Nowadays, customer experience proves to be critical to business success, especially in the modern patient journey, i.e., the Healthcare sector. Maybe it historically had a reputation for less-than-positive customer experience ever but now becoming a focus of many healthcare companies and clinics.
Yes, traditionally, Health care has not been a sector that paid much attention to experience. With less focus on the person, many providers have focused more on treating patients from a clinical perspective or on treating the illness. At the same time, if patients are not happy or satisfied with their care, health care plans made it difficult for them to switch providers. However, today, it is much easier to do so.
Easy tasks like insurance claims earlier have been heavy with paperwork and approval processes, often delaying coverage and resulting in higher expenses for both the patient as well as the provider.
However, this is changing now because patients are becoming more digital-centric and self-reliant. And, that is not it- now they have a growing sense of empowerment regarding their health care experience. Besides that, the industry, too, is being disrupted— recently joined and new non-traditional health care experts provide an alternative to the regular, appointment-only doctor’s office experience.
Its prime example is the recent acquisition of insurer Aetna by CVS Health. The new combined entity will offer patients with not just their treatment and over-the-counter medications, but to help customers manage chronic conditions, it plans to open expanded health care facilities within the stores and offers more primary health services via the CVS MinuteClinics.
The development of urgent care centers is also pulling more patients away from doctor’s offices, fascinating them with the promise of faster as well as cheap service as the no-appointment-necessary model of urgent care centers offer relief more quickly for patients with minor ailments who can’t get in to see their primary care physician immediately. And, urgent care centers are an alternative to more costly emergency room visits for immediate treatment for patients with chronic conditions, such as a diabetic attack.
Also, to take control of health, patients are now using technology. For example, many are using wearable devices that keep track of user-health data for heart rate and blood pressure are offering patients with data they need to understand their overall health better—and most importantly, to know when they need to revisit their doctor for treatment of any ongoing condition. According to surveys, more patients are also looking for apps nowadays that better connect them with their health care providers and their health care data, such as making appointments or the ability to view lab results online.
Plus, plenty of health-related apps are empowering patients
to prevent them from going to the doctor altogether. To discuss symptoms and determine whether the user should seek care at a hospital or an urgent care center, these “doctor on-demand” apps offer advice from medical practitioners, and some also include the ability to communicate with physicians or other health care providers.
Here are Top 7 Patient Experience Trends for 2019 and Beyond Digitalization in healthcare
or the evolution of technologies in healthcare is nothing new. Yes, providers of health care already invested in various digital services such as online bill payment, 24/7 nurse hotlines, and social media presence of healthcare experts, back in 2018. Looking into 2019-20, we demand technology to continue to transform healthcare, but now to make informed decisions and take action, practitioners will be demanding the use of real-time data.
So, here are some top seven patient experience trends we expect to see in 2019-20 and upcoming years.
1. Continuous Growth of Consumerism in Healthcare
The rising costs of healthcare and increased use of high deductible health plans are pushing consumers to get more involved in managing their health and costs related to care. Consumers are now empowered to ask questions rather than passively doing what is recommended. It could be said that health-related technology is also pushing consumer knowledge about wellness as well as health.
Besides that, healthcare providers are being compared to other consumer product type experiences such as Amazon, Four Seasons, Apple, BMW, etc. and need to identify how to compete better. In the competition for greater market share, improving the patient experience is critical, and for growing beyond, health systems will need to improve overall patient service.
2. Huge Demand in the Chief Experience Officer Role
This is the time when organizations are hiring more Chief Experience Officers (CXOs), a relatively new role to the hospital C-Suite as health systems place increased importance on improving the patient experience. Well, several health systems have already recognized this role as critical to their long term success, and many have incentives tied to patient experience improvement.
Plus by linking hospital Medicare reimbursements to patient experience, the Affordable Care Act also changed the game, making this position even more critical. Many times, a CXO oversees patient experience, safety, quality, and performance improvement— necessary components that contribute to the overall perception of the entity’s quality of reputation and care. The huge cost of healthcare has risen patient and community expectations, so getting the importance of every experience is transformational to a hospital’s success.
3. Request for Real-Time Feedback is Rising
The fact can not be denied that the real-time feedback captured at every step of the patient journey is more important and relevant to the treatment than comparisons to retrospective benchmarks— looking at the past reports or previous records.
To take action at the moment, healthcare providers need data faster — potentially changing perceptions patients have of their practice or facility being still in care. Many in this sector already using technology, such as text, kiosks, and Alexa or Google Home, provide mechanisms for instant feedback.
Preventing a potentially negative encounter and turning it around can have noteworthy advantages on patient loyalty and positive word-of-mouth. Healthcare organizations must quickly address issues as they occur to ensure a more positive overall experience with the influx of online reviews used for provider research and selection.
4. Use of X and O-Data
Earlier, operational metrics (O-data) like safety events, throughput measures, clinical outcomes, and financials have been analyzed separately from patient experience results. However, going forward, to drive comprehensive improvement across a health system, companies need to combine their O-data with experience data (X-data), such as patient experience and employee experience.
The combination of X and O-data will help break down silos, encourage real change, and improve quality by providing a more holistic view of how these factors interact. As X data answers the question “why,” O-data describes “what” is happening, hence to better identify and address the root causes underlying quality issues, both components are needed.
5. Medicaid Patient Experience is Important
It is found that near about 73 million Americans are already on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid. The way to manage this growing payer population, measuring the Medicaid patient experience is critical.
To better understand how to influence care access, compliance, and lifestyle management, reaching this segment through mobile phones will help raise the bar for health management of the chronically ill and/or socioeconomically challenged. Earlier, Medicaid patients haven’t had access to cell phones, but making eHealth services more accessible, the gap is filling.
6. Technologies Transforming the Healthcare Experience
Technology (telemedicine, lifestyle – weight, online chronic illness trackers, exercise, online scheduling, medication management apps, etc.) is altering the healthcare experience at its best. And, there are several Healthcare Tech Trends
that are all set to rule the industry in 2019-20. One great example of this is fitness trackers— they’re the huge segment of wearable devices on the market and are expected to rise to $3.33 billion in revenue by the year 2022.
As people have already started taking charge of personal health, they’ll use more and more technology to assist them. Additionally, to evaluate physician quality and begin their search for a better doctor, more and more patients are using online reviews already.
Experts in healthcare sectors are now utilizing technology by capturing patient feedback via digital solutions that will not only help care providers to respond faster but also more effectively to patient needs. Leveraging the digital healthcare transformation will help health systems better communicate, coordinate, and deliver value to patients, maintaining and growing market share and contributing to improved quality.
7. From Reactive to Proactive: Health System Transition
From reactive care management to proactive health hubs, health systems are transitioning, using their position in a community as a health expert and large employer to proactively partner with community (social welfare) solutions like transportation companies, businesses, and food sources to manage the health of a population better.
Plus, what solutions are needed to address the underlying health needs of a community are critical to be recognized by social determinants of health (e.g., rate of obesity, access to primary care, food deserts, crime rate, access to fitness facilities). Understanding population health expectations and comparing those to available resources will help highlight the gaps that a health system will need to fill.
So, we have seen how more and more organizations are recognizing the importance of the patient-as-customer experience. Even technologies that amplify patient-centric interactions in health care is shifting further. More and more patients expect their health care digital experience to be on par with retail.
And, that’s not it because organizations that put their efforts toward technology solutions that promote personalization and convenience will be better able to navigate the changing health care landscape now.