by Larry Mead, Kate Kompelien and Kurt Schroeder
Understanding the demands of your patients is simply the first step in creating a holistic approach to meeting their needs. To create a truly effective patient experience, it is important to explore all available technologies, best practices and strategies across the healthcare industry and beyond. Only by utilizing the wide range of technology and strategy available can you support patients to their expectations.
Patient Experience Technologies
Medical providers have a wide range of technologies from which to choose when attempting to create an effective patient experience. Today’s medical provider can build a patient experience on:
- Contact center platforms: The modern contact center involves a great deal more than telephony, including chat capabilities, behavioral analytics and interactive voice response. Arming your employees with the technology and support they need to serve patients is vital to the quality of each and every interaction. It is important to choose a platform that meets your needs and is flexible enough to evolve with your business.
- Customer Relationship Management platforms: Obtaining, managing and utilizing patient data is key to their overall experience with your organization. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, make the task of compiling and using patient data much more manageable. Tracking patient medical history, past communications and their preferences streamlines future interactions and provides a more enjoyable experience.
- Custom access portals: The modern patient expects the ability to access personalized information via a customized web portal on your website. Offering patients the opportunity to make or change appointments, view test results or contact a provider via a web portal encourages interactions and promotes self-service. As your access portal becomes more robust, patients are offered a deeper level of engagement – the more tasks a patient can accomplish on their own, the less strain is placed on your contact center.
- Mobile applications: The creation of custom mobile applications has become an affordable and manageable prospect for many medical providers. Arming patients with mobile access to your practice offers yet another opportunity for engagement. By creating a robust mobile app, you can arm your patients and prospective patients with the information they need to make treatment decisions, schedule appointments, track test results and much more.
By selecting one or a combination of these technologies, medical providers may be able to create an experience that attracts and retains loyal patients.
Patient Experience Best Practices
Technology is but one part of the overall patient experience. In order to truly serve patients, medical providers should understand the industry’s best practices, including:
- Planning carefully: Creating and maintaining effective patient experience requires a good deal of foresight and planning. Without planning, your efforts may be wasted, or the results of your investments may be less than optimal. Create a roadmap for your patient experience efforts, considering both short and long term goals.
- Measuring results: There are a number of data points to consider when measuring the effectiveness of your patient experience efforts. Patient satisfaction, employee morale, call times and more should all be carefully tracked and compared to gauge the impact of new strategies and plan for future efforts.
- Integrating technologies: Combining the power and functionality of multiple patient experience platforms increases their overall effectiveness exponentially. For example, integrating your contact center and CRM platforms streamlines agent access to customer data, thereby improving their ability to serve patients during every interaction. The more integration you can create between your experience technology platforms, the better they will work to serve you and your patients.
- Remaining current: Patient demands are continually evolving. So too are the technologies and best practices designed to meet these demands. In order to maintain an effective experience, you must commit to evolving with your patients, the industry and the technologies available to you.
- Being innovative: When even a minute improvement in your patient experience can attract customers, it is important to explore every available option for development. Always remain open to new and changing opportunities, and keep an open mind as to which technologies and best practices are right for your organization and your patients.
By taking steps to implement these best practices, the modern medical provider is positioned to offer the most effective patient experience.
Overcoming the many challenges of creating an effective experience for customers or patients can be difficult in even the best of situations. When dealing with the added pressures of the healthcare field, creating an experience that attracts and retains patients can seem impossible. Fortunately, through a mix of innovative technologies and proven best practices, medical providers can create a comprehensive patient experience that meets the stringent demands of the modern consumer.