Our previous post discussed some of the impacts and takeaways the COVID-19 pandemic had on the consumer experience and lessons we can learn from other industries that have gone through this digital disruption already. In this, our third and final post of the series, we will look at four trends around patient experience that you should keep in mind as you consider your 2023 initiatives.
Research has shown that 66% of customers across all industries want at least three different digital engagement channels with the businesses they seek services from.1 The first was the internet, the second most popular was through the phone (apps/texting/calling), and the third top preference was the ability to go to the business in person. While many in healthcare would be quick to say that each of those different options are plentifully available across the healthcare landscape, one report still shows an enormous gap between the digital engagement that is provided and what the patients expect.2
To create the best patient experience and prepare for this continuing disruption and evolution of healthcare digital engagement, there are four trends you should be mindful of heading into 2023.
Number 1: A Shifting Competitive Landscape
The digital health solutions that are coming out mean that we’re no longer competing only by geographic boundaries. Healthcare providers don’t get nearly as much leverage as they used to by being one of the only players in town. Instead, the ability to attract and retain patients and to stay relevant in the marketplace is becoming more and more vital. Going into 2023, one of the most important questions for healthcare providers is how to ensure that we stay relevant and top of mind for our patients.
So, how do you do that? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate how to engage with your patients.
- Ensure your information is current online for voice assistance like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant so that your services can be recommended if a patient asks which healthcare provider to go.
- If you have a social media presence, make sure you are active on it regularly. You want to make sure you are quick to engage with patients active on those platforms.
- Make sure that your website is able to do more than just inform your patient. Patients are looking for digital tools that allow them to self-service their needs rather than having to call you (more on this later).
Number 2: Telehealth and Remote Care Will Change…A Lot
Telehealth is an option that an increasing number of patients are turning to, with some large healthcare organizations pioneering novel approaches to prescribing and delivering care remotely. However, many providers still rely on siloed apps like FaceTime and Zoom, two solutions that don’t offer integration into the EMR or typical healthcare processes. They also can’t address issues such as payment and consent. With an estimated $60B3 in new digital health investment since the pandemic started, expect a lot of changes to the telehealth landscape.
That means you can’t get comfortable with your current digital engagement and telehealth channels. The consumer marketplace changes quickly, and you don’t want to get left behind as novel solutions are introduced. You should also watch and prepare now for new engagement channels to emerge beyond just traditional telehealth solutions like video appointments and virtual chats. As connected medical devices become more prevalent, you will want to have them integrated into your telehealth solutions.
Number 3: Customers Expect More Functionality with Fewer Logins from Digital Health
Logging in and using multiple portals has created unhelpful barriers to health literacy, patients understanding their care and results, and healthcare organizations receiving payments. This occurs because patients don’t want to remember how to access or navigate a multitude of digital engagement tools from their healthcare providers. By deploying bundled solutions or immersive platforms, healthcare organizations can offer their patients a more streamlined and simplified digital experience that can improve patient loyalty, decrease appointment cancellations, increase patient revenue, decrease AR, and much more.
This shift is not just happening in healthcare. Consumers, in general, are getting app and login fatigue. this is driving many organizations to reinvest in their customer experience strategies to try and streamline access and expand functionality. A recent study by Forrester found that 82% of CX leaders anticipate an increased budget to work with in 2023. For those brands looking to increase CX spending in 2023, 65.1% plan to allocate those funds on CX technology.4
Number 4: Patients Becoming More Involved in their Care and Paying for Care
As referenced previously, patients are paying more out of their own pockets for their healthcare. Consequently, they are beginning to want more influence in the decisions of how and when they pay for their care, how they communicate with their healthcare providers, and even how and where they receive that care.
In general, today’s consumer is also more comfortable engaging with digital solutions than ever before. With platforms like Amazon, Google, and Netflix creating strong digital experiences for consumers to self-service, they are setting the standard and expectation for all other digital experiences. So rather than sit on hold waiting for a representative to speak with, they would rather just do it on their own. Interestingly enough, with the current economic forces and staffing trends, it will help you as the provider as well if the patient takes on some of those processes you used to have to staff for.
Patients increasingly want digital solutions that give them options. Providers who can offer flexible options through self-automated payment plans, pay by text, easy communication through texting, mobile registration, and telehealth or home visits, will attract and retain more patients.
These trends and others, like patient collaboration via text, self-scheduling, and patient-driven RCM solutions, will expand in the coming years. However, as new product reviews, case studies, and white papers come out highlighting these enhancements, there will also be the potential for perception conflicts. So it’s important to understand and recognize these potential pitfalls in advance.
As a classic example of perception conflicting with reality, in World War II a plane called the B-17 bomber was flying over Europe for the US. Very early in the war, many of these planes were getting shot down. The government hired a group of individuals to come together and figure out what could be done to improve the survivability of planes and their crews.
The group began counting and pinpointing every bullet hole in the planes that were coming back to put together a grid to show where the planes were getting shot. After looking at the data, they realized that the broadest, biggest areas of the plane are where the bullets are hitting, which made complete logical sense. These are the spots with the most bullet holes, so they decided to reinforce those areas with additional armor.
However, a mathematician on the team named Abraham Wald looked at the same data and said no, that conclusion was incorrect. He said that the bullet holes they were studying were all on the planes that made it back. Instead, the team should focus on where the holes aren’t, because that is where the planes that didn’t make it back were shot. This observation and the ensuing changes led to the B-17 bombers to be eventually known as the Flying Fortress because they became so difficult to shoot down.
One example of how data can be misinterpreted in healthcare is apparent in that 75% of surveyed health systems feel that they are doing an excellent job of providing personalized patient experiences and that they should just continue what they’re doing. The reality is that more than half of surveyed patients disagree with that assumption. And only 14% report being happy with how health systems communicate with them.5
Another example is that, currently, 88% of healthcare appointments are created by phone. Many experts are saying that because of this, healthcare providers should invest more in their phone services because that’s how patients want to engage with us. However, studies have shown that 85% of customers hate over-the-phone experiences, but they use it because it’s the only reliable option to make an appointment.6 Other industries have begun to recognize this trend, and by 2025 it is expected that $9 out of $10 will be invested in digital engagement tools outside of phone and voice.7
With patient engagement as the new competitive landscape, healthcare organizations need to be mindful of the temptation to sit in our Ivory Towers and deliver what we believe to be the perfect solution. Instead, by going and sitting in the patient experience perspective, decisions and solutions can be implemented that ensure that the patient’s needs and expectations are truly being met.
- Rock Health
- MIT Sloan
Wixcorp is a patient engagement and experience company. We help healthcare organizations around the country provide a consistent and strong digital patient experience throughout the care journey. Through our digital solutions, patients can self-service getting an estimate, requesting an appointment, registering prior to their appointment, completing clinical forms and consents, verifying their insurance, paying for their care before and after their visits and much more.
For more information about Wixcorp and our patient engagement platform, Redde, visit www.wixcorp.com