Digital health's role in meeting the customer's expectations

Digital health's role in meeting the customer's expectations

Today medicine is changing to become more participatory. Patients are beginning to expect more out of care and increasingly act as consumers. This is forcing providers to make the shift as well.

“Clinical quality and safety are our core competencies. In customer experience, our focus has been expanded to include experience beyond our clinical care,” Christen Castellano, vice president of customer experience channels at Banner Health, told MobiHealthNews. “Anything designed and implemented should also be convenient for patients, providers and other stakeholder groups.”

Castellano will be speaking at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas on “Creating a Seamless Customer Healthcare Experience Through Digital Transformation.”

She notes that healthcare isn’t the first industry to go through a transformation. Over the last decade, we’ve seen the banking, travel and retail industry have been leaders in using digital to cater to customer needs.

“[The] financial industry is a good example of getting it right. To get it right backend processes and data must be well-connected so that a seamless customer experience is provided,” she said. “As healthcare systems add or acquire services, it is essential to have strong governance, effective processes and sufficient connectivity to provide customers a seamless experience.”

While the trend was already beginning in the healthcare world, the global pandemic put more pressure on the healthcare system to continue its digital transformation.

“COVID-19 was the ultimate business stress test. The pandemic placed spotlights on both the strengths and opportunities within organizations.”

Castellano said she has three key takeaways from the pandemic:

“One: Celebrate Diversity in Thought! One size does not fit all customers, so it is important to understand customer segments and design the right channel for the right audience so that all have easy access to care.

“Examples: Some patients prefer remote options, some do not. So, both virtual and in-person options must be easily accessible. Some patients prefer self-serve scheduling some prefer the higher touch, phone option. So, both options must be accessible and scalable.

“Two: Doing the right thing is not the same thing as doing the right thing at scale (meaning at high volume with high accuracy and with readily available resources).

“Having the Digital Front Door framework in place allowed us to establish scalable services in many areas of customer experience. For example COVID-19 testing and vaccines were available both through phone and self-serve channels.

“Three: Circumstances can change quickly, so structures, processes and team members must be adaptable to rapidly changing environments. Understand the impact of the change, and repurpose existing tools to respond to customer needs across channels. Strong partnerships with vendors are important.”

While COVID-19 has changed healthcare for good, one of the biggest forces in consumer engagement continues to be our smartphones. Smartphones not only help consumers access information but also help healthcare services respond and learn consumer needs more quickly.

“Our phone agents are typically the first to hear of opportunities for improvement in any of the channels, for example portal, web, email, [and] phone,” Castellano said. “Since we are the benefactor of those system opportunities, we can be the data source for near real-time continuous improvement.

“Therefore, it is important to have a systematic and automated way to aggregate, trend and learn from real-time customer feedback. Tools such as NLP have been helpful to us learning and improving the customer experience.”

Castellano will be speaking at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas on “Creating a Seamless Customer Healthcare Experience Through Digital Transformation” on Tuesday, August 10, 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. in Venetian Murano 3201A. 



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