Healthcare providers must adapt to patient digital expectations

March 25, 2022 Windstream Enterprise 4 min
Evolving patient expectations are pushing healthcare to provide easier access to health records and flexible communication options. Organizations are implementing secure, reliable systems to better serve their patients today and into the future.

Exploring patient expectations

Just as we’ve seen retail expand beyond in-store shopping as the digital revolution unfolds, patients are increasingly wanting the same anywhere at any time”convenience from their healthcare providers. While convenient physical locations are important, patients are looking for services that meet them where they are, and on the devices they choose. That could be a phone call or text chat, email or a video conversation via their smartphone, tablet or computer.

The key for healthcare providers is to engage on the patient’s terms. The 2021 Healthcare Engagement Survey from Pega backs that up with 55% of patients surveyed saying they’re frustrated with the current healthcare system.

Patients are looking for services that meet them where they are, and on the devices they choose.

Unified and streamlined

For patients, it’s more than just the convenience of remote communication. It’s also about unified information systems. Patients find it frustrating to provide the same information at each point in their healthcare visit, and they want access to relevant records and healthcare information wherever they are. That requires a database that efficiently manages records such as care history, in-person visits and online patient interactions with reliable remote access for patients and network access for care providers.

For healthcare providers, a unified system eliminates the problem of fragmented or missing data. That saves from having to count on patients consistently providing the same information every time they fill out a redundant form, or providers questioning if critical information from previous care is available. Unified data tracking for patient interactions are recorded in a way that ensures their primary care physician, specialists, other health service providers and patients themselves all have an up-to-date and holistic overview of an individual’s care history.

The upside is that patients avoid the frustration of repeating themselves. Care providers win, too, since they don’t have to worry about missing relevant patient information that could be unintentionally left out, or is siloed in a different system.

Transparent communication

Transparency in patient costs, along with a clear and easy-to-understand accounting of services, is another expectation service providers need to address. The frustration from deciphering lists of services, and sorting out what insurance providers will cover, is a communication failure point and a perfect setup for a bad customer experience in a situation that may already be laden with significant stress. 

The Pega study shows information clarity is a place where providers have room to reevaluate the patient experience, from the patient’s perspective. While 76% of care organizations feel they already offer easy communication options, only 54% of patients are pleased with the level of communication. Additionally, 48% of patients state they get confusing or conflicting information from insurers.

Many of these expectations can be addressed with well-designed digital wallets for patients. Their digital wallet serves as a single place to see up-to-date care history, much as their caregivers do. It’s a place where they can view their costs and make payments, all from their smartphone, tablet or computer and it’s a concept many are already familiar with thanks to services like Apple Pay and Google Pay. For care providers, digital wallets can save time with faster access to patient data, automatically sending communication based on patient preferences, and reducing paperwork.

Transparency in patient costs, along with a clear and easy-to-understand accounting of services, is another expectation service providers need to address.

Meeting patient expectations with technology

The retail sector already offers easy ways to make purchases and communicate with companies online. That’s led to customers expecting a quality digital experience whenever they’re engaging with businesses remotely. A recent Forrester report found customers expect companies to double down on building a successful and sustainable digital customer experience. That expectation carries over to digital healthcare experiences, too.

For healthcare providers, that means technology they can use to reliably link them with patients. Contact Center as a Service, for example, adds in support for interacting with patients the way they want, whether that’s a voice call, SMS, email, web chat or even cloud-based fax (while still keeping normal compliance regulations in mind). For clinical collaboration, OfficeSuite HD Meeting offers secure cloud-based web conferencing with HD video, chat, recording and screen sharing. SD-WAN Concierge can keep everything in an organization connected and running smoothly with secure, uninterrupted and efficient access to network services and cloud apps, and can adapt to meet a healthcare provider’s growing needs.

The benefits healthcare providers get from using the right technology tools to meet patient expectations go beyond customer satisfaction and loyalty. Providers also get reliable access to necessary patient information, and reduce time spent updating records so they can spend more time on patient-focused service instead of paperwork.

The evolution of patient expectations is pushing healthcare services to provide easier access to health records and more flexible options for communicating with providers. Organizations embracing those expectations by implementing secure and reliable systems now are better serving their patients today, and are in a much better position to meet their needs in the future.

Learn how the digital experience is evolving in healthcare.

Key Takeaway
Healthcare providers must adapt to evolving patient expectations or lose out on patients, reputation and revenue to those that do. Adopting the right technology can improve efficiency and meet patient needs.

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