Published in Healthcare

Improving Experiences in a Patient-as-Consumer World: Part 2 of 4

Click here to read the first part of this series.

Fully Explore and Understand the Challenges

In the first article in this blog series, I’ve outlined four essential practices for improving experiences in a patient-as-consumer world.

Today’s blog will focus on the practice of fully exploring and understanding challenges many patient experience programs face.

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 experience program to the next level.

Here are a few of the patient experience “headwinds” most healthcare organizations face:

Siloed and Regulated Patient Data

Data is obviously the key ingredient for understanding and improving patients’ experiences – but only if you can combine it, analyze it, and apply it directly to meaningful improvements.

In the healthcare industry, incredibly rich sources of data are waiting 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, identify issues quickly, and make targeted improvements.

Limited and Inflexible Standardized Survey Tools

Standardized patient surveys like the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey serve a valuable purpose – by providing uniform, consistent data you can use to compare your broad patient experience performance against other organizations.

But these standardized programs are limited. They don’t address patient experience issues that are unique to your area or organization. They are impersonal, inflexible, and difficult to customize. And they provide a fairly narrow, one-dimensional view of the overall patient journey.

As a result, organizations that rely primarily on CAHPS data alone typically don’t achieve the kinds of patient experience outcomes they’re hoping for.

Benchmark Blindness

Benchmarks obviously serve a valuable purpose. But healthcare organizations that focus too much on “chasing the score” can lose sight of the bigger patient experience picture. This type of “benchmark blindness,” where organizations treat benchmark scores as the ultimate goal rather than a useful tool, will inevitably fall behind competitors that embrace a more nuanced, holistic view of the patient journey.

Lack of Integrated, Unified Patient Experience Tools and Platforms

The success of every patient experience program is ultimately determined by the quality and variety of data you collect, and your ability to leverage a single tool to gather, synthesize, and make decisions based on patient feedback.

However, most healthcare organizations still rely on ad-hoc information-gathering efforts and sporadic processes to drive their patient experience program.

Many of these organizations are unsure about the best way to move toward a more unified, centralized, multi-channel program. Budget constraints often make it even more difficult to plan and implement a structured and integrated patient experience solution.

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 under-staffing leads to long wait times and rushed, overextended providers. And some providers become so focused on clinical diagnoses and procedures, they fail to give sufficient time and care to patients’ other needs and concerns.

Getting Started with the Right Patient Experience Partner

MaritzCX has more than 50 years of experience measuring, analyzing, and managing comprehensive customer experience programs for some of the world’s largest and most successful organizations. We understand the unique dynamics and requirements of the healthcare industry. And we’re uniquely qualified to help you deliver experiences that exceed your patients’ expectations and set you apart in an increasingly competitive, demanding, and fast-paced digital society.