The recent pandemic has accelerated many trends that are driving today’s desired healthcare journey, one that delivers a seamless omnichannel experience. As we identified in our 2021 Omnichannel Healthcare Experience Report, healthcare customers expect services that provide personalization to meet unique preferences, integrate with new care delivery options like telehealth, and include a hybrid experience that supports both digital and human touchpoints. In addition, it must be highly intuitive and easy to use for every patient and member.
These trends have established a strong need for organizations to develop a “Digital Front Door” healthcare experience strategy, which offers patients and members convenience and efficiency across the entire healthcare journey by taking a digital-first, consumer-centric approach to interactions and care.
To help you develop a well-rounded, high-impact Digital Front Door strategy, we’ve identified five of today’s most prominent healthcare experience expectations and provided examples of solutions you should adopt to meet these trending consumer needs.
Healthcare Experience Expectation 1: The Omnichannel Experience
While most patients still prefer in-person interactions for many of their care needs, there is an increasing demand for digital interaction channels. In fact, over one-third of Gen Z and Millennials surveyed in our 2021 healthcare study listed mobile apps, portals, and chatbots in their top three channel preferences. This mix of digital and human interaction preferences means that payers and providers must have a clear plan to meet the multi-channel expectations of today's healthcare consumers.
However, delivering on these experience expectations is not always easy. For one, it requires the adoption of digital entry points for every kind of interaction, even those that were traditionally held in the office or over the phone, so that consumers can more quickly and easily handle their healthcare needs. It also requires an omnichannel approach where every interaction, system, and channel across the healthcare journey is seamlessly integrated to create a unified, frictionless experience for the consumer. A Digital Front Door facilitates this desired digital accessibility within the omnichannel experience.
To facilitate an omnichannel Digital Front Door experience, adopt solutions that:
- Incorporate your current patient/member experience and roadmap plans for improvement: CX improvement roadmapping, journey mapping, CX design and orchestration planning
- Customize digital capabilities that align with your consumers’ needs and integrate into your CX delivery model: Mobile app capabilities, system APIs, EMR integration, UI/UX design support
- Strengthen support capabilities, to deliver a seamless, integrated experience across all interactions: Chatbots, virtual agents, interactive voice response, cloud contact center solutions, service optimization
- Optimize marketing operations, to deliver a unified, frictionless experience: MarTech platforms, CRM, campaign and journey automation, personalization
Learn more about what a Digital Front Door strategy is and how you build one.
Healthcare Experience Expectation 2: The Human Element
Avtex research has shown that regardless of age or demographic, the most preferred care delivery option is still in-person interactions with a healthcare provider. For this reason, the human element must be first and foremost when designing a Digital Front Door strategy. Each moment within the healthcare journey has meaning in some way, and every touchpoint must be based on a foundation of empathy and understanding. Effective two-way communication must be supported by technologies like AI and chatbots, and the Digital Front Door must support clear communications that promote peace of mind as well as efficiency and empathy for every member and patient.
In other words, the desire for human connection is not going away. A Digital Front Door elevates, rather than removes, human interaction, supporting a healthcare experience that can easily move between in-person and digital touchpoints.
To facilitate a human Digital Front Door experience, adopt solutions that:
- Personalize customer interactions and experiences: CRM, data insights automation, marketing segmentation and personalization solutions, support optimization solutions
- Simplify and streamline employee processes, so they can focus on patient/member support and care: Cloud solutions, operation simplification and automation, agent optimization solutions, contact center solutions
- Measure patient/member experiences, so you can identify opportunities to make improvements: Insights automation, CX reporting and scoring capabilities (e.g. NPS, HCAHPS, STAR Rating)
Healthcare Experience Expectation 3: Ease of Use
Healthcare experiences must be meaningful, but they also need to be easy and intuitive. Our 2021 Omnichannel Healthcare Experience Report found that while 71% of patients want their experiences with their providers to be as easy as their interactions with customer brands, 68% of respondents said providers need to improve the quality of their interactions. That’s a huge gap in terms of expectations and the healthcare experience that is actually being delivered. Ease of use comprises the largest part of that gap. What’s more, many clinicians and support staff members also report issues with complexities in their tools and processes.
Fortunately, a Digital Front Door delivers on this expectation, offering intuitive, self-service capabilities and convenience across the entire healthcare journey – for both consumers and staff.
To facilitate an easy Digital Front Door experience, adopt solutions that:
- Improve system interoperability, to streamline and simplify experiences for employees and consumers: Cloud solutions, data management, core system integration, workforce technology and support
- Amplify digital channels, to deliver easier access care, support, and information to consumers: Mobile app capabilities, patient/member portals, system APIs, EMR integration, UI/UX design support
- Elevate support capabilities to reduce volume and simplify processes for staff: Chatbots, virtual agents, interactive voice response, contact center solutions
Healthcare Experience Expectation 4: Personalization
Today, organizations need to meet the unique needs and expectations of four different generations of adults: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and now Gen Z. Designing patient and member experiences that align with their generational preferences is a great first step toward personalization, but it takes more than that to create the level of personalization your consumers expect. The goal is to achieve as close to 1:1 personalization as possible, and that requires combining an understanding of the Voice of the Customer with support of the human element. Simply put, you need to know each patient and member enough to empathize with them every step of the way.
A Digital Front Door can help deliver a deep, data-driven understanding of individuals’ demographics, needs, and behaviors to create hyper-personalized healthcare experiences that support the unique preferences and needs of your consumers.
To facilitate a personalized Digital Front Door experience, adopt solutions that:
- Deliver information about your current and prospective customers, so you can apply the findings to enhance experiences: Voice of Customer (VOC) work, focus groups, persona research, journey mapping, data automation and enrichment
- Improve data collection and application, to unify and even predict customers’ behaviors and needs: Data collection and management tools, insights automation, AI and machine learning
- Optimize marketing operations, to deliver a more personalized, frictionless experience across all channels: CRM, campaign and journey automation, personalization
Healthcare Experience Expectation 5: Alternative Care Channels
Digital Front Door strategies prioritize the need for a seamless omnichannel experience that incorporates more convenient and diverse care delivery models as well. The pandemic accelerated a massive shift to telehealth, and what was once a necessity has now become a preference, particularly for younger generations. Virtual care has proven to be more convenient and just as effective in many cases, and there’s no going back. In fact, Avtex data shows that telehealth currently represents 30% of all care appointments, up from just 7% before COVID. It’s important to consider this still evolving aspect of ‘Healthcare 3.0’ when designing your Digital Front Door.
Patients have grown accustomed to the availability and convenience of alternative care options like e-visits, telemedicine, and virtual care to address their care needs. Although adoption of these alternative care models has declined since the initial days of the pandemic, this change is likely to become a permanent one that continues to grow in popularity, while not taking the place of in-person care. A successful Digital Front Door patient experience strategy should incorporate these care options, while integrating these into the larger care journey in a way that elevates the omnichannel patient experience.
To facilitate Digital Front Door care experiences, adopt solutions that:
- Offer digital access to care, while integrating these into the larger ecosystem: Mobile app capabilities, system APIs, EMR integration, UI/UX design support, patient/member portals
- Improve system interoperability, to connect care interactions and information and improve the patient experience across all channels: Cloud solutions, data management and storage, workforce technology and support, remote workforce solutions, robotic process automation (RPA)
- Enhance operational efficiencies, to simplify care delivery processes and experiences for clinicians and staff: Clinician care system automation and integration, pre-care support (chatbots, virtual agents, interactive voice response)
It’s clear that a strong Digital Front Door strategy can deliver on the evolving expectations of patients and members, becoming the entryway for a healthcare experience that promotes meaningful connections, boosting loyalty while attracting new customers at every turn. A Digital Front Door uses technology that is already familiar to the patient or member, automates low-value tasks, and delivers a seamless, robust omnichannel experience that supports a consumer-first experience and all the processes that must operate effortlessly behind the scenes as well.
Check out our toolkit with interactive resources to help you deliver modern, impactful experiences that meet your consumers' expectations.
How Avtex Can Help Build Your Digital Front Door Strategy
Avtex understands how imperative it is to simplify, enhance, and interconnect the patient and member experience across all interactions and channels. We can help your healthcare organization add speed, convenience, and simplicity to the patient, member, and staff experience while retaining the human element that is still so integral to these interactions.
With our expertise, collaboration, and technology, Avtex creates customized Digital Front Door solutions that help our healthcare clients improve care and interactions for the benefit of all - driving productivity, satisfaction, and loyalty.