The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated change that was already underway. The healthcare industry needed to overhaul and digitize prior to the pandemic, but when your current user experience focus is on par with your competitors, the sense of urgency just isn’t there. COVID-19 forced exponential digital investment that quickly created a divide between the adopters and the reluctant.
There is still a ways to go. The legacy systems already in place require a ton of expensive maintenance and manual data entry, which increases labor costs while remaining incapable of exchanging data with newer systems. Digitizing various parts of the healthcare ecosystem is valuable and helps in the interim, but it doesn’t solve for the disconnect between various touch points. or example, the acceleration of telemedicine has created convenience for patients but once it’s time to distribute data to various providers’ EHRs, the experience is no longer seamless. Shifting from fragmented care to a connected ecosystem is where investment in UX becomes crucial. Building a strong user experience requires a holistic perspective of your business and an attentiveness to how smoothly your users can move through the patient journey without losing trust in the provider, which ultimately affects the bottom line.
Studies show that in general, patients are more enthusiastic about new and improved technology than people in the field (medical professionals, health care managers, etc.) because it allows them greater freedom when it comes to choosing between health care options*. The patients have already arrived at the destination when it comes to embracing new and improved digital experiences – now the challenge is for providers and healthcare stakeholders to catch up and preferably end up ahead. Many retail health providers have noticed this shift and are continuing to invest heavily in digital. CVS Health, for example, has expanded on their existing machine learning and natural language processing capabilities to automate prescription intake, benefitting administration and revenue cycle management. They are also making strides in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and data analytics. This re-imagination of personal care improves the patient (and provider experience) by:
- Reducing anxiety and mental load when utilizing healthcare products, which fosters trust in the providers who care enough to simplify your life. When patients feel cared for, they stick around.
- Increasing engagement in care; with smoother experiences, patients are more likely to continue to monitor their health, follow treatment plans, and adhere to medication schedules.
- Reducing wait times, streamlining intake processes, and simplifying communication between patients and providers, ultimately relieving both the patient and the providers of manual work sources of burnout.
Since patient expectations have changed, the need to invest in seamless patient experiences is more crucial than ever for the healthcare industry as a whole. As hospitals and providers plan their response to evolving market demands, it’s a necessity to reconsider the long-term strategic choices. Investing in flexible and modern systems is ideal, but even at times where legacy systems are deeply established and tricky to dethrone we can help you find ways to circumvent and come closer to seamless, connected care.
Utilizing the power of strong user experience could have an unbelievable impact on patient loyalty. As convenience and personalization become increasingly expected in our everyday lives, reluctance to meet patients where they are will only mean one thing – they’ll go elsewhere.
*Acceptance and Resistance of New Digital Technologies in Medicine: Qualitative Study
This article was originally published on healthcarebusinesstoday.com.