by Mike Pietig
As we recently shared in our blog Healthcare 3.0: How to Compete in ‘The Patient Experience Economy, an unprecedented amount of patient data is being generated in healthcare today, and the amount of data being produced is expected to double every year moving forward.
Traditionally this data has been in separated by disparate platforms or systems, without a simple solution to integrate the data together, let alone to pull in additional health data from third party systems like health trackers, chronic disease monitoring devices or smart watches. This complexity of the patient data landscape has limited the opportunity to gain a 360-degree view of consumers, putting traditional healthcare organizations at a disadvantage as more digital-first competitors and retail healthcare providers enter the marketplace.
However, new advancements in technology - like cloud computing and AI - along with new connectivity standards like FHIR, are helping to modernize healthcare data capabilities. Data can now be standardized, connected, unified and integrated in more ways than ever before, allowing for access to more comprehensive and actionable data insights.
AI and machine learning are prime examples of this technological evolution. Prior to COVID-19, only about 50% of providers said they had an enterprise level AI or machine learning strategy. Post-pandemic, that number is expected to jump to 90%, with some analysts saying that AI and machine learning will be the number one investment healthcare organizations make in the coming years. The reason for this shift is largely attributed to the unprecedented amount of patient data that is being collected. This volume of data can present a challenge, when systems are overwhelmed by more information than any human can quickly process to make clinical decision. Many healthcare organizations see an opportunity to use AI and machine learning to convert this repository of patient data into actionable insights, optimizing healthcare experiences and ultimately empowering them to provide better care to their patients.
Data is critical to a successful customer experience program, but it’s not helpful if you don’t have the right tools and strategies in place to act on it. To understand your consumers, deliver the best experiences, and remain competitive, your healthcare organization will need to clean, standardize, and harness data that is accessible, comprehensive, integrated, actionable, and protected.
In our previous blog, 7 Expectations of Customer-Driven Care, we noted how having to re-send records or repeat health history information can negatively impact patient experience. Health and care history should be easily accessible for both patients and healthcare staff, thereby eliminating the need for information needing to be reshared. Eliminating this friction in these interactions drives more meaningful experiences across all interactions and channels. Information like care history, upcoming appointments, and bill pay should also be available on-demand for patients to access, empowering them to access whatever information they need, when they need it, and to ultimately better advocate for their own care.
As devices and technology continue to evolve, so does the value and power of data. The cloud and internet of things (IOT) technology like wearables has expanded health data beyond the medical facility. Patients can now receive an EKG on-demand, and real-time insights from mobile apps, watches, and other wearable devices allow for a more comprehensive view of consumer health data. Used correctly, this information can allow you to better understand each individual’s behaviors and habits to provide a more personalized, even predictive care experience.
Gathering this level of data will also empower your organization to compete against newer competitors like Amazon or Apple who are entering the marketplace with an existing database of consumer data and preferences.
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To effectively utilize this volume of comprehensive data, it must first be integrated. Data integration involves two objectives: collecting information from distant or disconnected systems to create a single source of ‘truth’ and communicating information across engagement channels to streamline and improve journeys and experiences. These improved data practices will help amplify healthcare journeys and maximize consumer growth and loyalty.
The best way to integrate data is through implementing a data solutions system that captures and analyzes data from all platforms and channels into a single place (i.e., cloud storage or a consumer data platform).
Integrated data will generate more accurate, comprehensive insights to drive action and enhance patient experience, care, and business strategy. It will enable more personalized health alerts, amplify marketing ROI, and help clinical care teams make better decisions – all-in-all leading to a more frictionless experience for healthcare organizations and their consumers.
Knowing what to do with the data you have and how to take action to create better experiences is key to delivering frictionless experiences. When used properly, data can feed meaningful engagement and interactions with patients across all channels and touchpoints.
Here are a few ways you can translate data into actionable insights:
- Identify patterns in interaction and care history to uncover new patient care needs
- Empower activation activities (i.e., marketing, next best action, alerts of clinical care team (blood sugar level), app messaging and engagement)
- Leverage AI-powered data insights to enhance clinical decision making and change management.
- Automate communications and processes (i.e., paying bills or scheduling appointments) to reduce patient on-hold times and streamline patient experience navigation through self-service.
Patients have long been worried about data privacy, and as healthcare becomes more digitized due to increased patient engagement with online self-service tools and their supporting data stores, it’s still absolutely critical for providers to adhere to HIPAA and other regulatory requirements. Providers and payers need to know how to protect data, and yet build trust at the same time. Following safe data practices and regulatory guidelines will also help to protect data from cyber-criminals and fraud attacks that continue to afflict businesses and consumers alike.
Throughout 2021, it is expected that we will see continued digitization and consumerization of the patient experience, where more healthcare organizations strive to deliver hyper-personalized, on-demand “smart health” experiences. Ultimately, providers must understand that even though they work in a totally different space, they are still being compared against the experiences provided by brands like Netflix or Amazon. Without data, true personalization cannot be achieved. Using data in the ways identified above will enable your organization to close gaps in care, help control costs, streamline processes, and deliver an all-up more meaningful experience for all involved. In the end, data can help to deliver exceptional, memorable experiences for every consumer, across all channels and interactions.
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 by leveraging innovative data solution systems.