The New Patient Experience in Healthcare

by | Sep 16, 2021

Ensure Customer Satisfaction With An Improved Patient Journey

Some industries consider market share and market value to be the steadfast key performance indicators (KPIs) for a superior customer experience (CX). But, as we start down a path of recovery and emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers (hospitals, health insurance firms, and the like) are now closely monitoring additional factors.

There is no denying that the pandemic has greatly accelerated the need for an enhanced digital patient experience in healthcare – COVID-19 protocols upended human interactions in the healthcare sector and forced the digital touchpoint virtually overnight, thereby changing the metrics. For this reason, healthcare providers now consider customer satisfaction index (CSI), customer lifetime value (CLV), and digital touchpoint metrics (i.e., the number of web visits or general digital accessibility) as key metrics of this new/emerging digital patient experience.

Doxim can help your healthcare organization leverage digital technology to deliver an exceptional  patient experience.


Safeguarding Customer Satisfaction

According to Keypoint Intelligence’s commissioned survey results, the top KPI for tracking the customer experience was CSI. But COVID has introduced a great many communication barriers to the healthcare industry’s long-established in-person patient experience, so a positive digital patient experience in healthcare is now of paramount importance.

Within this context, it is unsurprising that over a third of healthcare respondents also used digital touchpoint metrics (See Figure 1) to track the patient (customer) experience.

Figure 1: KPIs Used for Tracking the Customer Experience

What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you use to track customer experience? Please select ALL that apply.

  • Customer satisfaction index (CSI): 46% 46% 46%
  • Customer retention/churn rate: 28% 28% 28%
  • Digital touchpoint metrics (e.g., number of web visits or accessibility): 34% 34% 34%
  • Random surveys: 36% 36% 36%
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV, rCLV, or LTV): 40% 40% 40%
  • Social media tracking/monitoring: 20% 20% 20%
  • Market share/value: 20% 20% 20%
  • Marketing spend: 28% 28% 28%
  • Help desk traffic/volume/costs: 20% 20% 20%
  • Customer profitability: 18% 18% 18%
  • Average order value/sales per customer: 16% 16% 16%
  • Print error/delivery fault rate: 20% 20% 20%
  • Net promoter score (NPS): 14% 14% 14%
  • Don’t know: 2% 2% 2%

N = 50 Healthcare respondents

Source: Doxim CCM Vertical Market Study (United States) Keypoint Intelligence 2021

In today’s increasingly complex world, call center hold times are accelerating, healthcare firms are facing staff shortages, and even something as simple as reaching the right support person for billing information can be difficult. As a result, healthcare providers have no choice but to deliver an increasingly digital experience to their patients.

A positive overall experience can be the difference between a satisfied repeat patient who will refer others to your practice or a defector.

Analytics for Monitoring the Patient Journey Map Can Pay Dividends

In striving to improve the patient experience, research indicates that hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices have become familiar with analytics technology and are leveraging it to improve operations.

Even so, it’s important not to be lulled into a false sense of security – you need to be sure that what you are implementing is actually moving the needle in the right direction. The aforementioned research indicates that using analytics technology is the most significant challenge that healthcare enterprises face relative to improving the patient (customer) experience (44%).

Figure 2: Most Significant Challenge to Improving the Customer Experience

Which of the following represents the MOST significant challenge that your organization faces relative to improving customer experience?

  • Using analytics technology to effectively improve experience: 44% 44% 44%
  • Establishing and using benchmarks consistently to improve operations: 13% 13% 13%
  • Lack of technology: 13% 13% 13%
  • Developing an effective strategy: 6% 6% 6%
  • Breaking down functional silos: 6% 6% 6%
  • Managing single, coordinated experience across delivery channels: 6% 6% 6%
  • Legacy systems / lack of proper IT investments: 6% 6% 6%
  • Gaining better control over our customer journeys: 6% 6% 6%
  • Managing customer data across multiple databases: 0% 0% 0%
  • Allocating internal resources or project prioritization: 0% 0% 0%
  • Don’t know: 0% 0% 0%

N = 50 Healthcare respondents that are prioritizing customer experience for their communications strategy

Source: Doxim CCM Vertical Market Study (United States) Keypoint Intelligence 2021

Although patients understand that their options may be limited in terms of digital healthcare communications, it is important to understand the preferred digital channels for engagement.

Reviewing your digital patient journey map and determining how that journey evolves will go a long way in delivering a superior patient experience, while also providing the opportunity to adjust as needed.

Always remember that, as much as the pandemic upended your business services in an extremely short time, the patient experience was also turned on its head virtually overnight and so, it will need to be refined to optimize patient engagement.

In today’s world, the digital experience starts even before a person becomes a patient at a healthcare facility.

For a good example, consider the typical urgent care facility. Currently, two of the most sought-after services include:

  • COVID-19 testing: Cases have spiked due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, as well as the highly contagious delta variant. These concerns are driving more consumers to get tested, and even healthy individuals must occasionally be tested if they need to travel or attend events.
  • Pre-employment drug testing: A great many people are job-hopping during these unprecedented times, and today’s employers will often require their new hires to pass a drug test.

Communications for these procedures could be sent via e-mail with digital forms and/or barcodes. Although a digital native will understand and even welcome these features, they will likely confuse or annoy other consumers.

Matters are further complicated by the fact that all consumers-regardless of their preferences-expect a positive experience across all communication channels.

If a consumer presents a barcode from their smartphone but is ultimately forced to fill out a paper form because the facility is not equipped to accommodate digital transactions, this will prove very frustrating. Bear in mind, this frustration is not completely confined to filling out a form; it’s also the time spent waiting in line and requiring assistance for a process that is supposed to be seamless.

According to the research data, one of the greatest challenges that hospitals and urgent care centers face at this time involves integrating other content systems. Even more telling is the fact that facilities with larger client bases are particularly likely to cite this as a challenge.

These examples provide a journey map for a very specific healthcare service, but the key takeaway is that the entire digital patient experience can be disrupted if each step is not closely monitored—particularly during these uncertain times.

Your next step to improving patient experience in healthcare

Regardless of whether they were ready, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced healthcare providers and their patients to fully embrace the digital world.

Although today’s healthcare providers are using the available technologies (such as analytics and digital communications) to their advantage, Keypoint Intelligence’s research confirms that many firms continue to struggle.

30% of healthcare respondents agree that their CCM platform is not well-suited to implement their digital strategy.

The importance of a well-designed digital strategy and patient journey will only intensify as we move into the future, but the good news is that Doxim’s offerings can help your healthcare firm as it strives to continue optimizing patient engagement in an increasingly digital communications landscape.

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Eve Padula
Senior Consulting Editor for Keypoint Intelligence’s Production Advisory Services with a focus on Business Development Strategies, Customer Communications, and Wide Format.
Her responsibilities include the promotion and distribution of content, handling data analysis for forecasts and research reports, and managing the editing and distribution cycles for many types of deliverables.

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