CONNECTED HEALTH CONFERENCE • SAVE THE DATE • October 16-18, 2019 • Boston, MA
By: Lea M. Sims, Thought Leadership Strategy, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
There is a shift occurring in healthcare when it comes to the concept of patient experience. At one time, “experience” simply meant making sure patients left the hospital better than when they arrived, getting them to show up for care appointments, and keeping them engaged in their care programs at home so they stayed at their baselines and out of the expensive acute care cycle. A care delivery system that has historically been focused almost entirely on managing care encounters, with little incentive to direct resources at anything other than making patients better and keeping operational costs down, now has a new imperative.
Under the old model, the word “customer” would never have been used to refer to a patient; in fact, there was a time when it would have been considered an impersonal and inappropriate designation for those seeking care from their healthcare providers. People were patients, and service provision meant making them better, not selling them anything. Whether a patient had a difficult time getting registered, getting someone to answer the phone, or getting a meal delivered to their room after a diagnostic test was a secondary consideration. Diagnosing and treating their chief complaints trumped all other considerations. A customer experience culture cannot truly exist where the mindset “It’s our job to make the patient better, not happy” prevails. In truth, for much of the history of modern healthcare, CX really hasn’t been a business driver.
Enter the tech-enabled, information-aware and choice-oriented patient consumer.
The Patient as Consumer
The only way to address this new patient consumer is by taking a 360-degree view of the full patient experience, beyond engaging them in their care and treatment plans:
A culture that has been radically redefined by drive-thru services, on-demand entertainment, and Amazon boxes at their door within 24 hours of ordering online is going to want that same kind of experience with their healthcare system. And they will go elsewhere if you can’t give them a great experience across the spectrum of services and offerings.
This is where technology is going to be the saving grace of healthcare enterprises trying to meet this new demand, and in truth, it’s a lot to ask an already burgeoning and challenged system to focus on something other than the critical goal of providing high-quality medical care to and improving the quality of life for their patients. But improving IT infrastructure to drive business agility and digital dexterity, virtualizing communications, deploying cutting-edge CX solutions that leverage mobility and give patients truly personalized experiences will be the formula for pulling it all off. And there are a lot of exciting solutions out there to redefine that reality for both healthcare systems and the millions of patients who navigate them every year.