Patient experience should no longer be ignored in healthcare, here’s why.
When was the last time you had a really good customer experience? Maybe you got a free upgrade to business class when you were going for your vacation. Maybe you didn’t receive what you ordered online and notified the brand about it, and they send the right item to you the next day with a freebie. Today, a majority of companies go out of their way to make sure their customer is satisfied. The differentiating factor is the customer experience that a brand can provide and that is where companies are competing now.
Now, think of the last time you took a doctor’s appointment as a patient. You had to go in, fill up a form, and mostly had to wait for a while to see your doctor. You then went to the examination room and had to repeat all your past history to explain your current problem. This is something almost all of us have had to do wherever we are with the doctors we visit.
A two-way health system that tracks all
From birth to death, the one profession that is most in touch with us is the medical sector. But how much do they really know our story? Health care systems have somehow taken time to catch u
p with patient expectations. But now the industry is waking up to address this demand and also recognize the potential in the patient experience.
Imagine a system where your records at birth are keyed into a system. Your first vaccinations, all recorded. Then you get a flu and your doctor finds out that a vaccination was missed. You get that shot too and this is recorded in the system. A few years down the line you get chicken pox. The doctor discovers that you are allergic to antibiotics with penicillin and this information goes into the system too. Then in your 20s you take a nice holiday to an island and fall sick. You find a doctor to treat you and because you grant him access to your data he knows he can’t give you any drug with penicillin it. This way all of your data is recorded. Any healthcare provider you go to can now see your history, your allergies etc. if you decide to share your data with him/her. Now imagine this system not just storing all these records but also tracking all your experiences.
A two-way system where you can give feedback on all your health care experiences like:
- care given by your doctors;
- care given by the nurses;
- how well did you think the operation and procedures were carried out;
- if they treated you and people around you with respect and dignity;
- if they adhered to your rights as a patient and cared about your feedback;
- did they get your family and friends involved;
- pain management;
- medication management;
- the consistency and coordination of care provided;
- the discharge procedure;
- the wait for your admission into a facility;
- the follow-up after the treatment;
- even, the quality of food.
And this is adapted into the whole health care landscape – from your pediatrician to your dentist to your endocrinologist, not to speak about hospitals, rehabilitation centres, old people homes and emergency services. Wouldn’t this help in so many ways?
Providers gain from such a system
For a doctor or any other provider, too, this would be very helpful, in case of an emergency for example. Or if different providers are succeeding each other. A system like this can:
- help recognize gaps in the patient care between treatments and improve them;
- improve pre- and post- clinical patient engagement in a timely and targeted way;
- create personalized experiences for patients; and
- identify the right messages to communicate with them as part of marketing.
The patient journey has a lot of stages
The patient experience can be a journey achieved with engagement at various touchpoints of the patient. From the time a patient goes online to check different symptoms, to finding a doctor, to getting a treatment. With the help of a health system, there can be engagement at all these different junctures of the patient journey.
This multi-stage journey can be broken down to different phases:
- Awareness: Self-assessment of conditions and symptoms, leading to online research and education, posing questions on social media etc.
- Help: Initial contact with health system via call center, email, mobile, etc. (i.e. who do I contact? , Where can I find it?, How can I ask a proper question?)
- Care: Assessment of health condition in medical facility (doctor’s practice, hospital, etc.)
- Treatment: On-site and follow-up care (medications, physical therapy, etc.)
- Behavioral & Lifestyle change: Changes to reduce readmissions and promote proactive health
- Ongoing care & Proactive Health: Ongoing care management between patient visits, fostering engagement between the patient and provider and enabling the patient to better manage his/her own care
The patient-provider landscape is changing
Providers need to change their thinking from looking at an appointment as a one-time event but rather as part of a patient’s lifetime journey. A strong health system can help change this and make patient engagement even easier. In today’s landscape consumers have all the information they need at their fingertips. They expect a system which gives them the ability to have control of their health whenever and wherever they need.
Patients should also take active control of their health and hold the system accountable.
This is the need of the hour.
Keep watching this space to find out how you can take better control of your health using Meopin.
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