Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of speaking at both NGPX in San Diego and the CIO Summit in Omaha. Now that I’ve finally had a few hours at home to catch my breath, I thought it might be helpful to share some key takeaways and insights from my experiences at both conferences.
Healthcare IT and Administrative decision-makers nationwide are all grappling with repercussions of patient consumerization.
So, if this has been a pain-point for you, please know that you are not alone!
Patients are consumers and they expect to be able to manage their health through the same technologies they use in every other service sector(e.g., banking, travel, etc.). No amount of denial or archaic insistence that ‘consumer’ is a “dirty” word will ease the frustrations of those unmet expectations. From a patient perspective, white-coat authority and the magic of “doctor knows best” can only remain effective in the digital age if healthcare keeps up with the evolution of consumer communication expectations.
A common statistic cited at both conferences was that healthcare is 10 to 15 years behind all other industries in the ability to support omni-channel communication.
The effects of this technological lag are as burdensome on case managers as they are frustrating for patients. How does a single case manager effectively communicate with a case-load of 100 patients in real-time within systems where their primary communication tool is a phone call? It’s no wonder case managers struggle to meet the needs of their patients under those conditions.
Technological discoveries and advancements in healthcare happen every day. The Xprizecompetition just spent $10 million dollars to seed the creation of real-life tricorder prototypes. When headlines tell consumers medicine is a field that is literally bringing Star-Trek tools to life, who can blame them for being discontent that their experience of hospital communications feels stuck in the dark ages? The inevitable comparison is a set-up for frustration.
Technology plays a huge role in delivering an optimal patient experience.
As health organizations embark on the task of total transformation of the patient and staff experience, planning and journey mapping is key. Well-integrated advanced systems such as Aspect’s OneCare and Patient Engagement can repurpose skilled staffs’ valuable time to high-value tasks (e.g., caring for patients) and directly facilitates several key points on ‘the patient wish list’:
- let me sleep
- knock on the door before entering
- don’t lose my personal belongings
- please keep my whiteboard current and up to date
- please orient me to my room and the hospital
- update me and my family
- keep my room clean
- listen to me and engage me in my care
- please maintain professionalism in all areas of the hospital
- keep noise levels down at the nurses’ station
The most successful organizations make sure they address the specific needs of their patients at every point of interaction throughout the entire patient journey. Their secret? Using journey mapping to understand the patient experience at each step along the way from appointment scheduling to post-discharge.
One encouraging note is that healthcare institutions can benefit from the slower start by leveraging key insights and best practices from well-advanced consumer communicating industries (e.g., FiServ, Banking, Hospitality, Retail, etc.), applying those lessons to healthcare and frogging those industries with new innovations. Additionally, healthcare organizations have proven that tackling new system implementation in waves or phases is ideal for success and long-term adoption.
Healthcare organizations are seeing a direct correlation between their own employee engagement/satisfaction and improvements on patient engagement scores.
As an example, HOAG Orthopedic Institute pays very close attention to physician engagement – recognizing “physicians of the season” on their external website.
The importance of staff engagement can’t be understated and Healthcare organizations need to pay close attention to the prediction that by 2024 US Healthcare will need a half million more nurses to care for the influx of patients coming into the healthcare system. Organizations like HOAG are paying very close attention to insights from Modern Healthcare which annually recognizes best places to work.
Aspect can help you analyze and improve your patient journey. Get started today by signing up for a complimentary strategic briefing on patient journey mapping to learn how this process will enhance your patient engagement efforts.