Technology, a global pandemic, the adopting of patient-centered care, and evolving consumer demands are transforming every aspect of healthcare. As the dust of 2020 settles (yes, that was two years ago), we can see trends starting to emerge in the industry. In 2022, there’s a renewed focus on the end-to-end healthcare customer journey, and healthcare organizations that invest in CX can better meet today’s needs and prepare for tomorrow’s challenges.
Here’s an overview of key healthcare customer experience trends to know now.
*Don’t forget to download your free copy of our guide, Cultivating Personal Customer Experiences in Healthcare, for more insights.
Convenient, fast, and personalized — healthcare customers want it all
Consumerism has made customers expect more, and healthcare is no exception. Services like Amazon’s two-day shipping and Uber’s on-demand service have changed their industries because they offer unparalleled convenience.
Healthcare customers crave convenience, but not at the expense of quality or service. Especially in healthcare, customers want personalized, one-on-one attention. Essentially, they want it all, which is why healthcare organizations are focusing on the end-to-end customer journey.
Healthcare organizations are opening their digital front doors
The pandemic sped up digital transformation in healthcare. Healthcare provider and payer organizations rapidly embraced digital technologies to serve patients and customers, and now, the bar has been raised. Customers expect a digital-first approach: 80% of people surveyed said they prefer using digital communications with their healthcare providers. Over half (62%) reported using online messaging platforms and found them helpful.
It’s not enough to have the technology in place. It must be used efficiently and effectively. Some things can be quickly accomplished through a text message, like appointment reminders and online check-ins. Other things still require personal one-on-one interaction: for example, understanding an explanation of benefits statement. Healthcare organizations that have multiple touchpoints with their customers on a variety of platforms are creating positive experiences that foster higher satisfaction and loyalty.
An omnichannel approach is becoming the new normal
Part of opening the digital front door is embracing an omnichannel strategy. Customers want a seamless experience, no matter where or how they interact with your healthcare organization — in-person, video chat, text message, email, or social media.
Augmenting the healthcare consumer’s in-person visit creates value for both the customer and the healthcare organization. Customers get a better overall experience that is convenient and frictionless, and organizations gain efficiencies while reducing costs and improving patient satisfaction.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the game
Artificial intelligence is no longer something from a sci-fi movie. More healthcare organizations are embracing the technology to allow for quicker responses to routine inquiries, which reserves human customer service agents for only the more complex customer needs.
Beyond customer service, AI is expanding to help screen patients and assess symptoms. K Health, a chat-based healthcare delivery app, uses AI for initial patient intake before connecting patients to providers. AI is also used post-chat appointment to provide further instructions and information related to the diagnosis.
It’s important to note that AI does not replace human interaction. Instead, AI can provide more support to over-extended customer service and administrative team members and enable them to focus on more complex customer needs. It also gives healthcare customers quicker service for simple requests.
Telehealth is here to stay
Telehealth rapidly expanded out of necessity. But now, at least 64% of households have experienced the convenience of this form of care, and they want it to stay. In fact, 34% say they prefer telehealth to an in-person office visit, and another 35% of the public would consider replacing their primary care providers with physicians on demand through telehealth. That means greater competition, and a need to invest in telehealth.
Healthcare institutions are fine-tuning their telehealth setup, transforming this temporary fix into a permanent fixture. Healthcare providers are receiving training on improving their “webside manner” to better serve their patients via video appointment. Institutions are re-evaluating their software solutions. And more thought is being put into processes and systems to ensure a seamless experience for healthcare customers.
There’s tension building between security and transparency
Security and privacy is paramount in healthcare, for obvious reasons. On the flip side, healthcare customers want easy access to their data and information. This is creating tension, and healthcare organizations must consider and weigh security risks with customer needs.
Choosing a conservative route free from innovation means losing patients, who will turn elsewhere to find the convenience and access they desire. It’s not an either/or situation. Strengthening customer data privacy while also being transparent with patients is a key challenge in 2022 and beyond.
Human connection is everything
Although most trends revolve around technology and data, human connection is still at the center of everything. The pandemic reminded society how important person-to-person interactions are. Technology can’t replace human connection, but it can create more opportunities for those connections to happen. The healthcare customer experience should integrate as many moments of human connection as possible.
Here at Glance, we help facilitate a more personal patient experience at moments that matter most. Solutions like cobrowse, website chat, and customer service video can elevate your digital patient experience to improve patient satisfaction and loyalty. Request a demo today to see how Glance can transform your patient experience.
Elevate the healthcare customer experience: download your guide
Are you striving to improve your healthcare customers’ end-to-end experience? Download your free copy of our guide, Cultivating Personal Customer Experiences in Healthcare, to gain valuable information and insights to propel you forward.