The patient is always right. Improving the patient experience at every step of their healthcare journey
How do you choose a new restaurant to eat at these days? The odds are that either someone you trust recommends a place they love, or you go onto a site like Yelp and read ratings and reviews. Maybe you even do a combination of the two. And what do you do when you read multiple reviews that say the food is excellent, but the service is awful? Or that people got sick from eating there? You avoid that restaurant and move on to another one that meets your criteria. At least in the US and within the limits that most people's insurance companies set, selecting a healthcare provider works similarly these days.
Patients are consumers, and even within constraints imposed by insurance companies, there's usually the freedom to make some choices. From our primary care doctor to our dentist to where we choose to get our tests and, finally, hospital treatment, we make choices. Rarely is that choice utterly random. We ask friends and family for recommendations. Many online sites, including many insurance company websites, rate doctors, dentists, and hospitals and provide reviews.
Most people have interacted with healthcare systems, even if only on behalf of friends and family. And from scheduling appointments to patient check-in to healthcare delivery and billing, almost everyone has had some kind of less-than-optimal experience at some point along the patient journey. How often has a healthcare provider asked us to fill in a form digitally before an appointment, only to ask for almost identical information when we arrive for the appointment? How often is there a problem with the billing and multiple requests to clarify and correct information never headed? And the worst-case scenarios, when the actual medical treatment goes wrong because of a failure, at least sometimes caused by a breakdown in the processes or systems. According to this report from Johns Hopkins, patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year in the US are due to medical errors. This report states that "most errors represent systemic problems, including poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition to unwarranted variation in physician practice patterns that lack accountability."
Because patients are consumers and have some choice, the quality of their experience through these various interactions on their patient journey should matter; higher patient experience ratings correlate with higher profitability for the healthcare provider. Whether getting personal referrals or reading online reviews and ratings, "Hospitals with good online reputations and positive provider reviews earned $1.2 million more in hospital revenue than bottom tier hospitals." Healthcare providers reap these financial benefits when their patient experience increases loyalty, builds their reputation online and expands the network of potential referrers.
But how do you better understand your patient experience? How do you identify potential pain points and, more importantly, model possible solutions? In our blog, The customer is always right: How understanding the customer journey and experience can drive brand loyalty, we talked about how BusinessOptix's platform can help you understand and transform your customers' experience through discovery, modeling, and simulation. And most of what is true for non-healthcare customers is valid for medical consumers.
- Just as with any business, healthcare providers should build on data, not assumptions - Our process discovery tools enable you to gather current, complete information about how your healthcare organization works today. This information is a prerequisite for creating a seamless, frictionless patient experience.
- Make it real. We’ve provided process mapping tools to build a visual representation of your end-to-end patient journey (across web, mobile, phone, email, and when in your facilities) and then overlay your people, processes, and systems. Only then can you understand each element's role in your patient experience – for good or ill (no pun intended).
- What are your patient journey pain points, and how can you fix them? Our scenario modeling and simulation tools help you identify problem areas, try out potential improvements, and evaluate the difference they make. Because you're working with a digital simulation, you can test changes quickly, cheaply, and without risk to your day-to-day operations. You can also balance patient experience improvements against operational metrics like cost and resourcing to understand the tradeoffs and make informed decisions.
- And just as with any BusinessOptix customer, a Digital Twin of a healthcare organization enables continuous improvement to ensure that the patient journey continues to be optimized, no matter the changing circumstances.
Being a healthcare consumer is often a painful process (sometimes literally). Taking care of our health is something that most people understand is necessary but often view as a time-consuming, usually expensive, typically overall unpleasant experience. Being the healthcare provider who can make the patient experience more efficient, seamless, less frustrating, and even have better health outcomes is the financially sensible thing to do. BusinessOptix Transformation Platform can help you improve at every step of the patient journey.