84% of hospital leaders rank patient experience as a top priority. Not only does the level of patient experience indicate how well care providers are performing their jobs, it impacts patient retention, competitiveness with other providers, compliance, reimbursement rates, and more.
Providing an excellent patient experience goes far beyond how well your caregivers treat physical ailments. It engages the entire patient journey – beginning with the information a potential patient finds online before deciding to book an appointment through how successfully the provider prevents a medical relapse, and including every physical, emotional, and environmental detail in between. Understanding the data points that exist at each of these steps is fundamental to the longevity and success of healthcare providers.
Understanding What Goes Into an Excellent Patient Experience
Good clinics, hospitals, and other caregivers understand that patient treatment includes – but extends far beyond addressing physical ailments. The emotional state of the patient plays a major role in healing and patient wellbeing. Details like the empathy, knowledge, and approachability of every member of the staff, from the call center and reception through nurses and doctors, to check out are important. So are details like facility layout and cleanliness. And so are details like how long a patient waits before being called to the treatment room and then how long they wait to be seen.
Across the patient journey, every detail matters. For providers, the best chance to get each of those details right exists in the patient data itself. By integrating business intelligence capabilities across the patient journey, clinics can glean specific macro and micro level data, analytics, and actionable insights about patient expectations and experience.
This well of objective, associative analytics can expose gaps in the patient journey, identify quality of care issues, highlight training needs, and uncover other factors vital to the success of providers and the industry – and the overall wellbeing of patients.
Gathering Patient Experience Intelligence
Hospitals, clinics, and caregivers can gather patient data from two main sources – online (i.e., the clinic website) and the physical clinic. In doing so it’s vital to make sure that each of the sources corresponds with a phase in the patient journey so the insights lead to more personalized, fulfilling interactions that solidify positive patient-caregiver relationships.
Online Sources: Booking, Pre-Arrival
An omnichannel experience is incredibly important. The information you share through your website may be your first engagement point. More than half of people research healthcare providers online before they book an appointment. Just as many use social media channels and review sites to share their impressions about the level of care. They expect to book their appointment online and remain informed via emails or texts leading up to the visit.
Information about decision factors like booking channels and methods, appointment times, and referral sources can shape more personalized patient-staff interactions at check-in and throughout the appointment, as well as aid in operational strategy like staffing for patient volume.
On Site Source: Arrival, Check-in, Appointment and Feedback
From the point at which the patient arrives, their every movement can produce useful quantitative data. It can include everything from arrival information, wait times, total visit durations, and even post-care feedback. All of the data, particularly when combined with the data from booking and pre-arrival shape a clear illustration of specific areas of how well your clinic is managing patient flow, care, staffing, and other key elements of a high-quality patient experience.
It’s when all of the data generated across the healthcare ecosystem are manipulated that the useful, actionable macro (all hospital) and micro (department, staff) insights emerge. For example, the turnover rate for nurses and assistants is twice that of physicians. Clinics lose a tremendous amount of money every year on having to re-hire and train these valuable staff members. Understanding efficiency indicators like wait times and satisfaction scores can highlight areas of stress before they become a reason for attrition.
Immediate Benefits of Engaging Big Data in the Patient Journey
For the past few years, the amount of global digital healthcare data has been growing at a rate of almost 50x. By 2020, experts predict that the industry will be deluged with 25,000 petabytes of patient data. Many care providers are struggling to keep up and make sense of the flood of data input. (Because as we know; more data isn’t necessarily the same as good data.) But the effort is worthwhile.
- Lower risk and cost by reducing the rate of readmissions. It’s estimated that 30% of total annual healthcare costs and 20% of all hospital admissions happen within 30 days of a previous discharge, indicating that caregivers may be missing a key diagnosis or treatment protocol as they move patients through the journey.
- Avoid unnecessary expenses, improve patient satisfaction, and raise patient outcome scores by staying attuned to potential operational issues, training gaps, or other objective causes of preventable medical errors.
- Secure reimbursements and avoid emergencies by understanding where education and follow-up care is needed.
Reduce operational costs – in the U.S., avoiding unnecessary procedures and fixing patient process inefficiencies could save an estimated $600 billion for the healthcare industry.
- Better healthcare outcomes come from the quality of the data and a capacity to put it to use.
Image courtesy: Qmatic