Everyone in healthcare is scrambling to get their arms around customer experience in the digital age, but the idea of patients as “customers” is a relatively new construct for this space, and the journey from patient engagement to patient experience is a slow one. Couple that with the wealth of data the industry is trying to sift through and it’s easy to why leveraging data to address patient experience isn’t a high priority. Analytics around disease management, quality control and improved health outcomes will always get the lion’s share of any effort aimed at patient engagement. Whether or not a patient has provided feedback, directly or indirectly, on the usability of your website, the wait times in your clinic, or the ease of their registration or billing inquiry has been an understandably secondary focus.
But healthcare can’t afford to assume that “experience” – i.e., the usability of your website, the wait times in your clinic or the ease of your registration process – is of little concern to patients. Today’s tech-savvy and proactive patients are shopping around for their care and services, seeking lower costs and better options. Experience is important to them. They are concerned about quality of care, about leaving a facility with a better health status than when they entered. But if they can feel better in an environment where they also have a positive experience and good customer service, where convenience and comfort are as important as treatments and outcomes, they’ll choose the facility or provider who can give them all of the above.
We might not like to think of a hospital system as a “brand,” but it is. And a patient’s experience with that brand across every touchpoint of interaction and engagement is important.
Some questions that a hospital system should be thinking about might be:
- Do we have a roadmap to create compelling and convenient digital experiences for our patients?
- Are we fostering patient satisfaction and organizational loyalty?
- What stages of the patient journey are the most memorable – either in a positive or negative way? How do we know for sure?
- How easy or difficult is it for our patients to continue the conversation when they move across channels within our organization? Do they have to start the conversation over?
- Have we considered how an integrated end-to-end digital customer experience can give us a competitive advantage?
If an organization is willing to explore these kinds questions with a desire to find the “moments that matter” to their patients, they might be surprised by what they find. Interactions of value can occur throughout the healthcare ecosystem, not just in a treatment room or surgical suite. There are a lot of ways that technology can address these goals.
With wearables and smart mobile applications, healthcare organizations can enable near real-time care collaboration and coordination as well as engage patients in their own care and treatment programs. Unified communications solutions can enable seamless collaboration capabilities across all systems and devices to support continuity of care and clinical team coordination. Digital signage can enable on-site education and navigation to patients and families within the facility. Immersive, customized experiences leveraging virtual and augmented reality capabilities, artificial intelligence and machine learning can build long-term organizational loyalty.
Patients need tools that enable their engagement in care and treatment goals, but they also expect personalized experiences across the healthcare system – quick, convenient and digitally enabled. And while that may seem like a tall order, the capabilities exist now. With the right integration, technology today can transform end-to-end experience.
Stop by Verizon’s booth (#1959) at HIMSS19 to learn more about how Verizon is supporting patient experience innovation with digital solutions.
About the Author:
Global Practice Lead for Healthcare, Life Sciences & Insurance, Verizon Enterprise Solutions