The term “experiences” seems to dominate the way people interact with companies and brands these days. Maybe we have the Millennials to blame, but an “experience economy” has replaced a transactional one, and customers everywhere, in all industries are looking for engagement, interaction and personalization when it comes to everything from travel to purchases to social media.
So it’s no surprise that healthcare should be any different. Although healthcare has traditionally been the industry playing catch-up when it comes to technology and innovation, we only need to look at what’s happening around us to see where the industry is heading.
In a Forbes article earlier this year, several of the key observations from this year’s HIMSS conference focused on how technology is not only improving the quality of healthcare, but also how patient’s interact with their own care. For example, EMR vendors starting to talk to each other, opening the doors for patient-friendly tools whereby they can look at their own medical records on their phone. Improvements in big data analytics also means better systems for improving patient experience as the industry moves toward population health.
The term “patient experience” is new to the healthcare industry, but it’s finally a step in the right direction that we are collectively talking about this shift. While there are still many big hurdles that need to be overcome to get there, there are also some more simple steps that healthcare systems and hospitals can take to start their journey toward a total improved patient experience, including:
- Incorporating personalized emails and texts into patient communications: Most every industry these days collects customer information for the purposes of personalized communication, and healthcare should be no different. While we do have to be mindful of PHI and other regulations, when done strategically, the impact of personalized communication with patient through email and text can be powerful. This goes beyond appointment reminders and other table stakes communications- emails can be used to inform patients of health screening events, opportunities to close care gaps or open doors to more personalized communications with physicians and their staff. Not only does this help hospitals and healthcare systems better manage communications, but it also helps patients feel more empowered and build a greater connection with their provider.
- Centralized call center: While this may seem like a basic move, the power of a centralized call center in the overall patient experience is like opening the door to a secret vault of gold. Centralized call centers, when set up properly with well-trained staff, can create immense efficiencies in staff pick-up and response rates for patients, ease burdens on office staff so they can focus on more personal interactions, and overall improve patient satisfaction, leading to an improved experience for the patient.
- Personal follow-ups with patients: No matter what the communication channel, patients want to feel they are more than just a number to their provider. The power of following up with a patient after every encounter can speak volumes to their overall experience. While the channel (text, email, phone call) may vary depending on what service was provided, patients want to feel that their provider is truly part of their overall care team, and looking out for them every step of the way.
These simple steps can go a long way in improving patient experience. But how do you get there? There are new technologies and platforms available today that can help you manage data, communications and touchpoints across the patient journey. Reach out to me to learn more or visit www.symphonyrm.com for further information.