By Chris Evanguelidi, director, enterprise healthcare market, Redpoint Global.
In a new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. healthcare consumers conducted by Dynata and commissioned by Redpoint Global, more than 80% of respondents said that they prefer to use digital channels (online messaging, virtual appointments, texts, etc.) to communicate with healthcare providers and brands at least some of the time, and 40% prefer digital communications most of the time.
Along with digital-first communications and experiences becoming a standard expectation, consumers are also on record that they want their providers to display a deep, personal understanding across the full spectrum of engagement touchpoints and channels. In the survey, 60% of consumers said they would choose a provider based on how well the provider understands them, beyond patient data, so that the experience is relevant and personalized. Beyond patient data means that a provider has a single view of the healthcare consumer, to include clinical and claims data, consumer and social determinants of health (SDOH) data such as economic stability, access to health care, etc.
Furthermore, 66% said the selection of a provider was dependent on the provider’s ability to communicate in a timely and consistent manner.
Examples of the depth of understanding that patients now expect – and that are also indicative of the digital-first mindset – are a provider’s ability to proactively contact patients at the right time and in the right context (e.g., via text, email or online portal). Nearly half (44%) of respondents expressed that this ability is now the expectation. And 36% said they expect communications from their provider to match their in-person experiences in terms of relevancy, consistency and outcomes.
In a recent Harris Poll survey about marketer and consumer perceptions about customer experiences across various industries, consumers consistently ranked healthcare third (behind retail and financial services) in terms of providing a consistent experience that demonstrates a thorough understanding of the customer. Yet when consumers were asked which industry should provide the most consistent experience that demonstrates a thorough understanding, healthcare polled first.
Organize Experiences Around the Patient Journey
Clearly, digital transformation initiatives are in full swing from healthcare organizations intent on meeting the consumer demand for frictionless, digital-first and highly relevant experiences.
Achieving this goal requires creating innovative, experiences modeled along the healthcare consumerism trend that puts the patient at the center of a unified healthcare journey. For example, one world-renowned healthcare provider that treats patients with chronic conditions designed hyper-individualized treatment plans, centralizing one unified experience across the complete lifecycle – from pre-diagnosis (such as hereditary risk and predisposition, symptom analysis) to diagnosis, care plans, appointments, education, communication, etc. It found the approach delivered better outcomes while also significantly reducing patient stress and anxiety that comes from coping with a chronic condition.
What this provider and others transitioning to a digital-first, patient-centric mindset have done is organize and optimize the patient journey around data, generating a single view of the healthcare consumer in order to coordinate engagement across multiple channels. Only with a single view can a healthcare organization put the patient at the center of a holistic journey, across either the entire organization or at the center of the entire healthcare ecosystem.
A Single Point of Operational Control
A single view of the healthcare consumer is a vital component for delivering a personalized experience across channels because it addresses the root causes of common patient frustrations and the challenges healthcare organizations face – siloed data, siloed processes and siloed business functions. A traditional healthcare journey involves various stakeholders – primary care physicians, specialists, pharmacy services and payers – who may have different strategies or financial incentives for promoting better health outcomes, and each controls its own patient data. Too often, the result is a fractured patient experience.
Healthcare organizations making significant digital transformation inroads are activating a single customer view through omnichannel customer experience platforms that create and deliver patient-centric experiences by doing three things: ingesting healthcare consumer data from all sources in real time, applying automated machine learning to make intelligent decisions segmented to an individual healthcare journey, and orchestrating decisions in real time in an omnichannel fashion.
These three capabilities provide healthcare organizations with a single point of operational control over data, next-best action decisions and actions that create a consistent, relevant and personalized experience for the healthcare consumer irrespective of channel.
Consumers aren’t asking for a return to house calls from a neighborhood doctor, but they are demanding that same familiarity. When most healthcare consumers say that they will choose a provider based on the provider’s ability to provide such a familiar understanding, meeting that expectation should be a high priority for every healthcare organization.