Healing a fractured patient experience through a streamlined digital front-door strategy

Staffing shortages and workforce turnover continue to pressure healthcare organizations, contributing to a fractured patient experience. This disjointed experience is exacerbated by different parts of a hospital or health system working separately, in silos, with uncoordinated workflows and legacy technologies that don't work together.

During a Becker's Digital Innovation + Patient Experience + Marketing Virtual Event featured session sponsored by NICE, Marcus Garcia, vice president of healthcare for NICE, shared insights into key factors negatively affecting the patient experience and ways that healthcare organizations can improve patient interactions — with benefits for patients and providers. In particular, he focused on the digital front door and the importance of automation and communication technologies to provide a better experience for patients while lightening the load on staff.

Four key takeaways were:

1. Every single interaction is part of the patient experience. The "patient experience" is far more than the few minutes when a patient meets with a clinician. It includes when a patient searches on a website for information, schedules or reschedules an appointment, needs to refill a prescription and has a post-appointment or post-care experience. Every single touchpoint — whether it is digital or in-person — is part of the total patient experience.

This concept of a holistic patient experience is more important than ever for provider organizations to keep in mind, because patients — who are consumers, with high expectations for their digital and in-person experiences — will change providers or submit low satisfaction scores if they are unhappy with their experience.

2. Engaged patients have better outcomes. How engaged a patient is has an impact on their health outcomes. Engaged patients are more likely to become educated and knowledgeable about their care and to reach out in a timely manner when they have an unmet medical need and have confidence the provider will respond. "We know that communication with the provider organization correlates to a patient's adherence to a healthcare plan," Garcia said, which in turn is correlated to health outcomes. The degree of communication is based on a patient's level of engagement.

3. Technology can help patients and providers automate the simplest interactions. Innovations that allow patients to, for example, schedule or change their appointments online are convenient for patients and save time for overworked employees who continue to have to do more with less.

"There are things like scheduling that technology can automate for you that don't require human beings to actually have to get involved, which leads to an ability to create a cadence with your patients," Mr. Garcia said. Organizations that invest in patient experience see greater employee satisfaction, he said.

4. Siloed technology solutions fragment the patient experience. Most healthcare organizations understand the importance of leveraging technology to improve the patient experience and to improve labor productivity. But too often groups look to implement a technology within their silo that doesn't necessarily work with other parts of the organization. This siloed approach forces healthcare IT teams to stitch together various disconnected point solutions. A better approach involves delivering a seamless, holistic patient experience by focusing on a unified digital front door strategy.

To simplify and strengthen patient interaction management, healthcare organizations should consider adopting a CX platform that provides applications for many different patient interaction needs.

NICE CXone offers patient engagement solutions to increase patient access and personalization for better patient engagement. Through integration with the provider’s electronic health record system (EHR) and other existing systems, CXone improves the patient experience by connecting all interactions along the care journey, giving providers a complete picture of the patient experience and where improvements can be made.  Increase patient access and engagement with self-service options for appointment scheduling, bill payments, prescription refills, referral requests, and more. Personalize interactions along the care journey. Optimize and protect staff time by empowering employees with a rich knowledge base and real-time guidance for more meaningful conversations and support.  Simplify administrative systems by integrating patient interaction features seamlessly with existing digital and mobile platforms. Learn more at nice.com/healthcare.

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