Why a digital patient experience is no longer negotiable

Healthcare, Customer Experience

The pandemic accelerated digital growth in the healthcare industry. A strong digital patient experience used to be a “nice to have,” but now it’s essential. As healthcare consumer preferences change and innovations are embraced, healthcare organizations who don’t rise to the occasion will face challenges. 

Here are seven reasons a digital patient experience is no longer negotiable.

Patients are researching online

With a wealth of information available at people’s fingertips, customers are getting more savvy. Most healthcare consumers research potential healthcare providers online before booking with them, and they’re judging your digital presence. 

Over half of patients said the healthcare practice website influences their decision in choosing a provider, and 72% of patients read online reviews from other patients to inform their choices. This highlights the importance of a strong online presence in attracting new patients. Your website is your digital front door. Make sure you’re not slamming it shut when patients knock.

Patients expect a digital experience

The pandemic forced people to shift to digital solutions out of necessity. That shift changed patient expectations, and now, patients demand a great digital experience from their healthcare providers, platforms, and services. 

Some digital customer experiences in healthcare that are now expected include:

  • More personalized and expedited healthcare enrollment
  • Easy-to-use online self-service (patient portal)
  • Simple and secure online payments
  • Access to data, appointments, costs, etc.
  • Telemedicine
  • Quick responses (from humans) to online inquiries

A poor digital patient experience can drive patients away

A recent survey found that more than a quarter of patients have switched providers because of a poor digital experience. The same survey found that over half of patients would switch healthcare providers just to get access to touchless patient intake and registration tools, which underscores the importance of a strong digital patient experience.

The number of patients changing providers because of a poor digital health experience is up 40% from 2019.

(SOURCE: CEDAR 2020 HEALTHCARE CONSUMER EXPERIENCE STUDY)

Healthcare workers are burning out

Talent shortage is one of the biggest challenges healthcare organizations are facing today. It’s essential to reduce healthcare workers’ workload wherever possible to help prevent burnout.

A digital customer experience can promote greater efficiency and transparency. Online checkins allow billing to determine costs ahead of time. Digital communication tools can help improve patient loyalty and reduce no-shows. And providing service online can reduce some of the burden on your in-office staff.

Telehealth is here to stay

The rapid expansion of telehealth that was driven by the pandemic started as a temporary necessity, but it’s clear that it’s not going anywhere. Virtual visits have removed barriers and expanded access to care, providing an alternative option that is preferred by some patients. 

Over 60% of patients who used virtual care tools during the pandemic say they want to continue using the technology in the future. Virtual care is part of the digital patient experience, and those that don’t embrace this technology will likely lose even some long-term patients.

EHRs are not enough

Many health organizations lean on Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to drive their online patient experience. EHRs are important for recording and sharing vital patient information, but they don’t consider patient preferences. Patients want to access their health information online, but the vast majority don’t. A government report disclosed that just 15% of hospital patients electronically accessed their medical records despite 88% of hospitals offering access,  showcasing the need for a more user-friendly, patient-friendly system for sharing important data.

Digital-first brands are winning

The new customer experience is digital-first. Brands like Amazon, Netflix, and Google are succeeding because they provide an intuitive, frictionless experience for their customers. They don’t just provide a service, they anticipate customers’ needs.

Healthcare organizations can learn from these digital leaders by creating more effortless online experiences for their customers. By providing tools and processes that enable patients to better understand and manage their care, they can more seamlessly fit into their patients lives and improve care.

Improving the digital patient experience

Cultivating a more personal customer experience is a top priority for healthcare leaders driving its digital transformation. Patients demand a strong digital experience, but they also want a personal, human connection — especially from their healthcare experiences.

Download your free copy of our guide, Cultivating Personal Customer Experiences in Healthcare, to gain valuable information and insights to help you improve your digital patient experience.

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.