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How to Transform the Patient Experience in the Age of COVID-19

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A recent webinar by Becker’s Hospital Review posed the question, “In the age of consumerism and COVID-19, how can we transform the patient experience through technology?” (1)

As the United States healthcare system continues to grapple with COVID-19, it’s more important than ever that organizations are able to gather and synthesize data in ways that translate into a positive patient experience. In the U.S., it is estimated that the loss of a patient due to dissatisfaction can result in the average loss of over $200,000 in income. (2) And as reimbursements become increasingly tied to quality outcomes, improving the patient experience is critical for healthcare organization’s success.

Organizations seeking to transform the patient experience in the age of COVID-19 should prioritize the following:

1. Provide a Connected Healthcare Experience

Healthcare is complex, and our organizational structures tend to reflect that. Most patients have multiple providers, and their healthcare records are often scattered and stored in siloed IT systems.

Understanding the full patient experience is even more complex given the fact that most individuals see an average of 18.7 doctors during their lifetime. (1)

Often, patients fill out the same information multiple times as they’re bounced around to various departments or providers, and as a result, they can end up feeling frustrated or ignored.

The added complexity of multiple communication channels (face-to-face, phone, websites, patient portals, mobile apps, SMS/texting, chatbots, etc.) makes it quite challenging to harmonize patient interactions. Yet, 92% of patients expect a connected healthcare experience across multiple channels and agree that improving patient experience should be a top priority for healthcare organizations. (1) Regardless of which channel or department the patient interacts with, it’s important for all of the involved parties to have up-to-date information regarding the patient’s care.

2. Integrate Data 

The goal of healthcare information technology is to try to pull siloed data together. Implementing software systems that can connect and seamlessly communicate helps make sense of vast amounts of data. The comprehensiveness of a unified platform is important to note; when data can be connected across different systems, providers now have a complete picture of information that can be leveraged for improving outcomes. (1)

For instance, if a clinician needs to submit an incident report, having the ability to quickly pull in patient demographic data from an integrated EHR system can greatly streamline the incident reporting process and provide faster issue resolution – ultimately improving the patient experience through faster response time.

3. Access Drill-through Dashboards & Analytics 

One healthcare organization surveyed by Becker’s Hospital Review had over 100,000 patient cancellations from March through April 2020. (1) They struggled to address the challenge of rescheduling 100,000 patient appointments all at once. The organization had to think critically about:

  • How to prioritize patients – which appointments should get rescheduled first during the early stages of reopening?
  • How to shift to virtual visits – which appointment types could effectively be done virtually?

Their solution was to aggregate their scheduling systems across various departments, regardless of the source EHR, to create a comprehensive view of how patient appointments were impacted by COVID-19.

After implementing the software solution, they were able to see comprehensive dashboards and analytics that broke the data down by appointment type, department, length of visit, and other criteria. Then, they could clearly see which patient appointments needed to be prioritized first, as well as develop a plan of action for shifting to virtual visits.

4. Bridge Gaps in Care with Technology

Healthcare technology can also support health systems in engaging individuals based on identified care gaps.

Becker’s Hospital Review found that since COVID-19, cancer screenings in the U.S. have decreased by 80%, and pediatric vaccinations have decreased by 60%. (1)

Healthcare IT systems can help address such gaps in care by using automated campaigns to deploy reminders to complete preventive care recommendations. For instance, a clinic could use a platform with an automated email notification system to remind a patient to schedule their vaccination, enroll in a patient portal, or to educate them on virtual care options. These types of tools can drive patient experience and help people take care of their health, even beyond COVID-19.

A Focus on the Patient

For most of healthcare’s existence, the industry has been focused on delivering and maintaining care. However, it’s now becoming crucial for healthcare organizations to expand their focus to targeting, acquiring, engaging and retaining patients. Comprehensive healthcare technology is a driving force in helping organizations adapt to this new era of care coordination and competition.

Performance Health Partner's Solutions

With reduced patient safety events, increased data accessibility and efficiency, and lowered overall costs, the impact of healthcare IT on patient experience is clear. With Performance Health Partner’s solutions, healthcare organizations can access the data they need to increase patient safety and improve outcomes. Learn more at performancehealthus.com/employee-health or schedule a demo here.

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References:

  1. https://go.beckershospitalreview.com/how-to-transform-the-patient-experience-in-the-age-of-consumerism-and-covid-19-a-technology-focused-conversation?utm_campaign=Cerner_Webinar_9.9.2020&utm_source=email&utm_content=code1
  2.  Luecke RW, Rosselli VR, Moss JM. The economic ramifications of “client” dissatisfaction. Group Pract J. 1991:8–18. 

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