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What is a digital front door and why does every healthcare organization need one?

A smiling young doctor shows a smiling older patient healthcare information on a tablet screen.

Although major market shifts were already occurring in the healthcare industry prior to the pandemic, COVID-19 accelerated many emerging trends. Healthcare consumer preferences have also changed dramatically, creating entirely new expectations for healthcare organizations.

Given these evolving conditions, it’s obvious that healthcare payers and providers must find ways to rapidly adapt and transform their services and experiences if they wish to retain and attract new members and patients. In this search to deliver a stronger healthcare experience, one powerful new strategy has emerged – the digital front door.

As we explore the new healthcare economy, it’s important to understand why a strong digital front door strategy has rapidly become a critical success factor in meeting the needs, preferences, and expectations of today’s healthcare consumers.

To gain that understanding we recommend examining a few key healthcare experience trends that are driving the need for new digital strategies like the digital front door:

  • Omnichannel experiences: Recent research has revealed that patients expect frictionless, omnichannel experiences. Our Omnichannel Healthcare Experience Report 2021 identified ways that healthcare organizations can meet patients’ expectations of an experience that seamlessly integrates services across channels, platforms, and devices.
  • New delivery care options: In the past 18 months, 40% of patients utilized a telehealth option for their care. Healthcare must integrate new care models like telemedicine and virtual care as the care delivery model continues to evolve.
  • Personalization: Understanding the individual demographics, needs, and behaviors of patients and members is vital to meeting their expectations and supporting those individual preferences. Creating personalized healthcare experiences is now an essential component of quality care
  • Hybrid experiences: While new methods of virtual care are on the rise, the human element is still paramount in the healthcare experience. Digital tools need to support a healthcare experience that elevates, rather than removes, human interaction, supporting a healthcare experience that can easily move between in-person and digital touchpoints.
  • Ease of use: Above all else, the healthcare interactions must be highly intuitive and easy to use for every patient and member, regardless of age, gender, income, or any other demographic factor.

What is a digital front door?

A Digital Front Door is a strategy that takes a modern approach to the healthcare interactions that were traditionally in person or manual, offering a more integrated, digital, frictionless experience for patients and members.

Take a step back and get familiar with the market trends driving the need for DFD strategies.

Read the Glossary Blog

This type of digital-first strategy empowers patients and members to access information, support, and even care right from the palm of their hands. Simply put, a successful Digital Front Door strategy provides more ease, convenience, and accessibility to patients and members, throughout the entire healthcare journey, at every single touchpoint, from the very first interaction.

Through the Digital Front Door, healthcare customers can easily and effectively research care options, find new providers, schedule appointments, and manage their care delivery. Providers and payers can create better experiences by providing online financial services such as bill pay and e-forms, increasing retention through surveys and review requests, and delivering greater convenience via simple processes such as online registration, wait time notification, and even digital parking passes.

Why does every healthcare organization need one?

Today, healthcare is driven by choice. Whether a patient is searching for the right provider, or a member has begun evaluating potential health plans, just like every other industry, a primary differentiator is a superior customer experience. A Digital Front Door strategy can dramatically improve the overall healthcare experience, delivering a strong return on investment based on a much more effective, digital-first service model.

When designed and implemented successfully, a Digital Front Door strategy includes several primary elements that map to many of the key healthcare market shifts we’ve experienced during and after the pandemic including:

  • Omnichannel engagement that incorporates patient and member individual preferences into the healthcare experience
  • Automation that reduces low-value or high-effort manual tasks and increases efficiency, helping to decrease the cost of care and increase employee productivity
  • Technology touchpoints that are easy to use and familiar to the healthcare consumer, delivered from a proven technology platform

A strong Digital Front Door strategy helps providers and payers easily adapt to emerging healthcare trends while patients and members become much more engaged. Experiences that improve engagement increase the likelihood of building and maintaining longer-lasting relationships and improved health outcomes. Simply put, a Digital Front Door gives patients and members a structured, easy-to-use, and familiar digital environment for choosing the products and services that best meet their needs.