The healthcare system continues to face a perfect storm: hospitals around the globe continue to reach patient capacity and healthcare providers are struggling to keep up with staffing to accommodate the surge in demand. These market pressures and new consumer habits and demands have fast-tracked digital transformation and highlighted the continued need for innovation. A significant opportunity for that is in how healthcare providers communicate and interact with patients.
There are a multitude of options that healthcare leaders should consider to improve the patient experience and help ease pressure on healthcare organizations. Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) based solutions enables these organizations to integrate messaging across multiple digital channels as they improve their patient interactions.
HIMSS 2022, the most influential week in healthcare, recently hosted its annual event in Orlando highlighting the newest innovations and technology transforming healthcare. While the event was packed with information on how new solutions, apps, and tools can transform the healthcare industry, there is one key topic that cannot afford to be overlooked: the patient experience and the role that tech will play in ensuring this is seamless and frictionless in today’s always-on world.
Digital transformation is more than a buzzword as attendees of HIMSS agreed that moving the customer experience provided by the industry forward through advancements in technology is a top priority for healthcare leaders. Technology is playing a key role in redefining the patient experience. Today’s modern patient expects healthcare experiences to align with other digital interactions they have with other industries.
CPaaS was not only a hot topic at HIMSS but also across verticals. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 95 percent of global enterprises will utilize CPaaS offerings to improve the consumer experience. This is not surprising given the increase in telehealth which has grown by 38 times from pre-pandemic levels.
Consumers will expect the same level of experience from their healthcare provider that they receive from say their bank or favorite retailer. In order to meet patients where they are, there are a few key ways that CPaaS is helping to lead this transformation.
Improving efficiencies through automation
We are all increasingly interacting with businesses on the channels of our choice. Digital channels can give patients the control to facilitate conversations quickly and easily with healthcare organizations and create a superior patient experience.
The days of picking up a landline and waiting for hours on hold should be gone. Automation can mean sending an alert when a prescription is ready or a reminder for a pending medical test. A proactive approach not only helps build trust but also allows healthcare providers the option to seamlessly connect patients to support staff for more complex requests. Automation reduces the amount of call volume that is consumed by common/repeatable requests, therefore streamlining operational efficiency and costs while allowing agents to focus on complex issues.
Automation is not a nice to have but a must-have for healthcare companies to stay relevant and profitable. Increasing productivity and operational costs are necessary to keep up with consumer demands.
Moving forward through personalization
As data and AI bring many innovative solutions to healthcare, patients are expecting a more personalized experience. In order to meet patients where they are, healthcare leaders should be analyzing each touchpoint of the patient journey to identify ways to optimize it. Where is there redundancy or ‘man in the middle’ operations which can be just as easily handled by an automated task? Conversely, what are the touchpoints where it is critical to maintaining personal interaction?
Today’s patient values time and efficiency and has little interest in engaging with providers on information that is not relevant. Personalization is critical for patients as it not only improves their experience but also makes having access to key information easier. Additionally, it reinforces the relationship between provider and patient. Patients are living in a fast-paced world and appreciate timely alerts reminding them of upcoming appointments that include personalized content such as pre-visit doctor’s instructions. Personalization doesn’t stop after the appointment. After-care is also a crucial time to utilize technology by sending personal follow-up messages and surveys about their treatment, further strengthening the patient relationship.
Not only does CPaaS allow for a personalized experience but it also helps to increase security as the technology healthcare providers offer must be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). Additionally, verification with two-factor authentication helps ensure patient communications are secure. Patients can communicate privately on the channels of their choice while providers can ensure sensitive information is only routed via approved channels to maintain confidentiality.
An investment in CPaaS is necessary to improve the patient experience. Automation, when coupled with digital communications, improves both internal and external patient processes and saves time, resources, and investments. Consumers expect personalized digital communications, and healthcare providers are not exempted.
The author, Brian Heikes, is Director Product Management, at Webex Connect.