Concerns over facility-based care and risk of exposure during the pandemic have led to a massive shift in consumerism. This sentiment is further supported in a Harvard Business Review report. In the article, Harvard Medical School executive John Glaser states that due to an increase in competition and rise in consumer expectations, healthcare providers are prioritizing the patient experience more than ever before —especially online.1

This ongoing shift continues to change the perceptions of how individuals access post-acute services and is now shedding more of a light on the importance of a quality patient experience during and after treatment, as noted in our guide, “Consumerism After COVID: How to Incorporate a Changing Market Into Your Post-Acute Strategy.”

According to a recent survey of health systems' digital transformation initiatives by Deloitte-Scottsdale Institute, 92 percent of health systems said they now consider "consumer satisfaction and engagement" a main focus.2

To help ensure hospitals are equipped to meet the opportunity, Glaser compiled a list of five key priorities that have shown to improve the overall patient experience. These include:

  1. Understanding that patients are also consumers.

    In years past, health systems have avoided associating patients as consumers. Glaser says many providers believe the phrase ‘consumer’ undermines their skills and importance and, as a result, the consumer elements of healthcare – such as convenience and cost – take a backseat to technical elements, such as diagnosis and treatment.

    However, the shift to value-based care has pushed more hospitals to see the importance in offering an exceptional patient experience, as it often contributes to more successful outcomes.

  2. The consumer experience should have a balance of in-person and virtual care

    “Although digital capabilities are a ‘necessary’ part of consumer satisfaction—technology alone can't address the needs and expectations of patients, who also demand excellent medical care, attention and convenience,” shared Glaser.

    It is imperative for health systems to balance both the human and technology-based interactions with its patients as "patients judge providers based on the accessibility of care, the technical and human components of care delivery and the management of payment for care.”

  3. Understanding the broad range of patient interactions needed for successful care.

    Now more than ever, having access to various forms of care is crucial to help ensure all patients within a community are served. This can include, but is not limited to, technical support for wearable devices and patient engagement technologies, integrating follow-up calls for patient medicine management and providing regular family visitation policy updates.

  4. Elevating the patient experience through artificial intelligence.

    As artificial intelligence (AI) technology makes its way into various sectors of our everyday lives, consumers are now expecting to see its presence within the healthcare space. Doing so can help streamline clinical and administrative processes, provide personalized recommendations and treatment options and even leverage wearable technologies – a growing trend within the telehealth space.

  5. Utilizing phrasing that is aimed at the entire patient experience – not solely a digital or in-person one.

    Similar to a hospital’s disconnect between “patient” and “consumer”, there are additional phrases used within the healthcare space that can be misconstrued to the patient. For example, Glaser explains that the commonly used phrase "digital front door” has the implication that care must take place in a healthcare facility. He instead suggests that physicians use the phrase "journey to health," because it clearly highlights the goal for patient—and "does not blend the mechanics with the goal.”

To learn how we can help your hospital integrate the above five strategies while maintaining optimal facility operations, visit KindredRehab.com.


References:

  1. (2021, November 15). 5 rules for improving the patient experience, according to Harvard Business Review. Advisory Board. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2021/11/15/patient-experience.
  2. Shudes, C., Shukla, M., Chang, C., Appleby, C., Hendricks, J., & Wurz, J. (2021, November 2). Digital Transformation. Deloitte Insights. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/health-care/digital-transformation-in-healthcare.html
By Kindred