By Jeremy Dadzie, digital health strategist, Anexinet.
The healthcare industry has one of the worst reputations when it comes to customer experience. A recent Salesforce study revealed that nearly half of consumers are unhappy with their healthcare experience, and a vast majority feel healthcare organizations are more focused on the needs of the industry than on the needs of the patient.
Healthcare providers are beginning to realize just how dramatically a patient-centric approach improves customer loyalty—especially now that COVID has wreaked havoc in almost every industry.
The advent of digital innovations gives the healthcare industry a novel opportunity to enhance customer experience like never before. Customer expectations (especially for millennials) have increased. Meeting these expectations won’t be easy, but by staying patient-centric in the approach, and leveraging innovative technologies. such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Internet of Health, healthcare providers can create solutions that not only enhance the digital experience but also increase profitability.
Here are a few ways to can improve patient experience:
Seamless End-to-End Experience
· Your healthcare organization can provide patients a seamless end-to-end experience by increasing the number of interactions between the healthcare provider and customers across touchpoints. Consistency in the patient experience means low variability in care—from the initial call to schedule an appointment to the final post-visit follow-up touchpoint. Additionally, this improves the efficiency of care delivery which in turn improves the patient’s experience and outcome.
· Just as important is the continuity and coordination of care. Arming individuals at patient touchpoints with the right information at the right time enables a smooth experience for the patient, because they will already have full confidence in the process and in the knowledge and experience of their care providers. Ensuring that the transition between appointment scheduling, registration, visit, testing, discharge, and post discharge are all continuous and coordinated will ensure high levels of patient satisfaction.
· Personalized medicine is a much more accurate predictor of how certain medications, exercises, and treatment plans will affect an individual patient. Patients who are included in the decision-making process make informed decisions about their health and are more likely to follow through on their plan of care. Many patients who suffer from chronic illnesses feel their disease has taken away their power. Individualized care puts power back into the hands of patients and allows them to take a hands-on approach to their wellbeing.
· As patients are provided with more individualized data that allows them to make more informed decisions about their health, their engagement with their treatment plan increases.
· Personalization in healthcare can now be extended as far as predicting potential health risks and providing targeted health campaigns to patients. This also leads to greater loyalty and increased business profits.
Customer experience in healthcare is no longer restricted to the hospital visit. Providers can maintain relationships with patients and provide the best possible customer experience by engaging patients before and after the hospital visits to drive specific behavioral changes or adherence.
In contrast, a poor customer experience can damage or destroy the reputation of a healthcare practice. Patient-centric innovations in healthcare allow providers to be present for their customers around the clock and provide the highest level of personalized care. Through virtual visits, healthcare providers are able to showcase empathy and compassion towards their patients, allowing them to feel more valued and in turn increasing satisfaction and patient retention. Moreover, happy and satisfied customers are more likely to promote their healthcare providers through good online reviews and word-of-mouth marketing.
Finally, it has been reported that 87% of healthcare organizations have adopted some form of technology to help improve their customer experience, but as digital innovations evolve, so do patient expectations. Remote web consulting, doctor-on-demand services, remote monitoring, and good customer service in healthcare are no longer a luxury but have become a necessity. To ensure your organization provides a great patient experience, take steps to adopt a modern, connected ecosystem of multi-channel services and experiences.