By Tiffany Lily, healthcare experience consultant, TTEC Digital.
For years, patients had only a few channels in which they could interact with their healthcare providers. They saw their care team in-person during check-ups, interfaced with support and appointment scheduling staff at the front desk, or called to get in touch with a clinician to answer their questions.
Over the past decade, however, this short list of touchpoints has expanded to include a broad portfolio of digital tools and communication channels—creating new opportunities for patients to personalize their healthcare journey. When the pandemic halted in-person appointments, these alternative touchpoints quickly became the primary channels by which patients could interface with their providers.
Broadly speaking, the Great Telehealth Experiment has been a monumental success. In the spring of 2020, telehealth appointments were 78 times higher than pre-pandemic levels. Even as the dust has settled on pandemic-related lockdowns, telehealth usage remains 40 times higher than pre-pandemic levels.
But telehealth is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this emerging “digital front door” approach to healthcare. Now, patients expect even more. They’ve seen the potential of the digital-first experience and how it can positively impact their lives, and they’re eager to see healthcare begin to replicate the last best experiences they encounter every day from many of the most well-known retail giants. More importantly, surveys show they’re willing to seek out and even pay more for the providers who can meet their high expectations.
To build patient loyalty and promote positive patient experiences, healthcare organizations face a golden opportunity to augment telehealth capabilities with a robust ecosystem of supplementary tools and channels that allow them to adapt to the new healthcare journeys patients prefer in the digital healthcare era. In many ways, healthcare is undergoing the same growing pains ecommerce organizations experienced just a few decades earlier, with one major difference: many healthcare organizations simply don’t have the comprehensive strategic view or technological know-how to build out this digital ecosystem on their own.
Fortunately, the path to patient experience transformation doesn’t have to feel daunting. After decades of engagements helping healthcare organizations move to the forefront of digital care, we’ve identified a handful of the most common process-based best practices that your organization can use to frame up its digital transformation.
By Venkatgiri Vandali, president of healthcare, Firstsource.
A new generation of health insurers has appeared in recent years, gradually gaining momentum in key markets in part by claiming to offer a more modern, digital consumer experience.
The advent of these modern, tech-driven upstarts bodes well for members of plans new and old alike, who are looking for health insurers to finally begin to offer the levels of customer experience, personalization and convenience they have long experienced in other markets like finance and consumer goods.
Consumers clearly want and expect their health insurance provider to offer the same quality of experience they enjoy in other areas of their lives, and plans that can meet that expectation will enjoy a significant competitive advantage.
They are growing fast, expanding their coverage areas (Oscar has recently expanded to cover 22 states), and successfully creating the impression that they leverage modern technologies, process automation and business cultures in ways that traditional health insurers have not.
However, the reality is that their customer experience innovations have not been particularly sophisticated, and many of the advantages they claim today – such as adopting mobile first strategies for member engagement — can be replicated by incumbent plans.
In fact, large health plans have been moving quickly to adopt new, digital customer experience technologies and business process automation (BPA), and the small- to mid-sized plans are poised to follow suit. Cultural change will likely be the toughest area for traditional health plans to transform, but technology may have a role to play there as well.
DeliverHealth, a global provider of technology-enabled solutions for hospitals, health systems and group practices, announced today that its mobile-first patient engagement software has earned top customer satisfaction scores in a KLAS Emerging Technology Spotlight report.
KLAS states in its recent Emerging Technology Spotlight on DeliverHealth’s Gemini digital health capability, “Though the software is relatively new, early adopters highlight DeliverHealth’s close partnership, proactive customer service, and strong go-live execution.”
Mac Boyter, research director, KLAS Research, said, “Of the clients we spoke with for our report on DeliverHealth’s Gemini Digital front door solution, 100% of the respondents when asked about their overall customer satisfaction reported being ‘highly satisfied.’ They also reported A+ metrics on all key performance indicators like supporting integration goals, and executive involvement.”
In addition, 100% of the customers surveyed said they would buy the patient engagement solution again. KLAS, now in its 26th year, publishes unbiased customer data and insights on software, services, and medical equipment. Read more about DeliverHealth’s report here.
Many healthcare organizations today offer a multichannel engagement approach, presenting online and mobile access to services and even care. Adopting digital channels is a great first step toward meeting your consumers’ expectations, but is just the starting point.
Consumers today expect to be given choice in their healthcare engagement and care channels – via mobile app, on their computer, over the phone, in person – and they want these interactions to feed into a connected, seamless omnichannel experience that is simple, intuitive, and personalized to their needs. Today’s digitally integrated economy requires an approach to healthcare that puts consumers’ needs first and engages them at every relevant touchpoint along their journey.
Many healthcare organizations are turning to a digital front door to facilitate this kind of digitally optimized, omnichannel experience. A digital front door sets the foundation for a stronger, more consistent omnichannel experience that enhances every connection, increases loyalty, reduces friction, and drives competitive advantage.
Our healthcare experience experts have identified the five components needed to build a Digital Front Door strategy that meets consumer expectations and strengthens the omnichannel healthcare experience:
At Avtex, we often talk about the need to define your “North Star” to ensure that every aspect of the consumer journey aligns with your organizations’ overarching philosophy of the best possible experience. A Digital Front Door ensures there is alignment with this desired healthcare experience, from goals to governance.
Like any successful customer experience strategy, the digital front door must align with and improve upon existing patient and member experience strategies to digitally transform your organization. Activities like journey mapping and CX process mapping can help uncover pain points and clarify how a Digital Front Door plan can support your overall North Star.
A 360-degree view of your consumers is necessary to build a strong digital experience. Building a complete, holistic understanding of your consumers’ experiences will help you to identify gaps and opportunities to elevate this experience and create a more rounded, consumer-centric environment. For example, you may consider developing a voice of the customer (VOC) program to gain new insights, or you may decide to perform persona mapping exercises to help understand your target segments better so you can better meet their identified needs.
It’s also important to prioritize gathering employee feedback and data, as these insights provide invaluable information on needs, preferences, trends, and pain points – both at the individual and group level. We’ve learned that improving the employee experience will lead to a measurable improvement in the consumer experience.
By Terrence D. Sims, president of strategic growth and marketing, Raintree Systems.
Among the many lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic was that most patients are more than willing – dare we say eager? – to interact with their healthcare providers digitally. When safety concerns limited their ability to see their physicians, therapists or other care providers in person, patients enthusiastically embraced virtual visits. And from all indications, they liked the convenience so much that they want to continue taking advantage of this option.
Easy access to telehealth services is just one of the many ways patients are eager to connect online with healthcare providers. In fact, an Accenture survey found that 60% of patients reported that based on their experience using new technologies during the pandemic, they want to use technology more to communicate with their care providers and manage their health.
Even before the coronavirus upended life, patients were increasingly expecting to manage their care digitally – from scheduling appointments, to messaging their care team, to refilling medications, to paying bills. After all, that’s how most of us manage most other aspects of our lives these days, whether it’s travel, banking or shopping.
Healthcare still has a ways to go to catch up with the efficient digital experience other sectors offer. Nearly 60% of U.S. consumers expect their healthcare digital customer experience to be similar to retail, but 62% said they were unable to accomplish their healthcare goals online, according to a NTT DATA study.
Healthcare organizations of all sizes need to better meet these digital expectations to attract patients and earn their loyalty. That means it’s increasingly important to develop and implement a comprehensive digital patient engagement strategy, a.k.a., a digital front door. Whether you’re a specialty OT, PT or SLP practice, a specialty clinic or a large health care system, your digital front door serves as an entryway to all online services and experiences available to your patients for interacting with your office and care providers.