Why Patient Experience Needs To Be More Than A Catchphrase


The following is a guest blog post by Yolanda Hernandez, Senior Marketing Strategist at StudioNorth.

How are Amazon and Yelp conditioning consumers to expect the same experience when they become patients?

People don’t stop acting like customers when they need medical treatment. They expect the same comfort, speed, accuracy and satisfaction they get from their favorite stores and online vendors.

But healthcare isn’t a new pair of shoes. The stakes are much higher. Patients may want the same experience as retail customers, but their expectations for security, privacy and outcomes are much higher.

That’s why patient experience (PX) is more than just a catchphrase—it’s the critical factor healthcare marketers must embrace to succeed.

Patient Expectations Forged by Customer Experience

How demanding will our patients/customers become? Today, even in a strange city, you can easily find the exact restaurant you want based on price, style and peer reviews. Why can’t patients expect the same when they’re looking for healthcare?

Most healthcare providers offer no great navigation tools, no price transparency, and no tools to answer the question, “Where do I go for what?”

The difference between what patients wish they could have and what they expect to get could narrow in the next few years. Consider these comparisons patients may soon make between the retail and the healthcare consumer experiences:

Retail Consumer Expectations Potential Patient Expectations
Easy comparison shopping Easy healthcare provider comparison
Easily accessible peer reviews Easily accessible patient reviews
Easy store website navigation Easy provider website navigation
Complete product selection Complete selection of services and specialties
Online purchases Online appointments, scheduling and test results
Instant access to billing data and automatic payments EHR and on-line billing
Interfaces that predict next purchases Predictive analytics
Cost transparency and predictability Insurance and co-pay transparency and predictability
Credit card chip readers Inpatient barcode wrist bands

For some patients, a great experience is being able to access and transfer health records online, schedule appointments with doctors quickly and easily, or check in to the hospital as if they’re checking in to a hotel with concierge services.

For others, it may involve real-time biofeedback data helping them regulate medications, for improved quality of life with fewer doctor’s visits.

For healthcare providers, all of the above will mean giant upgrades in how they gather, store, process and share data. Superior PX will require superior IT.

Winning PX Requires a 360-Degree View

When consumers shop for health services like they do for other products and services, they’ll grow to expect a high level of personalization from the companies they solicit. Providers need to have a 360-degree view of all their healthcare touchpoints and needs to win, serve, and retain them.

Forrester: Vendor Landscape: Healthcare Analytics, Q1 2017.

Yet most healthcare providers are focused on predictable outcomes, not on patient experience. That’s understandable—without predictable outcomes, it’s hard to have a product to sell—but patients aren’t interested in predictable outcomes. They’re interested in individual outcomes that affect themselves and their families.

This is where healthcare IT marketers have an opportunity to create PX breakthroughs.

The Needle a Patient Needs

Take wearables. Consumers already trust wearable fitness devices, and many healthcare organizations have made mobile monitoring a useful reality. From providing IoT data for medical supplies to monitoring how often homecare patients are taking their meds, the use cases are nearly endless.

Will patients figure all this data out before providers do?  They may have to—because there’s still a big gap within many providers’ systems.

Doctors already feel like they have too much data to deal with, and without a data strategy, most healthcare organizations simply can’t process all of their data. Finding value in all that data is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack—but if that’s the needle a patient needs, delivering it is a huge PX victory.

Healthcare IT marketers who can translate haystacks of data into needles of PX insight will dominate the new landscape of consumer-based patient expectations.

About StudioNorth
Whether it’s influencing a purchase decision, supporting your cause or building a brand people care about, StudioNorth has the depth of experience—and the resources—to make it happen.

Our campaigns integrate a strategic mix that includes traditional print advertising and marketing collateral, video production, integrated social media campaigns, digital advertising strategies, and advanced website/app development to help our clients grow and realize their goals.

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