5 Ways You Can Implement Technology to Enhance the Patient Experience
The growth of the internet has digitized the world like never before, including healthcare and physician-patient engagement. With the boom in healthcare technology accelerated by COVID-19, there are more ways to implement technology to enhance the patient experience than ever.
So, what do patient expectations say about ideal healthcare technologies, and which ones may best improve patient satisfaction?
This blog explores healthcare technologies, the modern patient, and the digitalized physician-patient relationship to find which implementations can best enhance the patient experience.
Technology in Healthcare
Reflecting on the rapid evolution of healthcare technologies, technological giant IBM notes how far they have come since its inception in the 1960s. Initially, it identifies four leading technologies that drive healthcare forward:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Cloud computing
- Telehealth technologies
As it does, it offers four relevant examples of these technologies put in action for healthcare:
- Disease diagnosis and treatment
- Medical imaging
- Healthcare operations
- Clinical research
These applications, IBM argues, improve patient care and experiences, facilitate easier, real-time information exchange, and offer flexibility for patients and physicians. And as AI becomes more prevalent in telehealth technologies, these applications will only grow.
While what the future holds may not be sure, Statista certainly agrees. The global digital health market is projected to continue expanding well into 2027. By then, digital health revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 11.94%, cementing this trend’s progress.
Patient Experience Statistics to Note
Not all technology enhances the patient experience in an equal manner across the board. Technology should address modern patients' specific needs and expectations to improve patient satisfaction.
In this regard, among others, the following patient experience statistics bear noting:
- Information privacy and ease of access to care are high priorities for patients. CVS Health finds that 89% of US adults surveyed consider these two the most important factors when seeking healthcare.
- Automated notifications are increasingly expected. PatientPop reports that 57% of patients now expect some automated notifications for appointments or medication prescriptions/refills, and 70% of patients say this factor would be crucial in their healthcare provider choices.
- Communication with healthcare providers is still a key concern. According to Avtex, 42% of patients face communication barriers when seeking to connect with their providers. 68% also agree that their healthcare providers need to improve their communication.
- Patients are willing to wait for less to communicate with their providers. SolutionReach reports that 60% of patients won’t hold for more than a minute, and less than one-third (32%) will call back.
- In-person wait times are now more impactful. In line with the above, PatientPop continues to note that 84% of healthcare consumers find wait times essential to the patient experience. 43% identify long wait times as the most frustrating part of the patient experience, and 20% have switched healthcare providers because of it.
These are far from the only notable statistics on patient experience, but they should suffice to contextualize the following suggestions.
5 Ways to Implement Technology to Enhance the Patient Experience
Particular technologies can emerge as tailored solutions to solving problems that patients experience, such as COVID-19’s lingering impact on the industry.
In no particular order, but aligned with the above findings, consider the 5 applications of healthcare technologies below.
#1 Enabling Remote and Hands-Free Communication
First, you may consider telehealth options you may have available. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) outlines its many benefits for patients and notes its broadening appeal. Among the former, it notes highly relevant advantages in the context of the above customer experience inhibitors:
- More effective communication with providers
- The option of messages as an additional communication channel
- Broader access to healthcare and improved monitoring
If you can implement telehealth technologies, you will directly address pressing patient concerns and broaden their options. As you do, your job of thoroughly monitoring patients will be easier.
#2 Automating Message Delivery
In patient-physician collaboration, there are ample ways to automate message delivery outside telehealth contexts. You can stay engaged with your patients and meet their expectations through messaging protocols, standalone automation solutions, and other means.
Before considering long-term engagement and marketing opportunities, you can use automated messaging for outreach on matters such as:
- Date-specific reminders for screening tests
- Screening surveys and coaching protocols
- Seasonal vaccination prompts
Such technology to enhance the patient experience can also go beyond simple notifications. By offering relevant forms, links, and other material in the messages themselves, you’ll be able to provide a more frictionless patient experience that only enhances overall satisfaction.
#3 Collecting and Analyzing Patient Data
To best refine such outreach and to ensure quality communications, you will need accurate, relevant, and up-to-date patient data. Healthcare digitization does entail a challenge in explosive data growth, as HealthITAnalytics reports, which is considerable given patient trends.
To address this challenge, you may leverage technology to ensure you have quality electronic health records (EHRs). Cloud-based EHRs have emerged as a potential solution to this problem and continue transforming the industry.
You may also consider Healthcare Customer Relationship Management (HCRM) systems. Such systems function similarly to their general CRM counterparts but focus more keenly on healthcare professionals' needs.
With these two, you can ensure your patient records are accurate, immediately accessible, and secure, all. At the same time, you also have built-in analytics tools to find actionable uses for said data.
#4 Improving the In-Patient Stay and Waiting Room Experience
This renewed efficiency may serve you well, but in-patient and waiting room experiences are just as vital to address. The previously shared findings make it clear; unpleasant waits and provider-patient interactions significantly impact patient satisfaction.
Thankfully, there are ways to implement technology to enhance the patient experience. Among others, waiting room upgrade ideas, you can include:
- Offering free internet to keep patients entertained
- Using front desk or automated message technologies to provide updates to ease the wait
- Installing self-serve kiosks to speed up patient registration and consent form processes, alongside other conveniences
Delays are, of course, inevitable, but the modern patient keeps note of them. Therefore, so should you by leveraging technology in the service of the patient experience.
#5 Simplifying Administrative Processes
Finally, the modern patient increasingly expects seamless interactions on the subject of delays. As MedicalEconomics reports, “49% [of patients surveyed] were frustrated with their physician’s hesitation in adopting digital administrative processes like online bill paying or access to insurance information.”
This pain point aligns with the above trends and highlights a crucial element in patient dissatisfaction.
When 83% of patients found pre- and post-visit administrative tasks to be the most frustrating part of their experience, this is not a factor to take lightly. It means you need to implement technology to enhance the patient experience.
You may consider online patient portals, mHealth apps, and similar touchpoints that enhance transparency and reduce time waste. Patients expect frictionless appointment booking and payment options, and technology is now here to meet their expectations.