Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots: Drive Patient Experience with Digitalization

Today technology has left no stone unturned in facilitating the needs of every individual. And, so is for the healthcare sector. In a few years, the concept of getting medical help exclusively at a doctor’s place will seem strikingly old-fashioned.

Today, consumers of care are looking for an excellent patient experience at hospitals. They demand easy access to care, affordable services, and high-quality treatment. But unfortunately, they face issues of medical negligence, lack of transparency, and unsystematic approach throughout their healthcare journey. These factors have a direct impact on patient experience and patient satisfaction in hospitals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consumers of care are looking for an excellent patient experience at hospitals
  • Solutions like telemedicine are significantly improving efficiency, efficacy, and health outcomes
  • Online appointment scheduling enables patients to self-manage their appointments and check the status in minimum time without any assistance
  • Healthcare apps empower patients to track their medical conditions and also boost patient engagement 
  • Digital payment platforms simplify patients’ medical payments and make the billing process hassle-free for hospitals 
  • Health libraries drive patient engagement and improve the patient experience while educating them
  • Digital helplines help patients access healthcare with ease 
  • A virtual tour of the hospital attracts new patients and helps improve the hospital’s brand image

Hence, to overcome these problems, hospitals are greatly deploying digitalization in healthcare. In addition, care delivery innovations like telemedicine are drastically improving, efficiency, efficacy, and health outcomes. So, in the near future, the majority of patient experiences will be delivered through online interactions. 

Plus, during the COVID-19 emergency, virtual services have been used extensively in care delivery.

As per a recent report, the telemedicine market size in India has seen a gradual rise since 2010 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31% from 2020 to 2025.

In this article, we’ll explore how adding digitalization into a patient’s healthcare journey may help hospitals get closer to delivering a smooth patient experience.

Digital Transformation: The Way to Improve Patient Experience

Digital health has now become the new face of healthcare, offering a wide range of benefits for both doctors and patients. Digital healthcare would indeed drive the patient experience while improving the brand image.

For example, the telemedicine concept is relatively new to some patients and providers. Yet, this advancement in technology has rapidly increased its usability due to its convenience, cost-effectiveness, and smart features.

The Need For Keeping Digital Patient Experience Consistent With The Physical Experience

Despite its many advantages, telemedicine still has certain technical and practical limitations, such as limited digital literacy, inadequate internet access, and a lack of regionally relevant content, to name a few. So, it’s all about maintaining a careful balance between physical and digital patient experiences.

This is because a digital patient experience is the online equivalent of all the efforts you make in providing a physical experience. A digital patient experience is interconnected to everything that physical patient experience includes. This covers all the interactions that patients have with their healthcare system. Hence, improvement of the physical patient experience should also be at the top of mind for every hospital around the world.

8 Digital Aspects of Patient Experience

Here are 8 digital aspects of patient experience that can help hospitals keep their patients happy. 

1. Online Appointment Scheduling

Hospitals manage hundreds of patient appointments every day. This needs a considerable amount of staff time, which is often precious. Furthermore, the increased patient waiting time throughout this process might dramatically affect the patient experience.

According to research by Accenture, 77% of patients believe that self-scheduling appointments are important. Another study states that 80% of patients prefer a physician who offers patient self-scheduling services.

In short, we can say that online appointment scheduling can be a game-changer. This is due to the fact that it helps hospitals to increase operational efficiency while also attracting new patients. Not just that, it can also help improve the patient experience.

The reason being it enables patients to self-manage their appointments and check the status in minimum time without any assistance. Hence, it is necessary to implement self-scheduling solutions to reduce patient no-shows and increase the patient satisfaction score.

 

2. Telemedicine 

Telemedicine is emerging as a sustainable and efficient solution for providing personalized care. It makes use of digital and communication technologies to deliver services to patients.

This allows exchanging of information between patients and doctors through video calls, audio calls, or text. The platform includes remote patient admissions, automated reminders, appointment scheduling, and contact-less consultation.

 

3. Mobile-Friendly Patient Experiences

Over the last decade, smartphone ownership has been rapidly increasing around the world. So, mobile engagement is an excellent way to engage with your patients as it enhances the interaction between patients and physicians.

Mobile phones have transformed many aspects of health outcomes. Plus, healthcare apps are handy and allow patients to track their medical conditions.

As per an Accenture report, 66% of large hospitals in the US offer a mobile healthcare app to their patients. And, nearly 54% of patients prefer using healthcare apps.

What features do patients look for in a healthcare App?

Patients generally expect three basic features in a healthcare app that seamlessly include everything they need. Those are

  • Electronic Health Record (EHR): This feature allows patients to access their health reports and creates transparency between doctor and patient.
  • Appointment booking: Enables patients to book their appointments themselves
  • Medical Prescriptions: Patients can review and download their medical prescriptions using the app.

But sadly, only 11% of hospital apps offer one of the above functionalities and only 2% of patients are actively engaged in medical apps. Hence, it is essential to include all the features and provide an amazing user-friendly digital patient experience.

 

4. Contactless Online Payment

InstaMed’s Trends in Healthcare Payments 11th Annual Report states, 82% of consumers prefer making medical payments digitally. And more than half of consumers would consider switching providers for a better payment experience.

Today’s patients demand simple, digital modes to manage their healthcare. But sadly, this is still missing in the overall patient experience.

Providing access to digital payment platforms, a patient can easily access their medical bills and make payments easily. Moreover, by simplifying patient medical payments, care providers can see a positive difference in their billing process and patient satisfaction levels.

 

5. Internal Navigation

Navigation systems help patients navigate their way through facility-interior maps with directions to their destination. This helps the patient find their way around your hospital using maps without any hassle. This tech-driven wayfinding software adds to a positive patient experience and makes their visit more enjoyable.

While deploying technology solutions for internal navigation is ideal, one way to improve navigation is through investing in technology like hospital kiosks. Kiosks reduce the workload of the front office and administrative staff, who can be utilized towards guiding patients.

 

6. Digital Helpline

A 24*7 digital helpline is for patients who require medical attention and are unable to access care. This helpline service assists the patients through appropriate steps and provides electronic prescriptions to patients when required.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, this service provided patients with infection prevention measures and ensured the proper follow-up of all the patients.

 

7. Health Library

Having health libraries in your hospital waiting rooms can be an amazing way to enhance your patient experience. Giving access to the reading materials keeps the patients and their family members engaged while they wait during the appointments.

Hospitals equipped with their libraries, medical books, and guides can drive patient engagement while educating them. This idea can boost patient satisfaction scores and overall health outcomes.

 

8. A Virtual Tour of the Hospital

To build a long-term virtual patient experience, it is good to start with an astonishing virtual tour of your hospital. An appealing hospital tour with 360-degree live streaming, voice-over and animation can boost patient engagement and drive new patients. 

Moreover, today 67% of customers want more businesses to offer virtual tours. And, 50% of adults use them in their research and decision-making process. 

Thus, it is evident that a virtual tour of your hospital can help build patient loyalty and improve your brand image.

 

Final Thoughts

Digitalization is completely changing the way healthcare services are delivered. So today, people have one less thing to worry about in this otherwise hectic life. As hospitals continue to improve patient experience, the implementation of the ideas included above represents a clear opportunity to meet patients’ growing expectations.

7 Mins Read

Written By |


Majid Kazi