These days, healthcare organizations know they must go digital, creating an optimal consumer-driven experience, if they’re to remain competitive and profitable. However, it’s a challenge to integrate new systems into existing models. Many healthcare organizations are going about it the wrong way—focusing on the technology itself—instead of who’ll use or benefit from it and the experience they want to create. Although healthcare organizations have many user experiences to consider, patients top the list. And they’re the ones who should be driving change.
Patient experience is king
Patient experience has reached a new level of importance, as it’s now being used to evaluate healthcare performance—beyond satisfaction and outcomes. Medicare and other payers are negotiating with hospitals to link a portion of payments to patient experience metrics. Data transparency rules and the link to reimbursement further fuel consumerism. Patients have choices, and they are using available data to choose. If done well, digital integration can create increased engagement and ongoing loyalty that supports the 360-degree patient experience.
First, organizations must commit to understanding their patients and their respective health journeys, inside and outside of the clinical setting. What processes can be improved or simplified? Let this discovery guide your digital transformation strategy. For example, if convenience is a big driver, consider offering solutions such as online appointments, telemedicine, mobile health reminders or a partnership with a rideshare company. Perhaps streamlining internal platforms such as billing, appointments and patient records is also necessary. Creating a roadmap for your organization’s digital experience strategy is the best way to start.
Healthy patient experience = healthy brand
Focusing on patient experience will also elevate your brand. As marketers know, every interaction a person has with a company shapes their brand impression—from their engagement on the website to the marketing materials they receive and the way they’re cared for as patients or greeted by staff. Making all these touchpoints consistently excellent will not only build patient loyalty, but it will also differentiate your brand.
Internal audiences, too
Along with consumers and patients, a key audience is providers. Are there analytics or efficiencies that will better support providers in their jobs or enhance care delivery? This experience analysis can lead to critical improvements that can also help you attract and retain top talent. Continue this process with nurses, administrators and other key stakeholders.
Digital transformation has no defined endpoint. It’s an ongoing process. When healthcare organizations break it down and focus on the experience they want to create—and that patients/consumers demand— they reinforce their brand experience and put themselves on the best path to drive loyalty, engagement and results.
If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more, read this article in which TEKsystems Chief Healthcare Strategist Ben Flock and I discuss the imperative for experience-driven healthcare.