Right from the time of entering a hospital, there are many challenges that patients go through, like finding the right department, booking their appointment with the right doctor, waiting in the queue for their turn etc, that feel even more pressing due to their sickness.
Although the exploding growth in technology has enabled the doctors to work better and faster, the patient experience in general has remained an area untouched in the healthcare system. Doctors conventionally spend a big portion of their time taking notes from the patients, thus reducing the actual time they spend interacting with the patient for diagnosis and assessment. Services like text-to-speech transcription, are now available that assist the doctor in taking their notes, thus freeing the doctor to spend time with the patient in actual medical process.
Health care facilities are coming up with more and more such initiatives that help in improving the experience of patients, while making them feel even more cared and rightly assisted. Let us explore some of these trends.
Every hospital registers their first time patients and assign them a unique identification number. The patient’s medical data is stored digitally against that identification number by the hospital. The analysis of this medical history can throw light on a lot of information about the patient. It can also help predict the diseases that the patient may be prone to contact, and provide the medical advice accordingly, for example, analyzing the data of a patient with history of recorded high blood pressure may help the doctor predict that they might need heart related services in future.
Capturing the right information at the time of registration is therefore, of utmost importance. The customer experience department of a hospital can easily handle this process digitally. Customer experience tools like voice assistant can provide patients important self-help when they call a hospital. Patients can register themselves by sharing the details on a voice prompt, saving them time when they visit the hospital.
Patients sometimes find the task of navigating through the hospital, finding the right physician for themselves, claiming insurance policy etc a little daunting. Therefore, some hospitals are now providing kiosks that help patients get navigational help, information on physicians, and any other relevant information that may help the customer speedup the process. With video chat enabled kiosks, patients can easily communicate with helpdesk or nurse for quick guidance.
Even, these tasks can easily be automated with the help of contact center solutions like visual IVR. A Visual IVR is a digital interface that can be shared easily through a link. How it helps is, patients can book their appointment on the Visual IVR link and with an SMS integration, they will instantly get the directions to the department, or instruction on if they have to come empty stomach. The SMS integration will also give them reminders of their appointment.
Just like, there is competition in other businesses; there is a lot of competition in the medical space as well. Yes, patient attrition is real. Patient attrition happens when a patient after visiting your facility ones moves to another doctor or facility for their future medical needs. One way to reduce patient attrition is post visit follow-ups. This can be achieved by making phone calls to treated patients to know about their state of health, their experiences and issues faced. These calls can further strengthen the relationship between the patient and the hospital, and maintain continuity in future. For effective team management a medical facility can also automate these calls with call blasts or automated voice calls that can take inputs. These automated call blasts can also transfer to a nurse if the patient says they are uncomfortable after their procedure.
These are some trends that have emerged in the healthcare space and are being extensively followed by the medical facilities sensitive to their patient base. Let us now understand how building the right patient experience can reduce patient attrition. First, let us understand Patient Attrition at a greater length.
As mentioned above patient attrition is the loss of patients to another healthcare facility. Every year patient attrition results in severe losses to a healthcare provider. It is one thing to say you have an annual 18% attrition rate. It is quite another to translate that into lost revenue and discover you are losing away to the tune of $250,000 (or millions of dollars) each year.
Worse still, remember that all of a healthcare provider’s efforts to increase new patients will be fruitless if they end up with as much or more patient attrition as they achieve in new patient volume. Example, if you achieve 10% growth in new patient volume, but you simultaneously experience a 20% loss in your established patient base—the net result is definitely not in your favor.
Providing better patient experience goes hand-in-hand with increased patient retention. Here are a few things to keep in mind to improve patient experience in a hospital.
Treat your patient’s time with respect
Anticipate problems and obstacles.
Reach-out when visits are overdue.
Pay attention to needs and concerns.
The developments in the medical and technological fields are evolving at a fast pace. From medical equipment that are AI enabled, to Virtual Reality to explain the patient a medical process, technology is changing the game in the medical space. But human being remain at the core of a successful healthcare functioning. It is important to make the patient feel not only cared, but rightly cured too. The need of the hour is to deliver experience that don’t just impress within a healthcare facility but even after the patient has left the hospital premise.
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Author Bio: Akanksha is an IT enthusiast, having an experience of 7 years in marketing and promotion. She has experience in varied industries, in positions working across the line of marketing. She is a day dreamer, an avid reader and a crazy traveler when she is not working.