I remember a few years ago first hearing that hospitals and clinics were investing in bringing on board Chief Experience Officers (CXO) to focus solely on the patient experience. It was an incredible validator that the days of patients solely choosing providers for strong medical prowess were gone. Instead, today’s patients are searching for reputable medical practitioners AND an unparalleled experience.
An article from Managed Care that came out in November of 2015 described the movement aptly: “Just as luxury brands like the Four Seasons hotels and Mercedes Benz make a point of pampering their customers, health care providers and insurers are looking to coddle theirs, and they’re hiring CXOs to make sure they do it well.”
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In many ways, the very brands we’ve come to love—think Amazon, Zappos and Uber—are the very brands making our job as healthcare providers increasingly complex. Patients are exhibiting consumer-like behavior, comparing hospitals and clinics against everything from medical aptitude to price to quality of service. And it means we have to do better when it comes to how we leverage technology to deliver the ultimate patient experience.
The Impact of Healthcare Consumerism
With patients expecting consumer-like experiences no matter where they go—from the retail store to their physician’s office—the pressure has never been greater for healthcare IT leaders to provide innovative solutions that put the patient at the center. From the moment the car pulls up to your hospital to the time the patient spends in your room to the time to head back to their home, they are expected the Rolls-Royce treatment.
At the same time, the competition has never been greater. I remember driving down the I-84 Connecticut corridor the other day and being amazed at the billboards every other mile touting the next best hospital in that area.
The Ultimate Patient Experience
Think of the days when a patient would visit his doctor; take his blood pressure; be advised from his doctor to check his blood pressure regularly for the next three weeks; and then come back to the doctor three weeks later with his blood pressure jotted down in a notebook. Today, patients expect to be able to use their tablet at home, login via a client portal and record their blood pressure which is instantly sent to their clinician.
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Or consider this example. A patient arrives at your hospital and from the moment she parks in your garage, she is looking to leverage next-gen technologies to have the most pleasurable patient experience possible. That means everything from an expedited admission process to a smart TV in her room that offers not only Netflix but telemedicine and video home functionality as well. When she is discharged, she is not looking to be handed a bunch of paperwork and told to visit her doctor again in three weeks. Conversely, she expects everything to be sent digitally and to have the ability to videoconference with the physician’s assistant in three days to make sure she is doing OK. She then expects regular video check-ins.
This is the experience your patients crave and those institutions that can master how to integrate technology into their operations to benefit the patient immediately enjoy a massive competitive edge.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series in which I will describe how to deliver the ultimate patient experience. In the meantime, I want to hear from you… how would you define the patient experience? What expectations are you hearing from your patients? You can reach out to me below or at firstname.lastname@example.org.