Patient Access Week 2019 – meeting expectations of today’s modern (and digitally savvy) healthcare consumers

By Keith Belton | April 09, 2019

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On March 31, 2019, the healthcare industry kicked off Patient Access Week 2019, a celebration of the people and technology platforms healthcare delivery organizations rely on to ensure the seamless registration, scheduling, and overall access to care that ensures a positive patient experience. After all, the first interaction a patient has with a healthcare organization sets the tone for the entire patient journey, and often determines whether the end-to-end experience succeeds or fails for each healthcare customer.

This year, the timing of Patient Access Week could not be more significant. The healthcare industry’s full-blown pivot to consumerism is underway, with some embracing the challenge faster than others…but most realizing that sticking the proverbial ostrich head in the sand is not viable.

Research points to radical changes in consumer preferences and the ways they research and coordinate their own care. Technology adoption has raised expectations for what changes consumers expect to see in care coordination and, in some cases, care delivery. Convenience is now a top factor influencing care choices, for example, with many patients favoring providers that are located nearby and has short wait times. What’s more, today’s consumers are increasingly likely to choose a medical provider who offers digital capabilities.

Health systems must begin to understand today’s “on-demand” consumers and their heightened expectations for personalized attention, convenient access, and immediate delivery of services.

To succeed in this new marketplace, health systems need to digitally reposition themselves. They are competing with other health systems for patients, as well as competing for consumers against multiple newly emerging convenience-based care options now available. In this new competitive setting, health systems must innovate to stay ahead of the competition. Where does the “patient experience” rate among innovation priorities in healthcare? According to the chart below, it’s now up there among all other areas of importance.

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A Single, clinically integrated digital footprint of your enterprise

This is all very new. Which begs the key question: How should health systems deliver customer service in this new digital world?

It starts with adopting technologies that support patient access and an “Amazon-like” customer experience – one that spans the in-person and the digital. Health systems must empower consumers by offering them new and more convenient ways to access services in a personalized manner that meets their individual needs.

How can health systems be personalized in their response to individual patients? We advocate that each health system needs to think holistically about how they can personalize complexity. It starts with how they organize and ‘go to market’ with their care delivery assets – digitally.

What are a health system’s care delivery assets?

  • Employed providers
  • Affiliated providers (that may participate in networks of the health system)
  • Locations that offer care
  • Health plans they offer and participate in
  • Networks they offer
Consumers expect the same kind of personalized experience in healthcare that they get when ordering online. To meet this expectation, Phynd believes that creating a single digital footprint of these assets is an essential first step to delivering the right customer experience. More on this digital footprint to come.

As we kick off Patient Access Week, we’d like to have a kick-off of our own: the launch of an ongoing series of posts examining the advent of consumerism in healthcare and what that means for health delivery organizations. We plan to focus on a number of topics, including:

  • The empowered healthcare consumer 
  • The requirements needed to deliver a single digital footprint to support an Amazon-like digital experience
  • Personalization in healthcare
  • And more
These all start, of course, with good consumer-facing digital resources and resulting interaction, including patient access. So before we get too far down the path, let’s pause here and take a moment to recognize the invaluable Patient Access teams at our health delivery organizations. We thank you, and we appreciate your help in making healthcare a positive experience that is truly empowering for consumers.

 

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Topics: patient access, patient experience, enterprise provider data management, high quality provider data, provider information management, event, patient access week

Keith Belton

Written by Keith Belton

Keith oversees Phynd’s marketing programs. He previously headed the Dragon Medical line of business at Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) and was VP of Marketing for Eclipsys (now part of Allscripts – NASDAQ: MDRX). He also ran product management for IDEXX’s EHR software business (NASDAQ: IDXX). Keith is a graduate of Haverford College.

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