Customer Experience

7 patient experience trends to watch in 2020

Patient Experience will once again be a priority in 2020. The scope of patient experience continues to broaden, and demand for better understanding patient needs and wants before, during, and after care is on the rise.

More and more health systems are starting to look outside the healthcare industry to embrace technologies, tools, and practices that will help lead to true customer-centricity.  Many healthcare executives recognize that patient experience is often a proxy for an organization’s financial health, employee engagement, process efficiencies, and clinical outcomes.  Improving the patient experience has broad organizational benefits. Understanding the interplay between experience results and operational results will help pinpoint where to focus improvement efforts for growth.

1.    Translating Consumerism Into Action - Pre/During/Post Care

Access – Pre-Care

A strong digital presence is more important to consumers than ever before. 65% of customers say their experience on a website is a very important factor in their willingness to recommend a brand to others. Making it easy to find a doctor or schedule an appointment online sets the tone for the overall patient experience.  Ease of completing pre-visit paperwork can help minimize no-shows.  Leveraging insights from website or app experiences can lead to positive word of mouth, increased business, and loyal patients.

During Care

From check-in to discharge, capturing feedback in the moment while a patient is still in care, allows for service interventions that foster greater loyalty and overall satisfaction.  Using QR Codes, text, kiosk, or Alexa / Google Home to interface with patients within an encounter can help a patient feel acknowledged and heard.  Interventions that solve issues will foster goodwill and encourage positive word of mouth.

Post care

Chronic health management is necessary for effective cost management and long-term patient satisfaction.  Once a patient leaves care, staying in touch and being a source for information and support encourages a long-term patient/provider partnership.  Regular outreach to assess a patient’s current state will engender trust and encourage greater adherence to treatment protocols.

2.    Applying Non-Healthcare Best Practices

As the experience economy permeates every area of our lives, healthcare providers are being compared to other consumer product type experiences (Amazon, Apple, Four Seasons) and need to figure out how to better compete. Improving patient experience is critical in the competition for market share, and health systems will need to improve convenience, access, and overall patient service in order to sustain and grow.

Companies like BMW, Dish, and Fandango have learned how important a culture of accountability is for addressing service issues.  Each has implemented a real-time closed-loop approach for empowering their employees to respond quickly and effectively to customer needs.  As a result, each has seen an increase in Net Promoter Score, a reduction in customer churn, and an increase in word-of-mouth referrals.

3.    Complementing CAHPS with Real-Time Insights to Move the Needle

The need for feedback captured at every step of the patient journey is more important and relevant to improvement than comparisons to retrospective benchmarks like CAHPS.  Healthcare providers need data faster to allow them to take action in the moment — which should also improve CAHPS scores.

CMS allows for questions to be asked prior to CAHPS survey sampling and administration as long as those questions are different from the CAHPS questions.  Asking targeted, specific, and pointed questions related to a patient’s diagnosis, treatment plan, or a specific process will provide greater insight and lead to faster, more impactful improvement. Enlist staff in the process and ask what information will enable them to do their jobs better.  By leveraging a system of action using real-time feedback, not only will CAHPS scores rise, but the patient will benefit.

4. The use of X and O-data combined

Traditionally, operational metrics (O-data) such as safety events, clinical outcomes, throughput measures, and financials have been analyzed separately from patient experience results. Going forward, companies need to combine their O-data with experience data (X-data), such as patient experience and employee experience, to drive comprehensive improvement across a health system. The combination of X and O-data will help break down silos, improve quality, and encourage real change by providing a more holistic view of how these factors interact. O-data describes “what” is happening and X data answers the question “why;” both components are needed to better identify and address the root causes underlying performance issues.

5. Leverage AI to Move From Reactive to Proactive

Health systems are transitioning from reactive care management to more proactive predictive models.  Historically, care interventions have been based on retrospective views of a patient’s health, typically post-discharge or encounter.  Often hand-offs are not coordinated and result in long waits, misinformation, and duplication.  Today’s technology is powering in the moment response, leveraging both unstructured (text) and structured data (clinical, operational) to pinpoint needed action based on conditions, treatment types, patient demographics, and feedback.  Experience and operations data can be measured continuously and in-tandem to allow for fast interventions to improve the overall patient experience.

6. Increasing Investment in Culture

As health systems place increased importance on improving the patient experience, the key to success often lies in an organization’s culture. The goals of patient-centeredness, population health management, workplace efficiency, and world-class quality often battle against clinician burnout, lack of resources, political discord, and employee apathy.  The importance of physician, employee, and staff engagement and its impact on patient experience is undeniable.  To achieve financial, clinical, and community success, health systems must have a culture of inclusion, safety, and quality.  Investing in the workplace and providing the tools necessary to enable the best care delivery must be a priority for an outstanding patient experience to thrive.

7.    Experience Management Will Come To The Fore

 A patient experience maturity model provides a clear roadmap for continuous improvement. The elements to successfully operationalize experience management (XM) across an enterprise include culture, competence, and technology. An XM Maturity Model provides a guide for architecting, aligning, tracking, and creating the appropriate skills, support, and motivation for success. Over time, an organization will transition from responding and supporting the patient experience to innovating and creating exceptional patient experiences, leading to disruption and true differentiation.

Want to take your experiences to a new level in 2020?

Reach out to our healthcare team for more insights on our experience management work in the healthcare and patient experience space. We work with hundreds of organizations from hospitals to payers to life sciences companies.

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Patty Riskind // Head of Global Healthcare

Patty is Head of Global Healthcare for Qualtrics. Patty brings 30+ years of tech, data, and analytics experience helping healthcare organizations improve their strategy, marketing, patient/physician experience, and quality efforts.

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