It is in the most difficult times in a person's life that an organization has the opportunity to step up and make a difference. This is especially true in health care. A consistent patient experience is the key to providing a premium care experience and building loyalty. When we don't do this, customers are often inconvenienced, or at worst, receive costly, inappropriate care.
Today's health system must focus more on the individual customer experience than operational efficiency. It's a change in mindset that makes the difference between satisfied customers and unhappy customers getting inferior care.
Be There in Times of Need
Patients often see their doctors and health care providers during times of need, such as during sickness or a health scare. During these extreme times, when a patient is in a stressful situation, organizations should go out of their way to make the experience as seamless and convenient as possible. However that’s often not the case in health care. More often than not, patients are stuck on hold trying to make an appointment, have to wait weeks to be seen and then are rushed through the appointment and immediately hit with the bill.
Understanding difficult times and meeting patient pain points can make a big difference in the overall experience.
One example is Cleveland Clinic who sees more than five million patients a year but offers same-day appointments to everyone. Instead of waiting in uncertainty to see a doctor or get a diagnosis, the clinic fills one million same-day appointments a year. It is regularly recognized for its strong customer experience for realizing that health care often can’t wait.
During times of need, patients want to be understood emotionally and feel that they are in the right hands with their health care team. Providers and organizations that can fill the emotional need with the right treatment and support can create loyal patients who have great experiences.
Oftentimes, a health crisis is most difficult on the family members of the patient. Johns Hopkins Medicine makes an effort to communicate regularly with family members through bedside communication boards and regular updates. Knowing that the family is taken care of can be a big relief to the patient.
Provide Personalized Customer Experiences
A recent survey found that 25% of patients don’t have a strong sense that their provider cares about them as an individual. One in five patients said they aren’t convinced their provider is focused on improving their health. That’s troubling when you think that a healthcare provider often holds a patient’s health in their hands. Patients want to know that they are understood and thought of as a person. Each patient isn’t just a number or a chart, but a real person with thoughts and needs.
Organizations that have mastered personalized experiences often take advantage of big data. Automated systems can comb through huge amounts of data to provide the best patient experience. Health care providers can pull from a patient’s medical history, demographics, preferences and feedback from previous appointments to have the complete picture of who the person is and what they need.
Health care is incredibly personal. Treatment that works for one person might not work for someone else with the same condition. Everyone’s lifestyle and medical history is different, and providers need to provide a tailored customer experience to each person. We need to get rid of the one-size-fits-all mindset and instead use data and insights for personalized recommendations.
Nemours Children’s Hospital uses in-person interactions and digital technology for personalized care. The hospital has welcome stations in each area to get to know each patient and their family and their individual needs. The hospital also uses apps for various conditions, such as asthma, to track patient information and provide real-time personalized care recommendations. The result is a patient-first hospital where each patient and their family feels cared for and understood personally.
Customer experience can make or break the health care experience. Too many clinics and organizations are more focused on seeing as many people as possible than meeting the needs of each individual. By being there in times of need and offering tailored experiences, health care providers can create satisfied, loyal patients.
Want to hear more about how to create a consistent and personalized patient experience from Blake Morgan, Customer Experience Futurist & Author of "More is More"? Join us at ATLAS 2018 to hear her closing keynote More is More When it Comes to the Patient Experience.