For healthcare organizations, the potential cost of a poor experience can have a disastrous effect on already razor-thin provider margins. According to one U.S. Healthcare Consumer Experience Study, 41% of young healthcare consumers reported they would stop going to their healthcare provider if they felt they received a poor digital experience. Even worse, 20% of respondents noted they had already stopped or switched providers for this very reason. In an industry inundated with new players—from new healthcare startups to retail-based health clinics and private urgent care rooms—providers simply can’t afford to fall behind.
What are today's patient experience expectations?
To maintain market share in 2021 and beyond, healthcare providers need to replicate the experiences provided by CX behemoths like Amazon and Google—delivering hyper-relevant experiences to patients across channels. Here are a few key elements patients now expect to see every time they interact with your organization.
1. Transparency and open communication
As the cost burden continues to shift to patient pocketbooks, patients need to know what procedures, appointments and medications will cost them. In the past, patients might not see a cost estimate until the bill showed up weeks later. Now they expect upfront transparent pricing, and readily available pricing support, to help them navigate what they can and can’t afford—and plan their spending and saving appropriately.
2. Self-service opportunities
For years, patients have needed to interface with someone from their provider organization to do just about anything—cancel an appointment, receive medical advice from a clinician or research a claim. This stood in stark contrast to the relatively frictionless self-service experiences they encountered just about everywhere else, where they could cancel and reschedule appointments with a few taps on their smartphone, chat with a rep online about a bill, and so much more. Part of the modern patient expectation is to feel empowered to manage their own care and make it fit into their schedule, rather than the other way around.
While digital tools introduce flexibility and efficiency to the healthcare ecosystem, they can also sometimes replace many of the in-person interactions that make patients feel most cared for and valued by their clinicians. With this in mind, personalized experiences tailored to patients’ unique care plans can help make them feel like more than just a number—or worse, another revenue source. Additionally, each patient seeks to use new digital tools in different ways. They want to know that their providers are utilizing their data and collecting their preferences to customize how they serve them.
4. Accessible care
In a world where instant gratification customer experiences are everywhere, patients expect that care can be provided right here and right now. Yes, telehealth options are one way to offer more accessible care strategies, but other methods such as interfacing with clinicians via a secure patient portal or providing preliminary appointment information via other digital formats can help reduce the need for long, time-consuming in-person appointments and match patient need with the appropriate level of engagement.
5. Shoppable care
As patients learn how to become more savvy healthcare consumers, it only makes sense that they would start to compare their healthcare options in a similar way. In the retail world, reviews and ratings and shopper experiences play a large role in giving consumers a way to compare services and products. In healthcare, patients increasingly expect the same resources to help them make an informed decision—and providers without these resources risk being dropped for others that do.