Healthcare

How to embrace digital transformation in healthcare

Keep up with the digital wave transforming healthcare while ensuring you continue to deliver patient-centric care.

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In the wake of the digital revolution, the healthcare industry is beginning to embrace technology and transforming the way patient care and support is delivered. The shift to digital platforms has undoubtedly improved accessibility and convenience for patients. However, as healthcare providers race to keep up with the digital wave, concerns have emerged regarding the potential erosion of patient-centric care.

From crisis response to patient-focused approach

During the peak of the pandemic, healthcare providers quickly pivoted to telehealth services to address immediate digital needs. This shift not only demonstrated the effectiveness of virtual care but also paved the way for broader acceptance of digital healthcare management. Deloitte’s recent digital health integration research shows that 75% of health system leaders surveyed said their organizations are rethinking business models by shifting away from a treatment-based approach to focus on maintaining patients’ health and well-being through digital technologies and patient support systems.

In the evolving landscape of healthcare, providers must not overlook the crucial role that customer support tools and investments play in ensuring a seamless and patient-centric experience. By leveraging these resources effectively, providers can enhance patient support, improve communication, and elevate the holistic experience they deliver.

The existing challenges are exacerbated by fragmented care coordination. To enhance customer service, healthcare providers should prioritize accessibility, effective communication, patient engagement, transparent billing processes, and comprehensive care coordination.

Mark Montgomery

Head of Global Operations, Ubiquity

Facing an array of challenges

With the rapid shift to digital healthcare as a main platform, patients still face challenges in accessing care, scheduling appointments, and communicating with healthcare providers. Communication issues, such as the use of complex medical jargon and rushed consultations, leave patients feeling confused and unheard. Additionally, inadequate patient engagement, billing and insurance complexities, and a lack of emphasis on the overall customer experience contribute to dissatisfaction.

The existing challenges are exacerbated by fragmented care coordination. To enhance customer service, healthcare providers should prioritize accessibility, effective communication, patient engagement, transparent billing processes, and comprehensive care coordination.

Several significant factors contribute to these challenges:

Decreased human connection: The rise of digital interactions has inadvertently diminished the human connection between healthcare providers and patients. Studies show that patients value empathy, compassion, and personal attention, which can be compromised when most interactions occur through digital channels.

Communication gaps: Digital platforms often fall short in replicating the nuanced communication offered by face-to-face interactions. This can result in misunderstandings, reduced patient satisfaction, and compromised healthcare outcomes. Patient concerns may be misinterpreted, explanations may be inadequate, and limited opportunities for patients to ask questions can arise.

Fragmented healthcare experiences: Over-reliance on digital technologies leads to fragmented healthcare experiences. Throughout their care journey, patients encounter various digital touchpoints such as online scheduling, telemedicine visits, and remote monitoring apps. While these innovations offer convenience individually, the lack of integration among these platforms can result in disjointed experiences, leading to confusion and frustration.

Information overload: Digital platforms generate an overwhelming amount of health information readily available to patients. While patient education is crucial, excessive information can confuse patients and hinder their decision-making process. Moreover, patients may come across inaccurate or unreliable information, potentially exacerbating their concerns or leading to self-diagnosis.

Put patients first

In the era of digital healthcare, customer service plays a crucial role in ensuring patient satisfaction. Patients have high expectations for timely and personalized support throughout their healthcare journey. Using technology, healthcare providers can offer efficient and responsive customer service. This includes addressing inquiries and concerns through various channels like phone, chat, and email. There are several important opportunities for healthcare providers to enhance patient support, such as:

Creating seamless omnichannel experiences: Providers should prioritize the development of integrated digital platforms that streamline the patient journey, with patient support and service at the forefront. By harmonizing different touchpoints such as telemedicine, online scheduling, and patient portals, healthcare organizations can ensure smooth transitions between channels to improve the overall patient experience. By engaging a BPO partner, providers have an opportunity to gain a comprehensive view of patient data and needs more seamlessly. This facilitates better care coordination and enabling providers to deliver personalized, patient-centric services and support networks.

Placing importance on human interaction in digital experiences: While technology is instrumental in enhancing efficiency, healthcare organizations must find ways to incorporate a human touch into digital interactions. The implementation of empathetic chatbots (yes, that is a thing), video consultations with healthcare professionals, and personalized follow-up communications can bridge the gap between automation and authentic patient experiences. These initiatives emphasize the significance of patient-centricity and help build trust in the digital realm. Having a partner in customer support that can rapidly ramp up support during spikes or critical times, all while understanding the business needs and patient demands is crucial to the long-term success of patient support programs.

Leveraging data for personalization and proactive care: By harnessing the power of data analytics, healthcare providers can customize services to meet individual patients’ needs, providing personalized care on a larger scale. According to the Harvard Business Review, the healthcare sector has more customer information than any other industry. By utilizing patient data such as medical history, preferences, and social determinants of health, providers can anticipate patient needs, identify potential health risks, and offer proactive interventions. This data-driven approach empowers patients and ensures their care remains at the forefront of healthcare delivery.

Patient customer service should proactively engage patients by providing educational resources, preventive care reminders, and personalized wellness programs. What’s more, by utilizing data analytics, healthcare providers can gain valuable insights into individual members’ needs and preferences, enabling proactive and personalized user engagement. This approach not only strengthens the patient relationship but also contributes to better health outcomes.

In an increasingly competitive healthcare landscape, health systems must prioritize customer service elements to position themselves for growth. Being data-driven is crucial, but it is equally important for health systems to align themselves with measures that cater specifically to healthcare users. By focusing on patient-centric information, health systems can effectively compete for patients’ share of care.

This article originally appeared in AnswerStat.

Mark Montgomery is the head of global operations delivery at Ubiquity. He is responsible for contact center operations and client delivery across Ubiquity’s global footprint. He has more than twenty-five years of management and operational excellence experience in the BPO space.

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