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Digital transformation means your patients are also customers

Health care organizations looking to succeed at digital transformation must be sure they are reading patient charts correctly.

With the health care IT market expected to be worth $280.25 billion by 2021 as both clinical and non-clinical information systems are deployed, health care organizations will only see the best return-on-investment from their digital initiatives if they properly leverage patient insight.

Right now, however, the prognosis isn’t good; many health care organizations are doing a poor job of reading their customers’ vitals.

Clearly, there’s been a misdiagnosis. The 13 stats below highlight what health care providers need to consider to become truly patient-centric organizations.

Misdiagnosis of patient satisfaction

One of the biggest challenges to becoming patient-centric is the lack of available metrics for health care providers. Too often, there is a mismatch between the services offered and whether those services are well received by patients.

1. Research by Prophet found that 81 percent of consumers are unsatisfied with their health care experience, and the less they interact with the system, the happier they are.

2. And while 63 percent of health care organizations believe they are delivering on patient care, only 43 percent of patients actually agree.  

Patients are customers too

The remedy for health care organizations: View patients as though they are customers. It’s an essential shift for successful digital transformation, but it’s happening rather slowly according to the Kaufman, Hall & Associates report 2017 State of Consumerism in Health Care: Slow Progress in Fast Times.

3. Only eight percent of health care organizations consider consumer expectation a high priority and have implemented several consumer-based strategies with some success.

4. Roughly 90 percent of survey respondents cited improving key elements of the consumer experience as a high priority for their organizations.

Customers need better access

Health care organizations must begin to think about ease of access to their services in the same way other companies make it easy to buy their products with an omnichannel experience. Access to care is a barrier.

5. Although those surveyed in the Kaufman, Hall & Associates report identified access to care as one of their organization's top priorities, only 19 percent of those surveyed said they offered significant access via retail clinics.

6. Almost half of respondents—47 percent—said their organization didn’t own or operate retail clinics.

Patient centricity requires the right tools

Just as a proper diagnosis requires the right medical device, so does providing a good customer experience. Despite this being a high priority for respondents to the Kaufman, Hall & Associates survey, there’s a lot of work to be done.

7. Only 30 percent of health care organizations survey have instituted tools or practices in customer experience.

8. Although 58 percent of health care leaders said offering digital tools and information to enable consumer engagement were high priorities, only 14 percent have those capabilities in place.

9. The good news is that 69 percent of health care organizations surveyed have implemented an online patient portal.

10. About 43 percent of respondents have implemented tools to enable patients and providers to communicate through online messaging services.

Patients put themselves first

If you need more convincing that patients are customers, research by Accenture found that consumers are as likely to switch doctors or hospitals as hotels if they don’t get the service experience they want, and they are more likely to dump a doctor than abandon an airline due to poor service. Consumers want the same responsiveness and convenience from health care providers they expect from their wireless carriers, Internet service providers and banks.

11. Accenture found that 61 percent of respondents surveyed would switch health care providers for the ability to get an appointment quickly when needed.

12. The same survey found that 52 percent would make a change to get an appointment at a convenient location.

13. Just over half —51 percent—would change their health care provider for great customer service.

Be the best medicine available

Understanding patient preferences and their health broader issues is key to creating a better experience for a customer that increasingly has more choice. Digital transformation by health care organizations must be centered around patient care if they are to have a long, healthy life.

How to present research to physician leaders

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