The pandemic has changed the way healthcare is delivered. COVID-19 drove increased utilization of telemedicine and as well as increased interest for more personalized communications.
More importantly, COVID accelerated the movements of big players like Amazon, Google, Walmart, and Apple into the healthcare space. It also elevated companies like Teledoc and Virtuwell, transforming them from solid performers into leading pioneers of best practice models for delivering and receiving virtual care.
Patients are seeing and embracing the shift of healthcare from brick-and-mortar settings to those that can be accessed on-the-go, at-home, and in remote settings. Add in services that deliver medications, and companies that are producing drugs at a fraction of the cost, and it’s clear that a groundbreaking new model of medicine is here to stay.
These rapid changes are shaping a new, more modern version of healthcare. As a result, healthcare providers must invest and build out solutions and strategies to continue addressing these pandemic-generated demands, while also taking a more of an active role in re-engaging patients for their healthcare needs.
Employing a new engagement and experience strategy that addresses these new patient and market trends will be paramount to putting your healthcare organization in a competitive position. This transformation involves much more than adopting digital channels and tools; it means designing and implementing a strategy that delivers on four key patient experience needs:
- Meet and anticipate patient needs
- Continually engage and empower patients
- Personalize the healthcare experience and journey
- Embrace and leverage omni-channel outreach
Meet and Anticipate Patients' Needs
The ‘patient experience economy’ demands that healthcare organizations provide solutions that not only meet the patient where they are, but also anticipate where they want to be. Health is a lifelong journey, and healthcare providers will need to be adequately prepared for every turn. The goal is to create solutions that enable patients to trust that their provider is not only providing quality, evidence-based care, but also catering to individual needs.
Anticipating where patients are going will improve healthcare providers’ responses when a future unplanned event or crisis occurs. Additionally, planning for both the present and the future will improve patient and provider control over chronic disease management and other ailments, resulting in less healthcare dollars spent and improved patient loyalty.
Engage, Re-Engage and Empower Patients
Prior to COVID-19, patient engagement was done only when it had to be — for instance, to remind a patient they’re due for a check-up or flu shot. In our new state of normal, healthcare providers were expected to act as a hub of information like never before, and engagement strategies were implemented to provide patients with more accurate, real-time information. As a result, patients have grown accustomed to actively communicating with their providers, and many have become more engaged and inquisitive, wanting to remain more involved in and in charge of their care.
Now is the time to empower patients to take control of their own health and to be their own advocates by providing them with easy-to-navigate information and services and simple processes for having their questions or concerns addressed when those arise. By implementing strong, simple engagement strategies, providers will help build patient trust and loyalty by fulfilling all care and interaction preferences.
This will be especially important as retailers of the likes of Amazon, Google, Walmart, and Apple make larger moves into the healthcare marketplace. So too will creating personalized patient experiences throughout the healthcare journey.
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Personalize Interactions, Communications and Experiences
A personalized experience can foster a deeper patient provider relationship and bolster trust in a healthcare system that has not always personally connected with patients between visits. Patients want to feel known, and they want to feel cared for. Tailoring unique, authentic patient experiences is the best way to motivate those feelings of intimacy, trust, and loyalty with patients.
Delivering this level of personalization requires access to comprehensive data that compiles patient behaviors and interactions to ultimately outline their preferences for care and engagement. By tailoring services and communications to the individual patient, engaging them throughout their respective journeys, and providing multiple avenues for care and communication healthcare brands can move the dial from "sick care" to "health care".
Embrace Omni-Channel Services and Care
Throughout this experience transformation, there will continue to be an increased use of omni-channel outreach to create more impactful, personalized experiences. The pandemic catalyzed interest in remote and self-service healthcare, which patients are continuing to embrace. This approach to healthcare also created new practices that provide more direct communication, quicker treatment times, and increased patient satisfaction.
We’ve already seen two examples of how an omni-channel approach can create healthcare benefits with Nice Healthcare and DispatchHealth.
- Nice Healthcare provided workers with alternative primary care options that avoided expensive systems. In doing so, they were able to reduce their overall employee cost by 20%.
- DispatchHealth began a hospital-at-home program where all care occurs via mobile and online requests to deliver all care in a patient’s home. As a result, they have saved an average $6200 per patient.
The digital transformation of healthcare is here to stay. The entrance of big name tech companies, retailors, and tech startups will introduce lower costs and retail-style approaches to healthcare, which will drive the need for change in this new ‘patient experience economy’. As a result, healthcare organizations will need to quickly develop and implement data-driven, patient-first practices and tools to deliver experiential, valuable healthcare experiences across all channels.
At Avtex, we are helping healthcare providers to build on existing investments, stabilize their financial situation and help their patients achieve better health outcomes. Contact us to learn how we can help your organization deliver on these same outcomes to transform your digital strategies so you can better compete in the evolving marketplace.