Healthcare patient and member journeys are at a tipping point. The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping patient and provider interactions—ushering in digital and touchless interactions that were considered futuristic and are now necessary. Payers are also adjusting to a demand for virtual customer support and have ramped up virtual contact centers.
These changes are just the beginning. Healthcare organizations can expect more opportunities to connect with patients and members, making them feel valued and building loyalty in an increasingly digital landscape. To help guide organizations through this transformation process, we’ve identified 5 experience trends that are reshaping patient and provider relationships.
Trend #1: Maximize resources
Healthcare contact centers face immense pressure to reduce costs and increase cost efficiency while responding to fast-changing surge volume that could spike at any time. The ability to shift resources and budgets dynamically to where they are needed most will be critical to success.
More than half (60 percent) of consumers, for instance, say they would “absolutely” or “very likely” switch providers if offered faster appointments, online booking and video appointments, according to The Consumerization of Healthcare report by Adobe and Econsultancy. Expect organizations to look for solutions that allow them to do more with technology and tools that are already in their stack.
CX opportunity: Explore ways to get the most out of your resources such as cross-functional approaches and outsourcing to build a nimble response to meeting unexpected shifts in patient volume.
Trend #2 Accelerate efficiency with data analytics
The pandemic could be an unexpected catalyst for wearables sensor data. Medical researchers and tech companies are testing whether bodily measurements such as temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels can help with detecting COVID-19. Researchers are looking for patterns in the data to develop a system for alerting other device users whose data resemble patterns in COVID-19 patients.
This is just one example of how data analytics can help healthcare organizations move the needle in driving efficiency and improving healthcare outcomes. Expect to see more use cases that strike a balance between efficiency and quality of care.
CX opportunity: There are other ways to leverage customer data to improve experiences and drive business value. For example, advances in automation and speech analytics allow healthcare contact centers to automate analyses of interactions and pain points to identify and fix customer issues before they occur, reduce churn, and provide more relevant engagement.
Trend #3: Fine-tune new channels
The pandemic accelerated the shift to new channels such as telehealth and virtual/home exercise, while increasing the use of existing channels like online self-service portals and messaging. In fact, 50 percent of physicians expect telemedicine to be more important to their future work, according to a recent McKinsey & Co. report. Demand for these channels will continue to rise. Investments in systems, data, analytics and tools to measure the performance and effectiveness of the new channels will be an important part of the patient/member experience moving forward.
CX opportunity: Examine the end-to-end journey to find opportunities to refine the new channels. Questions such as what journeys do you want patients to have via the channel and what skills do agents need when using those channels should be top of mind.
Trend #4: Take care of the care providers
Over the past few months, healthcare providers have made significant changes to how they deliver care, such as through an increased use of telemedicine. As a result, the support they need from partners, payers, and other stakeholders is also changing.
Enhanced uses of data and technology that enable providers to stay connected to their patients, make informed decisions and deliver care more efficiently are just some of the ways that partners can better support providers. Investments in learning and performance as well as upskilling across partner organizations will be important on both an immediate and long-term basis.
CX opportunity: Look for an experienced partner that can train and coach front-line agents on the best ways to connect with people online, such as providing guidance on technical issues via video, the nuances of conversing over different channels, and tracking performance.
Trend #5 Prioritize data security and privacy
Healthcare is a data-driven industry. Healthcare providers and payers are entrusted with highly sensitive data and must ensure that it is used appropriately and kept secure. As healthcare becomes increasingly digital-first, having a robust set of policies and processes to manage and protect patient/member data will be the foundation for providing outstanding service and building loyalty.
CX opportunity: Government-mandated quarantines that forced employees to operate at home have shown that with the right technologies, processes, and procedures in place, a virtual contact center model is a viable solution even for highly regulated industries like healthcare.
The healthcare journey continues
The healthcare industry is rapidly changing as providers and payers adapt to trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuning into shifts in patient and member behavior is crucial. The organizations that approach the transformation as a mindset instead of a one-off transition, however, will be ready to deliver value at every touchpoint along the patient and member journey—no matter how it evolves.