COVID-19 Highlights the Need for a Personalized Digital Patient Experience

Why it is critical for healthcare providers to act now and what they must get right to succeed.

Gone are the days when endless wait times and clunky websites were the norm for healthcare patients. Enter improved patient experience (PX). Similar to Customer Experience (CX), PX is a patient's perception of a healthcare provider or company resulting from all interactions with that organization - from setting the appointment to the patient intake process through to follow-up and ongoing care. Healthcare providers face multifaceted challenges when looking to improve their PX, but the payoff is worth it. Patient satisfaction, loyalty, and physician referrals are all at stake, which directly impact company revenues (some indicate better healthcare outcomes with improved PX). To be sure, COVID-19 has catapulted the need for a vastly enhanced, personalized PX, particularly through digital interactions between patients and providers. Below we’ll look at a few specific examples of PX challenges to highlight what healthcare decision makers need to address in order to be successful.

Patient Experience Challenge: Age-Based Care

Pediatric and geriatric practices are in a unique PX position, as the decider for patient care is often not the patient, but rather, the parent or child of the patient. When evaluating care for a loved one during COVID-19, concerns about the level of care both in-person (safety, cleanliness, and security of provider location) and online (privacy, clarity, and frequency of communications) is a key focus for deciders.

What providers can do to get it right:

Providers need to quickly identify key inflection points across all the "non-patient decider" interactions, and customize content and experiences to address specific concerns for deciders faster and more effectively. Providers who strategically use their technology and data to understand new patient “home” journeys and how they impact specific patient and decider segments (elderly, millennial, children) will be best positioned to understand the nuances involved in caring for a family member and inspire action accordingly.

Patient Experience Challenge: Elective Procedures & Preventative Care

Due to COVID-19, prospective patients are reluctant to move forward with elective procedures and preventative wellness visits. One of the biggest deciding factors for patients to continue care is the overall experience they have leading up to an appointment and how comfortable they feel with the center, physician, and staff. Patients are also doing more of their own research when selecting both procedures and practices, so digital channels are integral in supporting these experiences.

What providers can do to get it right:

Providers need to recalibrate and personalize their “what to expect” content and experiences to specific patient segments based on their different concerns - and address concerns specifically and in detail. By applying human-centered design across digital channels, they can instill confidence and assure patients that it’s safe to resume elective procedures and preventative care for their overall health and wellness.

Patient Experience Challenge: Telehealth Integration

Telemedicine capabilities have been launched to the forefront of healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Receiving these services simply, securely, and with a high standard of care is critical for patients to develop ongoing trust in the medium for receiving healthcare services.

What providers can do to get it right:

Designing and integrating telehealth services as a natural extension of existing patient care protocols is crucial. Telemedicine capabilities are here to stay, so companies who invest in the technology and supporting platforms to deliver these services will see high operational efficiencies and cost savings. Putting the patient in charge of how to engage the provider is the goal, and will constitute a concrete step in driving increased satisfaction scores for all providers.

Not only does better PX result in better care for patients, but it makes for better business for healthcare organizations too. Better PX is directly tied to key drivers of economic impact for providers. There is a positive correlation between increasing PX and increased patient satisfaction (PSAT), patient retention, loyalty and, longevity leading to increased revenues and Patient Lifetime Value (PLTV). The longer providers wait to act, PX deteriorates, PSAT drops, and patient revenue declines. Other PX benefits, such as lower employee turnover and lower medical malpractice risk, further highlight the need for healthcare providers to act now to improve their PX for both their business and their patients.

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Meghan Fishburn

SVP, Client Strategy

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