Three Ways Clinicians Can Improve The Patient Experience
Corporate darlings such as Apple, Amazon, and Google have built their technology empires largely on the premise of a better customer experience. Their success and that of others in the age of disruption relies on an ability to meet and exceed expectations. As an industry, healthcare has been historically slow to adopt new concepts aimed at improving patient experience, both for good reasons (protecting patient privacy and security) and bad (hesitant to change). Today we’ll focus on three ways in which clinicians can positively improve patient outcomes.
Creating a more efficient process.
We’ll start with the most obvious – leveraging technology to create more efficacy in the patient process. When executed properly, creating greater efficiencies can lead to both a better patient outcome, as well as cost savings for the practice owner. Much of the early impact of technology began in this area – we all remember the first time we were asked to submit patient forms online prior to a visit or received test results through an online interface. The next generation of technology-driven efficiency is likely to come in the form of artificial intelligence (AI), where bots already can explore possible diagnoses, and serve as a more sophisticated information gathering source for the provider. The sweet spot most certainly will be found at the intersection of one-to-one interaction and technology, where doctors can focus their time with patients on having the most impact.
Building patient personas.
More than just a marketing buzzword, personas (and their cohorts, the journey map) can be instrumental in developing a deeper understanding of a practice’s patient base. By definition, personas serve as a composite of actual patients using demographic and other relevant data points, and when used effectively, can render operational and process decisions easier to make. They can also help cut through the noise to separate trends from actual customer desires. For example, a practice with an older clientele may need to move more cautiously with digital experiences than an OB/GYN catering to a younger patient base. In addition to helping practitioners build an experience to meet patient needs, personas can also help shape the culture of a medical practice, helping all members of the team see the organization through the lens of the patient.
Understanding analytics and data.
Digital transformation has led to an enormous amount of data available at our fingertips. In healthcare, the focus has historically been on data points that are more practice-centric within an industry hesitant to change. Being able to more uniformly track all steps of a patient’s journey, from research and information gathering through post-treatment, is a game-changer that more healthcare providers need to take advantage of. Clearly, these changes are already resonating at the regulatory level. At AcademyHealth’s 2018 Health Datapalooza held on April 2018, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD commented that the FDA’s regulatory approach, “will focus on the ways in which real-world data flows. This includes structured and unstructured data from pathology slides, electronic medical records, wearable devices, and insurance claims data.”