by Dr. Rob Nelson -
Whether you are a clinician who has taken the Hippocratic Oath or a non-clinical leader in any healthcare organization, all professionals across the healthcare ecosystem are bound to a code of ethics that guides them when treating or serving patients or healthcare provider organizations.
In today’s digital world, however, a new set of principles are guiding patient expectations when it comes to their healthcare providers, payors, and health technology platforms. Whether we consider this the “Amazon” effect in healthcare or not, this new truth translates to something much more than the Hippocratic Oath. This belief is both a desire and a growing expectation for personalized, transparent, secure, and quality medical services that help assure needs are met in a timely, efficient way. This new paradigm is increasingly pervasive, becoming table stakes throughout the entirety of the healthcare industry.
What does this shift mean for your healthcare organization, and what digital capabilities, platforms and tools can deliver this new level of customer service? Let’s dive in.
What are customers looking for in their healthcare experiences?
It is well understood that Healthcare organizations face a range of challenges in today’s increasingly digital world, including the ability to keep up with rapidly changing customer needs. Specifically, healthcare organizations are torn between:
- Monitoring competitors and disruptors that are taking aim at business as usual.
- Mastering growing digital communications, engagement, and transaction options that are required to effectively engage current and potential audiences.
- Achieving operational efficiencies and reducing costs without compromising quality care and value delivery, and delivering memorable experiences that foster loyal relationships.
- Adapting to customer needs and expectations, especially as they are influenced by experiences shaped by businesses in other industries (aka, the Amazon and digital retail effect of higher degrees of customer intimacy).
This last point—the evolving nature of the customer (inclusive of the patient, member) experience in healthcare—can be further defined by the specific elements that comprise it. These include:
- Hyper-Personalization: Deliver services and care when, where, and how patients expect them. For example, research has found that hospitals with higher patient experience1 scores are generally more profitable than those with lower scores.
- Transparency: Utilize technologies to make healthcare and service delivery easier to understand and access, including pricing, quality, and the overall process
- Focus on value and relationships: Nurture direct-to-customer relationships built on providing services and care that resonates with them to build long-term loyalty instead of focusing only on streamlining operations.
- Security: Ensure that all interactions, transactions, and data are protected against evolving threats, and create trust in the highly sensitive business of personal health information.
How can you redefine your customer experiences in healthcare?
Faced with the need to gauge and adapt to these pressures, healthcare organizations are accelerating the pace of their digital transformation efforts. This often requires redefining and reprioritizing investment in transformation initiatives, but there’s good news: A lot of expertise, support, best practices, and technology exist to help with the process.
Here are four key strategies and steps to take:
1. Harness the power of data to your advantage.
Regardless of the history of your organization, there is likely a disparate network of applications and systems, customer-facing and not, that are collecting and producing data about your operations. Data is fuel to the modern healthcare organization. It is key to driving the type of frictionless, holistic experiences that can differentiate an organization.
System integration and enabling data and process flow is one piece of the puzzle, but harnessing the power of insights woven into your organization's pre-existing data is key. Knowing where and how to leverage advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning tools can:
- Make organizing structured and unstructured data easier.
- Identify trends, patterns, and anomalies more effectively.
- Create a unified view of customer behavior from across disparate systems to tailor support.
- Support data-driven decisions about new patient treatments or service delivery models.
- Enable highly relevant, personalized, real-time engagement.
- Identify and improve care, service coordination, operational workflows, and hand-offs.
2. Leverage digital technology to reach customers in new ways.
Digital transformation offers healthcare organizations an effective way to address the changes in customer and patient expectations head-on by offering new ways to streamline processes, automate routine tasks, reduce wait times, and increase efficiency.
Most prominently, digital capabilities offer organizations new ways2 to provide more accessible care like telehealth to their patients for “hospital at home” care. Similarly, AI-powered tools and other intelligent systems can be used across a customer’s journey to improve, augment, and enhance communications between patients, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem.
Together, digital initiatives like these help healthcare organizations to:
- Offer timely, frictionless, and tailored services.
- Provide customers, members, patients and their caregivers with more information about their health.
- Enable customers and patients to take a more active role in their overall experience, such as by identifying their preferred communication channels.
- Offer customers and patients transparency on their terms.
A digital initiative should also help key healthcare partners optimize solutions, services, and system design to find and harvest sources of value, as well as to build their sentient enterprise and delivery engine on modern technologies, processes, and capabilities to optimize cost, access, quality, engagement, revenue and compliance.
3. Think outside of the (healthcare) box.
Look outside of your industry to find new and innovative ways to provide services and care. For example, the retail and hospitality industries offer excellent examples of new customer service models as well as best practices, resources, and frameworks to respond to new experience expectations.
In fact, some health systems are reshaping their operations by bringing in talent and leadership from these industries and investing in training and processes that support the delivery of positive customer experiences. Ultimately, this can be key to talent retention as well as customer and patient loyalty.
4. Partner with an industry and digital leader.
Navigating a diverse and astounding labyrinth of digital products, tools, technologies, and best practices can be overwhelming, dizzying and, at times, even frustrating—and that’s before planning and executing on the implementation.
Being successful in the many dimensions of digital transformation requires trusted partners to work shoulder-to-shoulder with you on that daunting and seemingly never-ending journey. The turn toward a trusted partner with deep healthcare industry expertise can be a defining factor. The right partner can help your organization to:
- Identify and discover growth opportunities that align with values and drivers.
- Assess where your operations are today and determine a blueprint for a data-driven, customer-focused operating model.
- Map and enable holistic customer and employee journeys.
- Define and prioritize opportunities and leverage frameworks and best practices to make transformation a reality.
- Determine and act on the priority programs and investments in a way that makes sense to your specific organization's strategies, goals, and needs.
- Identify and connect your organization with best-in-class but right-fit solutions.
Take the next digital transformation step for your healthcare organization.
No matter the size or focus of your organization in the healthcare ecosystem or its experience with digital transformation, understanding the potential and power of intelligently applied cutting-edge technologies and solutions in delivering personalized experiences for patients, customers, healthcare workers, and other stakeholders is a foundational component of building lasting, differentiated customer value.
A trusted partner with deep healthcare experience like RCG can help your organization redefine, reinvent, re-platform, and reinvigorate your processes for customers, patients, and members. This builds an effective organization that keeps people coming back for care.
Ready to get started? The RCG team is on-hand with our robust and extensive team of technology partners, experienced professionals, and healthcare and technology expertise to bring your operations ahead of the curve—on your terms; tailored to your needs.
1. Deloitte "The value of patient experience" Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/life-sciences-and-health-care/articles/hospitals-patient-experience.html
2. Deloitte "Chapter 6: Transitioning to consumer-centric health care" Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/life-sciences-and-health-care/articles/consumer-centric-health-care-ceo-survey.html