Revitalize the patient journey by embracing technology: 3 insights

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Health systems face critical challenges that threaten their growth and financial performance.

Streamlining technology tools and implementing no-code solutions can help better manage incoming patient inquiries from multiple sources to ensure they are quickly addressed by the correct service lines.

During an October webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Formstack, Garett Trumpower, RN, principal and solutions consultant at Mercury Healthcare, and Kathryn Loheide, senior vice president of marketing at Formstack, discussed challenges that health systems face, how they can optimize the patient journey and Baptist Health's experience with Formstack.

Three key insights were:

  1. Shifting patient expectations, declining loyalty and growing attrition mean stagnant growth and financial performance for health systems. According to Mr. Trumpower, 63 percent of patients have received care from a non-traditional provider, more than 40 percent of patients are not loyal to a particular health system and 43 percent of hospitals report losing more than 10 percent of their annual revenue. "When we add those things together, we see stagnated growth and financial performance," he said, adding that health systems "need to look at how to differentiate and accelerate growth." A key to doing so is creating long-lasting, loyal relationships between patients and providers.
  2. Ways to improve the patient journey include streamlining and simplifying technology and better leveraging data. By eliminating tech waste and adopting no-code solutions, health systems can consolidate and simplify workflows. "For example, allowing patients to use an online form to pre-register or enter intake information can save time for staff and increase accuracy," Ms. Loheide said. Other applications for digital forms and eSignature solutions include medical consent forms, insurance verification, satisfaction surveys and medication management. "It's also critical to put your data to good use," she said. "Analyze your processes and find opportunities to improve patient experiences and outcomes."
  3. Baptist Health simplified patient outreach and tracked follow-through using Formstack. Since Baptist Health had no centralized staff to manage online consumer communication, it needed a paperless, user-friendly way to collect information from patients and manage this data for its service lines. Formstack helped digitize contact forms and health risk assessments.

Baptist Health started by looking for opportunities to expand its service lines, Mr. Trumpower said. Mercury's healthcare customer relationship management system used predictive analytics to identify patients that were most likely to need weight loss surgery over the next 12 months, as well as those who would respond well to different types of marketing communication.

"Once those people were found, they were invited to take a health risk assessment on Baptist Health's website," he said. "Answers indicated their likelihood of ultimately deciding to pursue weight loss surgery or even openness to content about healthy living."

Information was then sent to different service line administrators who could take action based on identified health risks. These actions included outreach to schedule an appointment to discuss a healthy living plan or surgical options.

"The marketing team would then turn their attention back to the CRM databases to calculate return on investment," Mr. Trumpower said. "We'd look at how those initial marketing measures, messages and channels worked. Baptist Health used Formstack to take a decentralized situation and have it appear to be centralized to the consumer. Ultimately, it benefited the consumer by connecting them to the right provider in the right service line."

At this time of shifting consumer expectations and stagnant growth for health systems, technology can be used to simplify processes, improve the patient experience, and identify opportunities to boost patients' health and build stronger relationships with them.

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