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Health care and life sciences (HCLS) organizations are under tremendous pressure to embrace the consumer-centric strategies rapidly being adopted across industries such as retail, entertainment, travel and banking. Today’s consumers expect the same level of superior experiences from their health care providers that they get from Amazon, Netflix, Nordstrom and other highly consumer-centric organizations.
Customers expect more from service providers than ever.
As described in our earlier blogs, a HCLS organization must first have the right strategy and processes in place to properly transition into a patient-centric business. Technology is the third critical element in this journey. In fact, technological advancements have increased consumer demand for exceptional overall experiences. Mobile devices, apps, Wi-Fi, the cloud, streaming and other digital technologies have combined to deliver personalized services faster than ever. This has made consumers less tolerant of poor or slow service, and far more willing to abandon underperforming providers. Health care providers are no longer immune to the evolving consumer expectations of the digital era.
Fortunately, digital technologies can be leveraged by HCLS organizations to enable patient centricity in a way that transforms the patient experience, produces better health outcomes and boosts both customer loyalty and the bottom line.
Data Fuels Customer Insights
Improving the patient experience, however, takes more than deploying technology; it also requires data-driven insights. Information is the fuel that powers an organization’s customer-centric strategy. Customer data, device data, systems data, inventory data and more provide a 360-degree view that forms the bedrock of sound, customer-centric decision-making and process optimization.
Take a look outside HCLS to consumer tech juggernaut Apple. The company’s data collection and analysis from customer devices and apps enables them to improve products and services based on how owners of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Apple Watches are actually using their devices.
Similarly, the ability to integrate more data and mine deeper insights is crucial to understanding a patient’s health journey and designing exceptional experiences. By applying artificial intelligence (AI) to this wealth of data, HCLS organizations can deepen their understanding of the patient experience and expectations. Using this knowledge, they can improve app interfaces and features, streamline processes and provide individualized, customized experiences at each point along the patient journey.
Integration Is Key
Yet all the digital data and technologies in the world will do little to improve the patient experience if they don’t work in concert. Fully integrated digital platforms that support the entire patient journey (and beyond) are essential to delivering a superior experience.
Effective health care digital platforms are rooted to a user-friendly design that makes it easy for both patients and health care professionals to communicate, to initiate actions, and to access and share data across systems. These platforms and management tools, including automation, allow HCLS organizations to leverage agile capabilities across the organization. Clinicians and support staff can communicate with colleagues and patients remotely and in real time, teams can respond to needs and collaborate faster on new products and services, and organizations can more quickly take advantage of opportunities.
One health care system that effectively utilizes data and digital technologies to improve the patient experience is Illinois-based OSF HealthCare, which integrates and analyzes internal and external clinical, social, financial and operational data to better understand their patients and the organization. This data is updated daily, allowing OSF to implement new processes and track bed availability in real time.
The result? OSF can improve efficiency and capacity management, reduce readmissions by providing clinicians a readmission risk score for their patients each morning, and gain insights into the types of patients coming into the system, enabling faster decision-making focused on the needs of patients.
Act Boldly, With a Plan
A word of caution: Organizations that aggressively deploy technology can fall prey to “shiny object syndrome.” That’s when decision-makers are mesmerized by the latest feature, software or platform, regardless of whether they serve the goal of furnishing a superior customer experience. Health care organizations simply can’t afford such costly and counter-productive distractions.
To achieve the end goal of patient centricity, HCLS organizations must integrate digital platforms and tools in a way that supports people and processes to deliver on customer experience goals. Technology should function as your partner in this effort by facilitating data collection, connecting customer knowledge, enabling cross-functional collaboration and empowering responsiveness and innovation. It can also play an essential role in measuring performance and operationalizing feedback to ensure customer-centric strategies stay on track and can be continually adapted to deliver new value.
By defining the ideal customer experience and organizing teams, processes and technology to consistently deliver on the vision, health organizations can successfully lead in today’s patient-driven market.