Navigating the Digital Front Door: Overcoming Friction in New Patient Registration

Scott Heatherly, VP of Sales at Amenities Health

In today’s fast-paced digital age, traditional healthcare systems are under growing pressure to adapt their digital front-door strategies to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers. However, friction points stemming from the limitations of existing Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems often stand in the way of progress, particularly as it relates to consumers who are attempting to register as new patients at health systems. 

Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are the cornerstone of modern healthcare delivery, facilitating the storage and management of patient health information. Integrated with patient portals and digital front-end platforms, they aim to enhance patient engagement and streamline administrative processes. However, the registration process for new patients often proves to be a stumbling block, characterized by complexity and inefficiency. As non-traditional healthcare providers enter the market with seamless digital experiences, traditional health systems face mounting pressure to overhaul their registration processes and embrace consumer-centric approaches.

Analysis of Friction Points:

  • Restrictive Digital Registration Channels: Many health systems still lack digital registration options for consumers off the street, causing frustration, inconvenience and millions in lost revenue.
  • Cumbersome Registration Processes: Existing processes rely heavily on EHR technology, leading to high abandonment rates due to frustration or difficulty recalling answers.
  • Issues with Access Codes and Account Setup: Consumers may encounter obstacles such as forgotten access codes or emails ending up in spam folders, hindering their registration process.

Beyond the patient registration process, another  imperative often overlooked in healthcare is the need to swiftly convert a casual browser into an official patient. Most EHR workflows delay this critical step by registering the patient up to several weeks later. Additionally, online registration workflows often leverage credit monitoring companies like Experian, posing significant hurdles and resulting in a staggering 50% drop-off rate. Simplifying the registration process is paramount to eliminating friction and capturing patients ready to convert.

Impact of Frictionless Access
Health systems that prioritize a seamless digital front-door experience stand to reap substantial rewards. By implementing straightforward registration processes, health systems can witness a remarkable influx of patients. One health system, for example, acquired over 500,000 net new patients in a single year, accompanied by hundreds of millions in net new contribution margins. Moreover, with 50% of patients utilizing both mobile and web channels to access care, ensuring consistency and ease of access across platforms is essential for building enduring brand loyalty.

EHR-related friction points not only inconvenience consumers but also jeopardize health systems’ revenue and brand loyalty. Despite investments in EHRs and patient portals, the current approach fails to resonate with today’s consumers, leading to missed opportunities for engagement and retention.

Recommendations for Improvement
To address these challenges and meet consumer needs, health systems must prioritize consumer-centric design and innovation in their digital front-door strategies. This includes redesigning registration processes, investing in standalone digital solutions, and emphasizing the importance of consumer experience in driving engagement and loyalty.

Overcoming friction in new patient registration is crucial for traditional health systems to thrive in the digital age. By prioritizing consumer-centric design and innovation, health systems can enhance the registration experience, drive engagement, and foster long-term relationships with consumers.

About Scott Heatherly 

With over 25 years of experience in consultative enterprise IT solution sales within healthcare systems nationwide, Scott has cultivated a profound understanding of industry trends, dynamics, and opportunities. His extensive knowledge extends to AI/NLU/GenAI/DFD technologies, allowing him to offer cutting-edge solutions that enhance patient access, engagement, and satisfaction. His unwavering passion for driving digital transformation and innovation underscores his commitment to improving healthcare delivery and outcomes.  He now serves as the Vice President of Sales at Amenities Health, a leading Digital Front Door platform helping health systems with consumer acquisition and patient retention.