The challenge of scaling care experience programs: Q&A with Piedmont Healthcare's Katie Logan

Katie Logan, vice president of patient experience at Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare, discusses the health system's experience strategy, the roadblocks in the way of executing that strategy and why personalization in healthcare is a key untapped opportunity.

Editor's Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What are your key responsibilities as vice president of experience?

Katie Logan: Lead the development and execution of Piedmont's experience strategy, known as the Piedmont Way. We have identified a set of key programs to help deliver a one-of-a-kind experience, making it hassle-free to navigate the health system. This portfolio of work spans from online search to appointment scheduling and beyond, including mobile app and wayfinding, patient portal offerings, customer relationship management and contact center experiences, as well as referral appointment scheduling between providers.

Q: What is the No. 1 challenge you are facing in your role and how are you tackling it?

KL: Our biggest challenge is moving and scaling the deployment of our programs with speed. The pace at which the digital landscape is evolving with customer expectations and the pace at which our industry moves do not always align.

As we deploy these programs, we are often redefining workflow, roles and responsibilities and enabling [them] with technology. This requires a degree of collaboration across business units and functions that breaks down traditional silos.

Additionally, we typically start small and iterate. For example, with online scheduling we started with a group of engaged providers, proved the value with data and scaled from there fairly quickly.

Q: What are some of the untapped opportunities to improve patient experience today?

KL: Personalized interactions with the consumer preferences in mind. Every service that our patients interact with, whether it is booking a hotel or ordering food, cars or groceries via an app, is convenient and highly personalized. Healthcare can be the same, and as we expand our experience programs along the customer journey, we want to do more to bring that personalization and convenience to our patients, from call center touch points to population health management to care delivery at the bedside.

Additionally, beyond the programmatic enablers, we are a human business. There is more work to be done to start and end every interaction by engaging on a personal level, what we call 'leading with human.'

Q: How do you see your role evolving in the healthcare field over the next five years?

KL: Much like the variation in titles in this space across the industry, each health system has a slightly different approach to the patient experience. We have to truly transform to stay relevant, and that means different things in different markets. My role will continue to evolve to create an experience-based red thread that ties the system together across points of care, blending operations, service and digital transformation through effective change management as we continue to grow and face the nontraditional disruptors.

I believe roles like this will become standard, and navigating the right change will require a strong business case that connects the experience to business benefits and a roadmap that is not only futureproof, but clearly communicates the programs and investments needed to deliver the experience at scale. It's going to be fast-paced, challenging and fun!

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