too, such as forums for patients to share experiences and ask questions, but these channels should be complemented by knowledgeable human moderators who can step in to provide verified medical advice and emotional support when needed.

Final Thoughts: Partnering Up for Elevated Experiences

While human-led CX is excellent for building lasting patient trust, we understand that resources or expertise are not always available to implement them internally.

That’s where a Customer Experience Outsourcing (CXO) partner like Activus Connect comes in. Specializing in CX solutions, CXOs can serve as an extension of your healthcare services, filling in the missing human touchpoints in your patient journeys. Our empathetic Ambassadors are well-trained in healthcare, and we leverage technology that helps us maintain the human touch even in a digital world.

And best of all, a CXO partnership frees healthcare providers to focus on what they do best—providing excellent medical care—while offering a seamless and trustworthy patient experience.

Get in touch with Activus Connect, and let’s talk about creating patient journeys that set you apart from the competition and lead to relationships that last a lifetime.