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David Claxton, Senior Director, Business Development and Strategic Accounts

This past August, I had a revision to my knee replacement. Doing this once before, although it was over a decade ago, I wasn’t particularly excited about taking time out of my busy schedule to sit through an hour-long in-person class to learn about the procedure and how to prepare for it. I thought, how is it that in 2022 there isn’t a better way to consume this information at the time that is best for me?

Lucky for me, Duke Health had the same thought and, thanks to our integration, began sending a series of videos to patients prior to their procedure so they could consume it on their own timeline. Not only did it give me the flexibility to watch them when it fit my busy schedule, but it also enabled Duke clinicians to see if I was compliant with watching the videos. Meaning they only had to focus on reaching out to those patients who did not watch the education instead of every single patient, saving them a significant amount of time. 

I felt like Duke valued my time. And that’s a big deal that added to my satisfaction with the overall Duke experience.

It is essential for health systems to make this type of content available in a variety of mediums to create better patient experiences, stem costly patient leakage, and protect the ROI of your key programs.

Patients expect more

Healthcare continues to make impressive strides in delivering value-based care, but patient perception is reality. A recent survey showed that 60% of patients reported having a bad experience in 2022, and 33% of these said they would switch providers. Additionally, 76% of patients reported not having a good experience in 2022. Of the 24% who had a good experience, 61% said they would continue to see the same healthcare provider. 

Sobering statistics. So how do health systems provide an excellent patient experience?

First and foremost, patients are consumers. They have more options than ever when it comes to their healthcare and they will not tolerate a poor experience, nor should they. Keep these things in mind when designing a digital strategy:

  • Patients want to feel valued. Provide them with the experience they’ve come to expect from other industries.
  • Patients want an easy and useful healthcare experience, and an effective digital health strategy can help facilitate that. Digitally provide them with the tools needed before, during, and after visits.
  • Your health system already has excellent tools, but they need to connect with patients at the right time and in the right place to realize the tools’ full value and promote good experiences.
  • Don’t lose patients before you even see them. Pre-appointment educational and provider introduction videos are two great ways to engage patients before they walk through your health system’s doors.

Not providing the quality digital experiences that banks, ticket sales, airlines, and major retailers do so well leads to churn. These industries have shaped consumer expectations and your patients expect the same level of service in healthcare. Health systems should learn from these experiences and implement their findings into their ever-evolving digital strategy. 

The actual cost of missing the mark

While patient loyalty is the gold standard most health systems strive for, focusing on reducing patient leakage is essential. First impressions are everything, even digitally. Make sure your “digital handshake” is personalized, easily accessible, elegant, and doesn’t waste patients’ time. Don’t simply ask how the digital tool completes the task more efficiently. How does it add value or give something back to the patient? 

Companies that excel at digital customer experiences, such as Amazon, Walmart, and CVS, are gaining ground in health care. Amazon’s purchase of One Medical and CVS’s recent purchase of Oak Street Health cannot be ignored. These moves show that they are no longer dabbling in healthcare but rather are fully invested and coming for your patients. Learn from their examples and apply what health systems do better – understanding the unique needs of your patients.

A positive patient experience can start with something as simple as sending a patient an introduction video of their provider prior to their first visit. Duke has thousands of these videos that they had already produced for their website, so they got creative and automated the sending of these videos to a patient prior to their first encounter with their provider. This led to a reduction in no-show rates and an increase in patients feeling that they knew their provider before meeting them for the first time in the exam room. Something so simple can have such a positive impact, and there was no added expense because the videos were already created!

Great segmentation = personalization = positive experiences

At 30,000 employees, Baylor, Scott & White (BSWH) has a tailored wellness program for each person. The hospital system sought ways for self-enrollment – connecting them with the right plan without adding significant resources.

To centralize and automate enrollment, BSWH uses its MyBSWH patient portal app to distribute the survey. Xealth connects with MyBSWH, tracking enrollment to each of the six potential wellness pathways.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record…patients want to feel valued, and they want a digital experience they’ve become accustomed to thanks to other industries.

Key takeaways to improve patient experiences

I’d recommend keeping these tips in your digital health strategy toolkit to avoid bad patient experiences: 

  • It doesn’t have to be complicated. You likely already invested in a vast amount of content. You just need the right tool to help deliver to the patient the right content at the right time in an easily consumable way.
  • Make the patient feel valued by making things easier for them and saving them time.
  • Build stronger connections by digitizing and humanizing every connection.
  • Create memorable patient experiences (and reduce clinician burnout) with tools that are easily accessible, convenient, and earn trust.
  • Check out the digital leaders in other industries and learn from them. Healthcare doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel. In fact, patient expectations for digital experience have already been set by these industries. 

Xealth is a leader in patient engagement and experience, digitally engaging over 3.5 million patients. In addition, Xealth specializes in facilitating collaboration among digital health solutions that can help health systems determine which options to recommend for which patient populations and which workflows will yield the best results.

Learn more about how Xealth can help you provide timely, top-notch patient experiences on their watch. Request your demo today! 


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