Healthcare providers around the globe are on different stages of their Patient Experience (PX) journey. While hospitals in the USA already have already developed holistic PX programs governed by dedicated teams, these in Europe and MET still have fragmented solutions in the area. We can quickly outline four factors for the growing importance of patient experience in the region:
1. Care delivery & clinical excellence will always be a primary concern: in this respect, collecting patients feedback directs to strong and weak spots for the healthcare provider and boosts improvements where needed
2. Industry regulations and quality standards are advancing: countries like the US and UK set the trend for an institutional framework tracking and collecting patient feedback, also creating public benchmarks between healthcare institutions
3. Patients have ever-increasing power: they have unlimited access to information, they demand their opinion to be heard and taken into consideration, and they can easily switch to another provider if not satisfied.
4. Attracting and retaining care givers is harder than ever: preferred employers invest in patient experience to increase job satisfaction, reduce stress and bring a greater sense of work.
According to a McKinsey study improving the patient experience can help health systems achieve their business objectives as well as increase their Medicare revenue. Similarly, a Deloitte financial estimate of patient experience reveals that hospitals leading in patient ratings had a net margin of 4.7%, as compared to 1.8% for low-rating institutions. The value of patient experience is further emphasized by indirectly measured indicators, such as improved employee engagement, word of mouth, and reduced costs to serve. No wonder patient experience is becoming an operational KPI for hospitals, together with staff-to-patient ratio, bed occupancy rate, and others.
Your institution must be ahead of competitors in order to be successful. To do so you should:
- Keep an eye on your direct competitors: Scrape and analyze social media, forums and specialized websites reviews to get unsolicited feedback and benchmark against your competitors. The more sources you cover, the more realistic benchmark you will get. Enhance this view by investigating what competitors are doing in terms of patient experience, what is their commitment to patients and if they deliver on it.
- Analyze patient feedback across the entire journey: many institutions are already collecting patient feedback one way or another, but only few of them have a holistic solution in place. Start with detailed mapping of the patient covering all online and offline touchpoints and making sure that you have captured it all. The journey varies significantly per disease, inpatient vs. outpatients, so you should make sure to cover all segment. Then you should implement a real-time feedback system to constantly track the level of care you provide. Use advanced data and text sentiment analysis to uncover the hidden “gems”
- Act timely upon patient feedback: ideally, you would be able to get all insights at your fingertips instantly via dashboard. Regardless of the source (your feedback system or the web) make sure that you react timely especially to negative comments. Establish a true dialog with the patients to prove that you put patient first. Internally, spread best practices and and create action plans to address issues. This will help you to deliver compassionate patient-centric care bringing patient and staff satisfaction to the next level.
Patient experience programs provide access to information and analytics, and trigger improvements to the right staff members. The analysis of patient needs and expectations provides leadership with a direction for long-term strategic development. In a highly competitive industry landscape, healthcare providers cannot miss the opportunity to lead on patient experience and make informed decisions.
|The Patient Journey: a well-designed and well-navigated experience
The patient journey differs among institutions, but includes roughly the following touchpoints: symptoms, search, appointment, registration, triage, consultation, hospitalization/ treatment, checkout, post-treatment. What if all these touchpoints are connected to offer a truly personalized experience?
Imagine Sarah. She tried to make an appointment at the hospital, but had to wait to get in touch at a time when she experienced strong symptoms. She received a quick check survey and rated the experience negatively. By the time she arrived at the hospital, the registration clerk knew the feedback from the first touchpoint – he apologized for the delay and prioritized Sarah for the appointment time. Later on, when Sarah’s tests are delayed, special care is taken to inform her in advance and assure transparency in the process – lesson learnt.
If the individual level assures personalized care and trust-building, on the aggregate level patient satisfaction allows the hospital leaders at the healthcare institution understand performance trends and share best practices across functions and departments. For example, if doctors ask the patient a single question at the end of the consultation: “Do you have any other questions?” or “Would you like to share anything else on top?”, it changes the patient’s perception that doctors don’t spend enough time when they are needed. Such tips can be shared as best practices across the institution for a powerful effect.