Today’s patients become more like consumers every day. Their regular interactions with everything from products to services are increasingly fast, easy, convenient, and digital. Healthcare is behind, especially in digitalization. If organizations are to catch up, they must remove the friction that slows down encounters and makes them difficult. While 85% of patient sentiment toward clinicians reflects warmth, positivity, and respect, non-clinical parts of the patient journey are unsatisfying. Here are three pages from the retail playbook to inspire great patient experiences.
1. Frictionless access and process
In retail, the world is at consumers’ fingertips. They are just a few clicks away from information, goods, and services. With sophisticated search capabilities, they can find what they need quickly and specifically. And they have payment, delivery, and financing options. With an eye toward short attention spans while using the internet and user experience, most online retailers have stripped down their digital paperwork to enable smooth information entry and checkout. And the follow-ups are timely and automated.
Convenient access has been the single most important factor driving healthcare decisions for 51% of consumers and will likely remain so. But today’s healthcare system is often inconvenient, slow, and hard to navigate – from redundant forms to manual appointment scheduling to inefficient check-in and discharge. Billing is also often frustrating.
Revamping patient-facing databases and search interfaces would go a long way toward improving patient experience. A website with centralized information, user-centric search function, and self-scheduling empowers patients and allows for better staff allocation. A close evaluation of clinician office and administrative workflows and digitalization where possible benefits everyone.
2. Digital transformation
A surprising 60% of the U.S. healthcare industry works in administration, not patient care. Yet, the average physician spends about half the day on administrative tasks. The cost of this inefficiency is $935 billion annually.
Retail has embraced digital solutions and harnessed data, from brick-and-mortar store operations to inventory and supply chain to e-commerce. This puts retail in sync with consumer expectations and demand and enables a deeper understanding of customers and the business. In retail, this spells nimble responsiveness to consumers.
The healthcare industry has been slow to adopt digital and data-driven solutions, lagging behind most industries. Digital transformation would help healthcare organizations address a range of time-consuming manual processes, coding and billing among them, to cut costs and relieve the burden on clinicians and administrative staff. And it would let organizations quickly track and respond to patient experience feedback.
3. Brand loyalty
Today’s retailers are laser focused on customer experience. They use a mix of strategies to maximize e-commerce while creating compelling experiences that build loyalty and inspire repeat visits. From data-driven personalization to omnichannel marketing to social media, retail invites engagement, rewards loyalty, and increases brand affinity in the process.
The patient experience management (PXM) industry is growing exponentially and 79% of health professionals name it a top priority. PXM is an emerging category in healthcare that encompasses every touchpoint and interaction along the patient journey. It’s the overarching strategy that integrates and implements a range of solutions to meet expectations from a combined patient and consumer perspective. A number of companies have developed PXM platforms.
PXM is vital to healthcare organizations’ success in the age of consumerism and retail provides some good examples of what to focus on. Early adopters will be positioned to delight and earn the loyalty of existing and new patients – and will differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
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