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Health is the business of medical relationships. However, until recently, the health ecosystem has minimized the relational part of this equation. Today, healthcare innovators are inventing new models that empower patients to be stewards of their own care.

Welcome to the first rounds of a paradigm shift in healthcare.

Welcome to Client-Centred Healthcare

Today’s patients have become far more informed customers of health services, raising ever-higher expectations for personalized care delivered through an ever-widening range of high value-added health services that go beyond the occasional office visit. This shift is based on consumers’ growing belief that more, better, and often prevention-focused information—combined with frequent, personalized engagement and frictionless ways to access services—will help improve health outcomes. health for them and their families.

  • They demand to know more about the health care services available to them, including the full range of treatment choices and medications available. A strong, communication-oriented relationship with their healthcare providers has become a critical factor in their decision-making process.
  • They seek personal health advice, medication reminders, appointment updates, and personalized attention to their individual needs. Today’s healthcare client is more engaged in managing their own health responsibilities and those of their family.
  • They realize more than ever that prevention is key to better health outcomes. Offering these increasingly engaged consumers more than traditional medical services based on office visits extends and strengthens the brand value of the providers who deliver that value.

From differentiator to table stakes

A growing number of healthcare providers are beginning to recognize the critical value of improving the customer experience they deliver to their patients and have taken steps to implement patient portals and other communication features. digital to their online presence – but they are the exception rather than the rule. And the consumer experience offered by these early adopters – more often than not – falls far short of the demands of today’s healthcare customers.

At the end of the line ? When it comes to the robust, highly tactile customer experience that today’s healthcare customers are accustomed to receiving from providers of other foundational products and services, most healthcare providers just aren’t up to snuff. Scheduling a medical visit should be as easy as getting a seat in a movie theater. Today, an excellent patient experience is a key differentiator – a competitive advantage – but it will soon become table stakes for any healthcare provider.

As the offering of this digital component to healthcare shifts from a “love to have” to a “must have”, providers will need to reposition themselves by creating a comprehensive, patient-centric customer journey in order to succeed in this transformation. digital health care.

The value of asynchronous and preventive care

Modern healthcare combines scheduled office visits with frequent touchpoints, valuable information and content accessed asynchronously – that is, on each patient’s schedule – allowing them to integrate this added value into their daily health decisions. Tools such as instant messaging, wellness programs, personalized videos, personal care plans, and wearable device integration can provide real-time support and increase live visits to the office.

Let’s be clear: digital technology will never replace in-person care, but it can dramatically augment and expand the relationship between provider and patient. Modern healthcare is all about goals and outcomes, and bridging the gap between office visits has become even more critical with the Covid-19 pandemic. Patients have looked to providers to help them stay vigilant and proactive throughout their care journey, creating opportunities for a stronger, closer relationship with their healthcare providers.

What it will take

Shifting to a personalized, digital healthcare experience isn’t as easy as it first appears. Transitioning from a siled, hospital or office model using traditional healthcare practices and legacy, billing code oriented electronic health records (EHRs) is no small feat.

Healthcare providers can’t just add a few customer-focused features to bulky billing software packages that aren’t designed to accommodate this level of customer interaction. Rethinking the entire patient-as-consumer experience to create something pure, clean, modern and user-friendly is a fundamental requirement to building and sustaining their brand.

A roadmap to success

For today’s healthcare provider, this customer experience must begin upon admission, ideally before the patient makes their first visit to the office. Establishing a complete picture of the patient’s existing healthcare habits, concerns, existing medical conditions, family history of illness, etc., should be captured in detail during the admission process to create a holistic, dynamic and integrated healthcare plan.

Intake forms, questionnaires, desired outcomes, and milestones for getting there can set expectations and establish a solid foundation for ongoing dialogue and engagement. Tools that help patients track their progress, such as push notifications, well-vetted content from experts, and other value-added services provided on a regular basis, are all essential parts of a customer experience and relationship. solid and continuous supplier.

Trust is key

In the end, it all comes down to trust – trust in the actual care provided, trust in the information provided to them, and trust that the digital relationship offered by providers initially will continue. Perhaps more than anything, patients need to trust that the personal data accumulated by their healthcare providers remains private, protected and used only to meet their individual medical needs.

Just look at the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade to see how critical data privacy has become in all patient-provider relationships – not just those involving reproductive health. Conversations between patient and provider – including digital exchanges – raise the potential for concern at all levels. All health service providers have been involved in this data privacy debate, with significant consequences for those who are not fully prepared.

The bar has been raised significantly for digital health services on many fronts. Savvy leaders would do well to approach them in a way that is comprehensive, proven, and focused on the customer experience.

The earliest would be best.

Photo: Mykyta Dolmatov, Getty Images

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