CX beyond engagement: The new imperative for healthcare

The new imperative for healthcare isn’t just engagement. It’s experience.

09:13 AM

Decision makers across healthcare are awakening to a critical shift in persona when it comes to their patients. For so long, the focus for healthcare delivery was simply to manage care encounters, with little incentive to direct resources at anything other than making patients better and keeping operational costs down. “Experience” simply meant making sure patients left the hospital better than when they arrived, getting them to show up for care appointments, and keeping them engaged in their care programs at home so they stayed at their baselines and out of the expensive acute-care cycle.

Under the old model, people were patients, and service provision meant making them better, not selling them anything. The word “customer” wasn’t really on the industry radar; in fact, there was a time when it would have been considered an impersonal and inappropriate designation for those seeking care from their healthcare providers. Whether patients had a difficult time getting registered, getting someone to answer the phone or getting a meal delivered to their room after a study wasn’t as important as diagnosing and treating their chief complaints. Where the mindset “It’s our job to make the patient better, not happy” prevails, a customer-experience culture cannot truly exist, and for nearly all of the modern medical care age, it wasn’t really a business driver.

Enter the tech-enabled, information-aware and choice-oriented patient consumer.

It’s a new day.  The new imperative for healthcare isn’t just engagement. It’s experience. What is my patient’s experience with my brand (another compelling new word for healthcare organizations) at every touchpoint across my enterprise? How are they navigating quickly and powerfully to the right information on my website? How easy or frustrating is their interaction with my call center? How would they score my hospital when it comes to seemingly secondary experiences like procedure scheduling, meal ordering and meal quality, wait times, nursing response times, ease and access of parking, on-site navigation and wayfinding? How am I maximizing web services and mobile applications to create meaningful experiences for my increasingly device-enabled patient population?

According to a new report from PwC, Customer Experience in the New Health Economy: The Data Cure, 49 percent of provider executives are now touting customer experience as a “top strategic priority” in the next five years, 81 percent of payer organizations are investing in member experience technologies, and a whopping 91 percent of pharma executives believe they’re going to drive better patient self-management with their patient engagement services over the next 10 years. The same study also took a very close look at the kind of “experiences” patients really want to see those resources directed toward, and not surprisingly a great many of them are aimed at convenience. A culture that has been radically redefined by drive-thru services, on-demand entertainment and Amazon boxes at their door within 24 hours of ordering online is going to want that same kind of experience with their healthcare system. And they will go elsewhere if you can’t give them a great experience across the spectrum of services and offerings.

This is where technology is going to be the saving grace of healthcare enterprises trying to meet this new demand, and in truth, it’s a lot to ask an already burgeoning and challenged system to focus on something other than the critical goal of providing high-quality medical care to and improving the quality of life for their patients. But improving IT infrastructure to drive business agility and digital dexterity, virtualizing communications, deploying cutting-edge CX solutions that leverage mobility and give patients truly personalized experiences will be the formula for pulling it all off. And there are a lot of exciting solutions out there to redefine that reality for both healthcare systems and the millions of patients who navigate them every year.

Verizon will be showcasing solutions that address these challenges and opportunities at HIMSS 2018. Come see us in Booth #3243 or visit our conference website here.

About the Author:

Nancy Green, global practice lead for healthcare and life sciences, Verizon Enterprise Solutions