by John Seeds
Every week, we experience dozens of interactions with companies and brands as we navigate through our daily lives—an automated email to check out our shopping cart, a phone call to access product tech support, an in-person conversation with a bank teller, or a text message reminder of an upcoming medical appointment.
While most of these experiences are quickly forgotten, our best brand experiences have the power to be mood-changing and day-saving. And these positive feelings tend to last long after the engagement is over, setting a new standard for every brand experience that follows.
If you think back, which last best experiences stick out in your mind? For Avtex’s Vice President of Healthcare Experience, Mike Pietig, that experience was with his primary care clinician at Park Nicollet.
What Happened During Mike’s Interaction with Park Nicollet?
Mike’s last best experience took place in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, many primary care visits and elective services were on hold to focus on the treatment of COVID patients, which created considerable uncertainty for other patients who were unsure if or when their appointments would be rescheduled.
That’s when Mike received the text message. It was from his primary care clinician at Park Nicollet, and it read: “It looks like you are going to be due for your physical after July 15th this year. I am trying to get my patients to schedule those visits now.”
The text went on to explain that this scheduling effort was a proactive attempt to prevent a chaotic rush of scheduled appointments once restrictions were lifted, and that by setting up an appointment now, Mike would ensure he would see his same primary care clinician within a reasonable time frame—not wait weeks and weeks.
What Made this Experience Stand Out?
While it was a relatively short interaction with his clinician and Park Nicollet, this text made a lasting impression because it was personalized to account for Mike’s unique situation and made him feel like his health was a top priority—even in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime healthcare event.
The text showed that his clinician understood how his care plan had been impacted by the pandemic, and it offered a proactive solution that would prevent future frustration once healthcare restrictions loosened. Even better, his clinician accomplished these goals by reaching out to Mike in his preferred channel, one that fit his lifestyle best and made it easy for him to quickly follow through and schedule his next appointment.
I felt like they knew me. They knew what was important. They knew the best way to engage me was via text message.Mike Pietig, Vice President of Healthcare Experience at Avtex
How Personalization Supports Patient-Centric Care Strategies
For years, healthcare organizations built their patient experience around in-person interactions. Scheduling, questions about care, and seeking care all happened in the clinic or hospital. These in-person experiences made patients feel cared for, and they gave patients confidence that their health concerns were understood and being taken seriously.
Since COVID hit, patients now find many of their interactions with their care providers have changed—pivoting to digital-first tools and strategies that provide greater accessibility, flexibility, and efficiency. In fact, 59% of respondents in a recent Avtex 2021 Omnichannel Healthcare Experience Report say they now interact differently with their healthcare providers than they did pre-pandemic.
While patients value the clear benefits a “Digital Front Door” can provide, they don’t want them to come at the expense of personalized care and high-touch healthcare experiences. As a result, it’s important for healthcare organizations to find ways to bring the human elements of patient care to the digital world. It starts with a comprehensive view of each patient. A deep data-driven understanding of individual needs and behaviors of patients is vital to begin meeting modern care expectations and support emerging patient preferences. In practice, this deeper understanding allows providers to use these tools to introduce more personalized experiences—like Mike’s memorable text experience—in more places than ever before.