The Patient Experience: It’s Not Just “Customer Experience” for Healthcare
In many ways, delivering a high-quality patient experience is similar to providing a great customer experience in any field. Except there’s one critical difference: when someone is a patient, they are likely coming to you in a moment of vulnerability, anxiety, and pain. This means all your communication platforms have to be utterly reliable. Patients need to be able to reach you. Clinicians and support personnel need to have reliable access to all the information and systems they require so they can focus their attention on those patients. And, of course, you need to protect highly sensitive medical information as zealously as you care for your patients’ physical and mental health.
There are also competitive factors. In an increasingly crowded healthcare environment, delivering a superior experience could keep patients coming to your facility, rather than choosing another several blocks or miles away, or even new, non-traditional sources for their healthcare needs.
Technology to Provide a Great Patient Experience
When you think of digital transformation in healthcare, EHR is what comes to mind. But the digitization of health records is only one aspect of technology-driven healthcare. In fact, there’s a whole range of tech that can significantly improve the patient experience.
If there were a Maslow-like hierarchy of healthcare technology, communication systems would be at the wide base. The importance of human-to-human communications cannot be underestimated. Your phone systems—whether it’s into a clinic or a call center—have to be utterly reliable, enabling patients and family members to reach the right person and have a clear conversation.
Technology also provides an opportunity for digital transformation to change workflows and interactions to improve the patient experience. This could be as simple as automated appointment reminders and digital forms that streamline the intake process (and eliminate the need to write the same information over and over on different pieces of paper). It could include mobile devices that travel with the clinician or patient to provide on-the-spot access to data and systems. Or it could be more complex automation of workflows to minimize the opportunity for errors and delays, optimize staffing, improve ordering, enable smarter billing, and more—all of which give clinicians more time with patients and better information to improve quality of care. This requires your IT infrastructure to support the technology integration, keep those systems up and running, and provide reliable WiFi connectivity for all mobile devices.
IoT is also transforming the patient experience. Remote health and monitoring is just one example where technology can improve the patient experience, for example, by reducing the need to come into a clinic. But there are many other uses cases as well, such as predictive monitoring of medical equipment to prevent failures that can delay a patient’s diagnosis or treatment, or tracking patients or equipment so nothing gets lost or falls through the cracks. These applications can transmit massive volumes of data, so you must ensure your IT infrastructure can support the bandwidth needs.
Keeping Your Technology Infrastructure Healthy
Your healthcare IT environment has to support all of your technological needs—everything has to simply work. This means having sufficient capacity, bandwidth, and connectivity. Then you need an appropriate backup plan with redundancy to avoid downtime. You also need a disaster recovery plan, because when the unthinkable happens, health services may be needed more than ever. Security is paramount, so that needs to be built in throughout the entire infrastructure. And, you need to ensure and demonstrate compliance with HIPAA and any other applicable regulations.
BCM One, Your Healthcare IT Infrastructure Primary Care Provider
When you work with BCM One, you get a trusted partner who will collaborate with you to ensure your entire IT infrastructure is built to support the patient experience you want to provide, monitor and manage it on an ongoing basis, and keep it secure and HIPAA-compliant. Contact us to learn more.