The COVID pandemic has caused rapid changes among organizations, and now providers are trying to identify practices that can facilitate patient interactions.

Clear communication throughout the patient encounter is an important part of improving the patient experience.

Healthcare organizations are realizing the importance of connecting more closely with their patients and consumers, but they’re struggling to catch up with the capabilities showcased in other industries.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has enlightened the healthcare sector, which has demonstrated that it can change quickly to connect with patients. Now it needs to consolidate those gains and pick up the pace to improve consumer experiences — and some industry leaders recognize the signs that consumers will be selective in choosing where to receive care.

Speaking at the September 20 opening session of HDM KLASroom, Adam Cherrington highlighted key findings from KLAS Research’s survey of responses from 13,000 consumers when asked about their growing expectations of what patients should live. Cherrington, vice president of digital health for KLAS, noted that consumers want personalized care, but they often feel like those who interact with them in clinical settings know little about them.

KLAS data shows the need for better alignment between patient expectations, provider adoption and delivery of technology solutions.

Health becomes agile

“I believe Chick-fil-A knows me better than my doctor,” he said. “Healthcare tends to lag ‘other industries in recognizing consumer trends’, but COVID has accelerated things. We’ve been forced to use telehealth and we’ve seen the benefits.

Consumers are ready for a shift in their relationship with healthcare organizations and are ready to adjust how they interact with them, Cherrington said.

Consumers now place more value on the immediacy of care delivery, noted Aaron Miri, director of digital and information for Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Fla. This is partly the result of the pandemic and changing socio-economic trends, especially among younger consumers. “Now what they’re saying is the most important feature is that I can get fast, instant access to care,” he said.

Health care lags behind other consumer industries that better meet the demands of consumerism, says Aaron Miri, CDIO, Baptist Jacksonville.

Another important response to the rise of consumerization in healthcare is to provide clear communication throughout the encounter, from before the visit to after care is delivered, when the patient is discharged, Cherrington said. “What providers tend to focus on is just upfront communication, like ‘Are you coming to your appointment?’ They need to work on better communication throughout the encounter, from better education information beforehand to instructions afterwards.

Consumers are also looking for help navigating healthcare systems, even for a seemingly simple task like finding a doctor and then locating their location on a campus or in a metropolitan area, Miri said. “Doctors move around and it’s hard to keep up. Consumers tell hospitals, “I need to know who I’m going to see. ”

Collaborative consumers

Consumers, including those aged 65 and over, have become more technologically savvy, Cherrington noted, citing research conducted by KLAS. Increased connectivity enables closer relationships with physicians. In fact, research indicates that the subgroups most likely to report a collaborative relationship with their doctor include neurology and cardiology patients, patients 65 and older, patients covered by Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans. , or those who use a provider’s portal a few times a month. .

In contrast, patients least likely to report a collaborative relationship with a physician are those aged 18 to 34, patients who primarily use urgent care facilities, or those who have not had a discussion with a physician. doctor in the past year.

Older patients show a significantly higher sense of “collaboration” in their care with providers

Suppliers are stepping up efforts to improve the customer experience, paying more attention to factors such as the Net Promoter Score, which asks respondents how likely they are to recommend the organization to a friend or coworker. But it is not enough to determine such a score, argued Miri.

According to Aaron Miri, CDIO, Baptist Jacksonville, being consumer-centric depends on how you use the collected data.

“It really depends on what you’re going to do with that data. Looking for constructive advice – it’s a rallying cry that says, “We’ve got this. These are goldmines for vendors because resolving these issues shows that I am listening. So it’s not so much about collecting data, but do you have the capacity to respond to it.

“And your own employees are the best secret buyers. It’s a goldmine of information you should check out to find out how to improve your service. If nothing else, do it for your employees.

Gamification — offering rewards for continued customer relationship — is a powerful tool for building loyalty, Miri said. Consumers are already participating in such programs in a variety of other industries, and they can help build stronger relationships between suppliers and consumers, he added.

“People don’t really want to use Google for medical information – they want to have a relationship with someone. Health is about trust. We want consumers to say, ‘I trust this and I It’s gamification at its core.

Visit the HDM KLAS room to see the full session with KLAS and Aaron Miri from Baptist Jacksonvilleas well as other learning experiences.