As tech continues to significantly change the landscape of healthcare, it’s more important than ever that companies understand and respond to the experience of patients.

This morning my husband and I were discussing the newest disruption in healthcare: companies who send employees across the country to get medical treatment.

The basic premise, according to the article being read, is to obtain competitive pricing for the company while simultaneously providing better care for the employee.

Major consumer-conscious companies are doing this, including Amazon and Walmart. While this method can be highly beneficial for reducing the cost of care and ultimately may lead to better outcomes, one big factor is missing – understanding and responding to the experience of the patient traveling for this care.

Healthcare disruption is accelerating

Healthcare disruption is fast becoming one of the biggest areas of opportunity. The market is huge, from wearables to telemedicine to avatars. Everyone wants a piece of the healthcare pie.

In most cases much of the disruption taking place is positive. Many of these technologies are looking to put the ‘care’ in healthcare back into the hands of the patient, allowing them more control over their own wellness.

But with increasing choice, it can be challenging for health systems and patients to know which technology is right for them. No doubt, there is a ton of money being spent and investment is not slowing down…

  • $5 billion: The amount of venture funding for digital health companies invested in the first six months of 2019 – higher than any previous years’ first-half results, according to a new Mercom Capital Group report
  • 3 million: The number of telemedicine visits in 2019
  • $12.6 billion: The expected revenue in 2021 for the wearable market

As healthcare disruption gathers pace, it’s critical we keep the patient and doctor experience front of mind.

Take Electronic Health Records (EHR) as an example. The federal government made a $30-billion push for EHR in 2009. There are dollars at stake every year for continued implementation by hospitals and clinics to maintain or comply with medical record standards.

Patients like having access to their health records (92% of consumers believe they should have access to their electronic health records, according to Accenture). And in general EHRs have been beneficial in streamlining billing, allowing for quicker access to results, facilitating online scheduling and many other consumer benefits.

Patients may love the electronic health record. Physicians, not so much. Personally, as a physician, I have a love-hate relationship with the EHR. I love having access to past notes, results and consults. But I hate spending hours after my shift typing, typing, typing. And I especially hate the distance it puts between me and my patients in the clinical setting. This is a sentiment echoed by many of my peers.

In another example, millennials say a telemedicine option is extremely important. And the industry is following suit, with 91% of employers expected to offer this as part of healthcare packages by 2020. However, only 2% of employees have used this service according to Willis Towers Watson’s annual Changes Ahead Survey.

Understanding the needs of patients

There is a clear disconnect here that needs bridging to ensure digital healthcare benefits and is used by us all. To do this, we need to understand the experiences patients want, and how they want to receive them.

In the same vein, I’ll be interested in finding out how the families and employees of Amazon and other companies feel about flying across the country to obtain their medical care. Are they comfortable being so far away from home during a potential medical crisis? Do they feel supported? What is their response to their new care team?

It will be critical as we look towards future disruption to include the use of design thinking methodologies, and ensure that all impacted voices are heard. We don’t want to continually innovate in a vacuum simply for the sake of disruption.

My hope is that both the systems caring for these patients and the employers are actively seeking out their patient’s perceptions and opinions, in an ongoing way, through real-time and post-episode surveying. And that they use this information to determine if this ‘disruption’ is best for the experience of the patient or merely for the bottom line.

Ultimately, I do believe these disruptions will be good for patient, employee, health system and employer. That is what Qualtrics wants to help discover. By tracking each element in this complex ecosystem of voices, we can create a surround sound of feedback and use statistical and predictive analytics to help organizations draw conclusions and insights. These insights help answer these important questions about the patient and employee experience, along with the impact to the bottom line.

Because Qualtrics XM is a comprehensive solution we are able to collect, analyze and act on customer (patient) experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) data all from a single platform.

In the example from the Wall Street Journal, CX and EX must be thought about together. I would urge any company participating in this type of model to actively and consistently ask their employees and the health systems they work with for ongoing feedback on this new process in order to iterate and improve the experience.

As a physician, I loved to listen to my patients to help determine the right diagnosis. As a Senior XM Scientist with Qualtrics, I thrive on developing the right programs to help organizations listen to the voices of their customers. Asking key questions can lead us to new discoveries and new directions in order to drive important innovations and disruptions. It’s critical to remember though, that it always comes back to the patient – the consumer – the person – the voice that is sharing their experience.

Find out how Qualtrics can help you listen to the voice of your customer

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1. WSJ “Amazon Joins Trend of Sending Workers Away for Health Care”, October 15, 2019

2. Healthcare Dive “Healthcare Execs Worried About Business Model Disruption, Survey Shows”, Meg Bryant, March 18, 2019

3. First Stop Health News “25 Statistics You Need to Know About Healthcare and Telemedicine”, Dave Guttman, October 3, 2019

4. Accenture – Patients wants a heavy dose of digital, December 2016

5. MDConnect “Consumer Driven Digital Disruption in healthcare”, Jonathan Catley, March 31, 2016