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Best Practices to Improve Experiences in a Patient-as-Consumer World

In just a few short years, technology and business innovations have fundamentally changed how people interact with—and what they expect from—the services and organizations they depend on. Today, the unavoidable fact is that people make decisions and invest their loyalty based mainly on experiences, not necessarily the nuances of products or services.

This consumer-focused and experience-driven reality has profound implications for the healthcare industry. People expect fast, deeply personalized, and highly mobile experiences in nearly every aspect of their lives. They won’t tolerate long wait times or dismissive providers. And they won’t hesitate to share their opinions on social media, use the power of the Internet to investigate other options, or switch to a healthcare provider that offers them the kind of patient experience they expect.

In this landscape, your organization simply can’t afford to stick with the status quo or fall behind the patient experience curve. You need more effective, innovative, and unified programs to understand every aspect of your patients’ journeys; accurately measure their experiences; and quickly convert all the patient data you collect into practical, meaningful improvements. And you need to get there quickly.

1. Fully Explore and Understand the Challenges

There are legitimate reasons why healthcare is rarely at the top of people’s “best experiences” list. Understanding what those reasons are, how they impact your patient experience efforts, and what you can do to overcome them is the first step in taking your patient experiences program to the next level.

Siloed and Regulated Patient Data

In the healthcare industry, incredibly rich sources of data are sitting in various safety, quality, point-of-care, operational, and employee systems, but all that information is locked inside protected, regulated silos where it serves a narrow purpose that is completely disconnected from patient experience concerns. This inevitably leaves you with a narrow, incomplete view that limits your ability to understand the complete patient experience.

Limited Standardized Survey Tools

Since CAHPS inception in 2006, the surveys have brought public accountability to the healthcare industry, and an increased focus on patient satisfaction. But now, forward-thinking organizations are looking for immediate, within hours, feedback instead of weeks, from social media and other digital channels, and there are new innovative tools that can supplement patient feedback.

Ingrained Cultural Mindsets and Processes

Healthcare professionals are dedicated to providing the best possible care for their patients, and they do a remarkable job. But depending on the circumstances, the experiences that surround that care can leave something to be desired. Complex regulations and internal processes create confusing check-in procedures and stacks of paperwork. Budget-driven understaffing leads to long wait times and rushed, overextended providers. Understanding the root of the problem is key in determining what actions are needed to make the working environment and patient experience better.

2. Overcome Challenges with an All-Inclusive, Results Driven Approach

When you fully understand the scope of the patient experience challenges you face, it’s clear that more patient surveys and a deeper investment in standardized CAHPS surveys is not the answer. Jumping to the head of the patient experience pack will require a more flexible, holistic, and results-driven approach.

Embrace a Centralized Technology Platform to Unify Patient Data and Additional Research Capabilities

An all-inclusive approach to patient experience has to start with a centralized technology platform that combines all of your patient data sources into a single, unified, and multi-faceted view. It is imperative that patient experience organizations leverage a technology platform that takes advantage of CAHPS, adds depth and flexibility to collecting patient data, and engages with patients in different ways, traditional mail, email, mobile, social media, and more.

Data and technology are essential components of any all-inclusive patient experience program. But you can’t reach your full potential without some proven customer experience strategies and proven services like understanding the patient care journey, easily customizing and personalizing patient survey design, adding a governance component to your strategy and plans, and being able of dig deeper into data using some type of true driver analysis tool.

The healthcare industry can learn a lot from customer experience programs in other industries. But that requires experts who understand both customer experience best practices and the complex nuances of the healthcare industry.

3. Design, Diagnose, and Deliver a World-class Patient Experience Program

It’s important to understand the big picture. But what does an all-inclusive program look like in practical terms? And what does it allow you to do that you can’t do today? Here are a few practical capabilities and benefits you can look forward to with a comprehensive patient experience program.

  • All of your existing survey tools, including CAHPS, become part of an all-inclusive patient experience program, visible within one platform.
  • Surveys are easy to customize and change, so you can design them for each individual patient, collect more reliable data, and measure every patient’s complete journey.
  • Patients can access surveys using whatever methods they’re most comfortable with – from completing a paper survey and mailing it to tapping responses on a smartphone.
  • Data from every source is instantly uploaded to a platform, so you can combine survey data with safety, quality, operational, financial, and clinical data to gain deeper, more complete insights and pinpoint specific areas for improvement.
  • Use tools to call out immediate action
  • Learn about patient experience services to fill gaps, meet specific needs, and enhance and expand every part of your patient experience program.
  • Follow a specific, step-by-step patient experience roadmap – based on best practices and created specifically for your organization – so you can focus your efforts and resources on initiatives that lead directly to your desired outcome.
  • You should leverage expertise from customer experience (CX) best practices to enhance your team and guide your efforts.

Find out how healthcare organizations break the mold and build a results-focused patient experience program that’s built to meet the expectations of modern patients in the digital age. Contact us at 385.695.2800 (8am-5pmMT) or visit www.maritzcx.com/patient-experience