Has Your Patient Experience Evolved in the Past Year?

Posted by Kathy Sobus on Jun 29, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Healthcare: If any industry or vertical landed on the map more than ever this past year, it was healthcare. We’ve talked to more healthcare customers than any other vertical during this time, and it makes sense why: healthcare has touched all of us in some way or another this past year. Whether someone has been ill, needed checkups, or is now getting vaccinated, it has or will touch all of us.

But what about customer or patient experience? What’s changed in the last few months? What about the duty to provide equitable help and care? Has anything changed?

The physicality of healthcare has changed from office visits to telemedicine whenever possible. Social distancing, hand sanitizer, and masks are now the norm—everything has changed, even how you interact with your provider.

Of the 20 or so healthcare systems I’ve talked to, all are overwhelmed with the increased volume of patients needing special care while having the same or even less staff to accommodate them. This is particularly true of the contact center. The centers are dealing with changed processes and procedures almost daily. Many are having to schedule appointments at an unprecedented rate. Some have been asked by their state government to assist or take over all of the vaccine distribution for the area. All of these things are impacting patient satisfaction, but as a technologist, I wonder if the technology adoption has kept pace.

Let’s first define the technology: web portals, self-help, mobile applications, the ability to speak to someone when you can’t locate the answer or need verification, intelligent assistants, confirmations, telehealth visits, day of instructions, and the like. Can your patients help themselves in these instances? And if they can’t, what changes can be made to care for them?

For those taking a deep breath wondering if they can weather the storm taking place this year, please remember that what we are currently experiencing will likely be repeated again next year. Why would you wait to allow your patients to schedule appointments, get reminders, do telehealth visits, or find a doctor, all day long, everyday?

Many of the healthcare systems I talked about earlier are making these changes. They are looking at systems that are fit for purpose (like COVID Vaccine Distribution), but have the ability to change easily and quickly for other reasons, like flu vaccines, or appointment reminders. These types of systems have a great return on investment and ease the burden that staff members are currently shouldering. Intelligent virtual assistants (IVA) are a great place to start, with quick uptime and flexibility to change.

The next step after this is to allow the IVA to operate with the EMR system. This allows patients another level of access without having to log into their own personal chart system. Patients can set up appointments and receive reminders this way, all within the same system. Many of our clients have separate systems with capabilities like this today, but they are finding that they save money in maintenance and provisioning by combining the capabilities into a singular platform.

As one of my customers—a large healthcare provider in the Mid-Atlantic region—put it: “Anytime we can improve service to our patients and contain costs with more appointments realized is a big win for us. Systems like this allow us to maintain equity of service, too, which is vitally important to our mission. These systems allow for all of that.”

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Video, Virtual Assistants, automation, analytics, and more: ConvergeOne does it all to help propel your healthcare organization into the future, helping you adapt to a digital-driven world with your technologies of choice.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Healthcare


Kathy Sobus
Kathy Sobus  -- As the Senior Director of Customer Experience Strategy for ConvergeOne, Kathy Sobus leads a team with extensive experience in the contact center business and drives strategic alliances and partnerships with various vendors and providers. She is an expert in the area of customer experience and helps clients enhance their contact centers to more effectively respond to their customers’ ever-changing needs.