Published in Healthcare

The Patient Experience: Gaining a Competitive Edge in Healthcare

Are We Expecting Patients to be Patient?

The definition of the adjective “patient” is: to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

A report by Prophet cites that 81% of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience, and that the happiest consumers are those who interact with the system the least.

These are worrying stats, particularly when you consider that there appears to be a disconnect between the patient’s view of the experience and the one the healthcare providers believe they are delivering.

63% of providers feel they are delivering effectively, compared to only 40% of consumers.

Perhaps we believe that patients do in fact have more patience than is realistic, or are we measuring the healthcare experience against expectation levels of the past?

Treating Patients as People

Patients are simply people and have expectations around the service or experience received. In fact, expectations are being shaped by the experiences consumers have with other industries.

For example, in banking you can access your financial information at the click of a button via an app, so why not your medical records?

If your utility company is coming out to fix a problem you get SMS updates of when they will arrive and how long they’ll be with you, so why can’t you get updates about a doctor’s appointment in the same way?

Consumers can book, cancel and reschedule a reservation at restaurants online, so why can’t healthcare appointments be as easy to arrange?

68% of patients say they are more likely to choose medical providers that offer the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online (Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey, US Results).

Businesses have long recognized the value of becoming customer-centric and the link to loyalty, retention and growth. Delivering on the customer experience can be a great source of competitive advantage, so it’s not surprising that being patient-centric is becoming more vital.

Higher Patient Experience Ratings are Associated with Higher Profitability

The patient experience can be a complex one. For some, a healthcare issue or hospital visit might simply be an annoyance and an expense. But, for many, it can represent a particularly painful, stressful or emotional chapter in their life and that of their loved ones.

It stands to reason that when there is something so important at stake, such as our health, that our expectations are high. Not only are they high, but they are also changing at a great pace so there is a need to collect continuous rich feedback, that is analysed efficiently and acted on decisively.

Using Technology to Create a Connection with Patients

In order to provide the best experience possible, healthcare industries need to understand that creating a connection with patients is a vital step in being able to deliver the best experiences possible – and through empathy, action can be driven.

One of the best ways to create empathy is to talk to someone face to face. Through a personal interaction you can’t help but pick up on emotions, it’s more memorable and it’s hard to dismiss someone’s personal view of an experience.

However, speaking to lots of individuals, particularly for senior stakeholders, isn’t practical or easy to measure – but enabling patients to provide feedback via video and audio is, which offers a much better understanding of emotion, and is often an outlet for much richer feedback that written responses in a survey.

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the patient experience and the same can be true for collecting patient feedback. A true PX solution offers patients a variety of ways to provide their feedback to cater to their preferences and abilities.

Video and audio can provide practical advantages. Many people will prefer to talk rather than write.  Others who may find it challenging to write or type can verbalize their response, and those who prefer to type can continue to do so, helping to maximize the responses received.

Storytelling through video and audio show reels helps to bring the patient experience to life and can be used to great effect to demonstrate areas for improvement or initiatives that are exceeding expectations. Ratings and scores are important, but video and audio can help to put the spotlight back on patients, or should I say “the people” behind the numbers.

For more information on how to include video technology in your PX or CX program, visit the LivingLens booth at CXForum in Londonwww.cxforum.co.uk

 

Other sources used: (https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/life-sciences-and-health-care/articles/hospitals-patient-experience.html)