Network Security

4 Keys to Delivering a Retail-Like Patient Experience

4 Keys to Delivering a Retail-Like Patient Experience
Written by ga_dahmani
4 Keys to Delivering a Retail-Like Patient Experience

When it comes to the quality of their healthcare journey, patients seem to be losing patience with their healthcare providers.

In the last of Cedar Healthcare Consumer Experience StudyFor example, the proportion of consumers who said they wouldn’t pay a bill if they can’t understand the administrative experience tripled from 2020 to 2021, to 37%. A large majority (93%) indicated that the quality of the billing and payment experience is important to their decision to return to a health care provider in the future.

For patients, it’s both a plea and an ultimatum for their providers, one in which they’re essentially saying now is the time for the healthcare industry to find collective and collaborative ways to deliver seamless, transparent, and easy-to-use customer journeys. wear. they have become accustomed as retail consumers. This is how Florian Otto, CEO of Cedar, a provider of financial technology platforms for healthcare, sums up the situation: “The pandemic has enhanced digitization and more value has been placed on intuition and ease of experiences. of the consumer. We have already seen this shift in industries like retail and finance, but consumers are explicitly demanding more from their health care providers and payers… Health care is at a critical point where stakeholders must collaborate to improve digital experiences and transparency or risk a significant decline in consumer loyalty. and financial results.”

With so much seemingly at stake, the healthcare industry is responding. In 2021, overall spending on healthcare IT grew by a projected 7.3%, according to Gartner. So the question for healthcare providers is where exactly to direct their IT dollars to consistently deliver the kinds of results that fuel patient loyalty and the bottom line. Using those resources to create a digital customer journey more similar to that of a retail store would be a good starting point. Here, based on our experience working closely with companies in both the retail and healthcare segments, there are four areas we need to focus on:

1. A frictionless, omnichannel customer journey. Top-performing retailers differentiate themselves with an unwavering focus on their customers at all points of interaction. Patients are consumers, too, and as such are used to having convenience and control in their digital journeys, whether they are interacting with a retailer or a healthcare provider. By phone, web, mobile device, or from a physical location: Regardless of how customers choose to interact with a provider or payer, their interactions must be seamless and secure, from initial investigation and registration to treatment, payment, and access. to your records. So, for example, a patient could research a nearby in-network MRI center, schedule an appointment with that center, get an estimate of what their MRI is likely to cost, receive reminders of their next appointment, provide the center with a method of payment, view the results, schedule and have a follow-up video conference with your doctor about the results, and make a payment, all from your preferred digital device.

2. An advanced digital infrastructure in the cloud. There’s a reason so many retail companies, as well as more companies in the healthcare industry, are abandoning their legacy communications networks in favor of modern digital networking frameworks like SD-WAN: because they provide the capabilities, the breadth bandwidth and connection to the network. -state-of-the-art security to deliver the flexible, seamless and robust omnichannel experiences patients demand today.

Through a centrally managed, cloud-based network, providers can access cloud-based clinical applications, conduct real-time telehealth sessions, and meet patients where they prefer to be met throughout their customer journey. With SD-WAN as their digital foundation, providers can use solutions like UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), MNS (Managed Network Security), and SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) to enrich the customer journey while building robust solutions. multi-layered. security to protect the network and the users, data, and resources connected to it.

3. Greater knowledge and control of the patient over the financial aspect of their trip. Offering flexible digital payments is another area where healthcare providers have an opportunity to differentiate themselves in the eyes of their patients by borrowing from the retail customer journey to provide options like Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), where patients can pay an invoice in installments. .

There are compelling reasons for healthcare providers and payers to offer contactless digital payment options like BNPL. On the one hand, it improves the overall customer experience, which in turn strengthens patient loyalty. It also provides more room for increased patient financial responsibility and can ultimately lead to higher revenues by reducing the amounts that providers have to write off as bad debt. With more financial flexibility, patients will be better equipped to pay their bills in full, over time.

4. Proactive digital communications with customers throughout their journey. What if the customer experience detailed in the MRI example included a communication component much like what consumers expect when they buy a refrigerator or a car? From choosing an appointment time, to check-in, check-out, payment and more—with text messages, emails, etc., to provide notifications, information on projected copays, links to payment options , outcomes, etc.—the expectation that healthcare companies provide transparent and seamless CX throughout the patient journey [supported by cloud-based communications solutions like UCaaS and CCaaS (contact center as a service)] is growing.

For healthcare companies that are willing to embrace digitally-enabled, customer-centric approaches like these, reinventing the patient experience becomes a competitive differentiator, giving them a clear advantage in an industry where the quality of the patient journey patient is more important to patient satisfaction and business results. than ever before.


About Melinda Ciseneros and Grant Harland

Melinda Cisneros is a health industry analyst at Windstream Company and healthcare industry subject matter expert with over 10 years of experience working as a liaison between healthcare facilities and the information technology department at BJC Healthcare. She previously held positions as a healthcare advocate, mobility account manager, and application sales overlay supporting unified communications, strategic services, and security for AT&T healthcare accounts. Melinda has a BA in Psychology from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Grant Harland is a retail and hospitality industry analyst at Windstream Company. He has over 11 years of retail experience, contributing to his in-depth knowledge of business development, technology, product development, sales and merchandising. His unique experience in retail and SaaS businesses makes him a credible thought leader and voice of the retailer within Windstream Enterprise. Prior to becoming a retail analyst at Windstream Enterprise, Grant spent two years as a senior consultant at retail management consulting firm Boston Retail Partners, where he delivered superior design and implementation of strategy, technology and process solutions. Prior to that, Grant spent eight years working in the retail industry for a retailer earning more than $100 million a year as a Senior Buyer and Business Development professional.

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