The healthcare industry is undergoing a massive transformation. As it moves towards delivering a value-based and patient-centred care model, hospitals and health facilities are shifting their focus to deliver a more meaningful patient experience. From changing the leadership approach to deploying advanced systems and technologies that cater to the needs of the patient – no stones are being left unturned to drive quality improvement.
The landscape of patient care has truly changed. In a 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health conducted by Accenture, it was revealed that “healthcare consumers continue to show strong use of digital technology for self-service care – and the numbers are rising each year.”
This startling revelation ushers a new model for care in which a healthcare delivery team is not only composed of doctors and nurses but joined by machines and patients themselves as well. The survey further highlights that “consumers are becoming more accepting of machines — ranging from artificial intelligence (AI), to virtual clinicians and home-based diagnostics — having a significantly greater role in their overall medical care. For example, one in five respondents (19 percent) said they have already used AI-powered healthcare services, and most said they are likely to use AI-enabled clinical services, such as home-based diagnostics (cited by 66 percent of respondents), virtual health assistants (61 percent) and virtual nurses that monitor health conditions, medications and vital signs at home (55 percent).”
This is not to say that medical professionals would be relegated to the side-lines. Rather, their role would evolve and would require further strengthening of skills that are beyond technical in nature. In the past, patients would go for doctors based on how reputed they were – getting cured is all that matters. But today, along with that cure, there is an expectation of care and empathy from every patient. And this is happening a lot faster than you think!
So, what needs to happen to deliver patient-centric care? How can patient-driven strategies be developed to optimise the future of healthcare? What are the key building blocks of a patient-centred framework? Here are 5 steps to build a transformative patient experience framework.
1. Shift towards a value-based care model for a more patient-centric approach.
It’s a common practice in healthcare that patients are charged for service, or what is called a ‘volume-based’ approach. It concerns with the amount of service a patient receives and not necessarily about the type or quality of the service. This is fast changing. Nowadays, a ‘value-based’ approach is becoming more popular. In this model, the focus is on getting value from quality services. This has a positive effect in that health care providers will tend to offer the best care at the lowest possible cost. The net result is a significant improvement in patient satisfaction and quality of care. As patients begin to assume greater financial responsibility for their own healthcare, patient satisfaction is of utmost importance. Otherwise, they will choose to bring their dollars elsewhere.
2. Implement innovative patient journey mapping.
A robust customer journey map is extremely beneficial as it provides an opportunity to identify areas of improvements along the entire patient journey. It also helps in exposing pain points and weak spots that could be critical in the delivery of service. Once established, this would pave the way for a ‘sticky’ digital health application that becomes a part of a user’s everyday life. Consider these key steps in building an effective patient journey map:
Always start with the big picture. Go through the high-level processes and understand the key milestones without going too much into details.
Typically, most engineers and developers would already have an initial understanding of how a user uses an application and inputs data. Adding qualitative research, say, based on observational or contextual inquiry, can help highlight some critical events.
Quantitative research is great as it provides exact measure for statistics and analysis. Questions such as ‘how many?’ and ‘how much?’ could reveal related information that helps improve service delivery.
In the process of collecting information, the amount of data gathered could be overwhelming and potentially, might contain irrelevant details. Take some time to decide what your map needs to highlight and remove stuff that are not necessary. Review and re-map until you reach a desired output.
3. Leverage on Digital Channels to Drive Patient Engagement, Acquisition, and Retention
Everything is going digital – and healthcare is no exception. With the improvement of internet infrastructure and the prevalence of social media, patients are increasingly turning to digital channels for healthcare-related research and feedback. According to a survey conducted by Doctor.com, a New York City-based physician practice management company, 80% have used the internet to make a healthcare-related search while 60% of respondents have chosen one provider over another based on a positive online reputation. Moreover, 63% of respondents said they will choose one provider over another because of a strong online presence. One thing is clear: digital channels (website, social media, blogs, webinars) influence patients’ decisions at all stages of the patient journey. Leveraging on digital channels help drive patient engagement, acquisition and retention.
4. Apply Human-Centred Designs to Improve Patient Engagement
International Standards Organization or ISO defines human-centred design as “an approach to interactive systems development that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, usability knowledge, and techniques.”
While this can sound all technical and scientific, human-centred design has never been more valuable in improving patient engagement. We’ve gone so far from simply getting people to see their doctors, take their prescriptions and attend follow up tests and check-ups. Nowadays, patient engagement means people are getting into healthier behaviours and developing a more proactive relationship with their healthcare provider. Human-centred design, in this context, means gaining an empathetic understanding of patients, including their lifestyle and values. For example, if having an X-Ray means taking a day off from work or taking a long commute from home, those may be deal breakers. Designing a process that takes these factors into consideration helps improve patient engagement and their overall experience.
5. Turn Collected Data into Useful Insights
Data collection is only useful in as far as it meets the healthcare organisation’s primary goals. Data collected from patient surveys and other sources serve a basic purpose, but key stakeholders must move beyond that. According to a report from Chilmark Research, a Boston-based healthcare research firm, “traditional patient experience survey solutions suffer from three clear shortcomings: They are too long, they capture retrospective data, and they use outdated phone- and paper-based methodologies to gather data.”
To upgrade your organization’s patient experience data, you must consider taking sensible steps to turn data collection into useful insights. Consider the following:
DELIVERING VALUE-BASED AND PATIENT-CENTRED CARE IN THE CONNECTED AGE
We are now in a connected age. Access to healthcare information is now widely available and this has drastically influence how modern patients perceive, engage and consume healthcare products and services. With the increase in demand for quality-for-value healthcare services, there is a paradigm shift towards delivering high value care that concentrates on patient experience.
Returning for a 2nd year, join our Patient Experience Asia Summit as we zoom in on 8 focused areas; ”Engaging the Digital Patient”, “Healthcare Digitalisation”, “Operational Excellence”, “Patient Experience Designs”, “Healthcare Personalisation”, “Patient Feedback & Insights”, “MedTech Innovations” and “Patient Advocacy” – designed to offer you a 360 degree perspective as you work on delivering patient-centred care in your organisation.