Putting patient experience at the center of care

In the rapidly changing modern healthcare environment, it is no longer tenable to collect patient feedback in an old-fashioned manner. The consumer patient of today is increasingly expecting a seamless, customer-centered approach to their care and having a good experience is key. 

At the core, healthcare is an experience business and this applies to everyone in the healthcare ecosystem, be it patients, family members, providers or volunteers. The high quality, safe, compassionate care that is delivered at the lowest cost and/or value is often difficult and something that needs to be understood and managed closely. 

As a result, experience management needs to become incorporated into the day to day operations across an organisation.

Experience management – a new way of engaging with patients

“Experience management (XM) is the discipline of using both experience data (X-data) and operational data (O-data) to measure and improve the four core experiences of any business: customer, employee, product and brand,” explained Susan Haufe, Healthcare Chief Industry Advisor, Qualtrics.

XM enables an organisation to succeed in the demanding healthcare environment by enabling them to do three things: 

  • Continuously Learn – understanding how the experiences delivered affect all the people (employees, customers, caregivers, etc.) that interact with the organisation. Learning how these experiences impact the organisation’s brand and culture can help them implement processes that address customer service interactions.
  • Propagate Insights – put the right information in the right form and in front of the right people to help them make better decisions.
  • Rapidly Adapt – building the capabilities to be able to respond to insights quickly and make changes to improve the experience.

“Patient satisfaction surveys have been the industry’s primary tool for trying to understand and manage the experiences being delivered — but their impact is limited. To truly transform experiences, it’s time to look beyond patient satisfaction surveys and move towards a more holistic approach to accurately measure and glean insights from timely, role and site-based feedback – and then use these insights to make patients feel known and understood and help systems achieve financial health and improve quality and wellness outcomes,” said Haufe.

Current patient satisfaction surveys fail to give organisations the right data, at the right time, and in the right form to surface predictive insights that matter most across the patient experience and activate the entire organisation for improved outcomes. Healthcare needs a different way to continuously listen.

A new approach

Gaps exist in experiences when there is a difference between what patients and families expect and what their actual experience looks and feels like. 

“In order to understand where those gaps exist, you can use journey maps to identify all of the touchpoints impacting a patient’s experience. Using this method, you can create a roadmap for effectively capturing relevant feedback about the moments that matter the most from your patients,” Haufe suggests. 

Once the key moments in a patient’s journey are identified, it is time to gather insights into what is working, what is not and where to make improvements. 

By adding “listening posts” at each critical moment of the patient journey, the organization can then identify where to focus their energy and resources for the greatest impact. It can also decide where best to start – that might be within its contact center, through digital intercepts on the organisation’s website or mobile app, or soliciting feedback after an appointment through SMS or touch screens installed on premise. 

“Modern feedback tools are different from the patient satisfaction surveys we have known. Questionnaires can be administered in real-time and are quick to complete. They ask a few insightful questions and are powered by artificial intelligence to create meaningful feedback experiences that strengthen the relationship with your customers. 

The approach is facile, so as you learn more about the experiences of the people that matter most (not only your patients and families, but also your staff, providers and communities you serve), you can mold and adjust your data collection to gain deeper understanding. Results are collected on a single platform allowing for deeper analytics and insight delivered in real-time,” added Haufe.

Listening leads to insights and action

Once an organisation has comprehensive experience data (X-data) from a variety of sources, it can begin to layer that data with their operational data (O-data) to transform how this information leads to powerful, clarifying insights.

With the X- and O-data combined, organizations will have the tools to start making improvements with real impact. The organisation will know what it needs to fix and what impact it will have on their most important metrics, whether it is patient satisfaction, clinical outcomes, or business metrics like revenue and profit. By prioritising its investments in effectively measuring patient experience, the organisation will gain the insights needed to demonstrate the impact of its improvements.

Haufe concludes, “This is what XM looks like. As you strengthen the discipline of XM across your organisation, you develop habits of continuously listening, propagating insights and rapidly adapting, ultimately improving experiences.”

For more information about how healthcare providers can move beyond the norm to better listen to patients, healthcare workers, and clinicians to drive maximum impact, visit here.

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