I’ve spent the last month in/out of some of the country’s largest (best?) healthcare systems. Not as a consultant or venture capitalist working on a healthcare cx transformation, but as a patient. Here is a summary of my customer experience: Regardless of the hospital size, location, and reputation all I can say is, “Come on healthcare… You’ve got to do better than this!” The modern healthcare system is broken, and at the frayed end of the whip is the customer (or patient and their family/loved ones). There is a tremendous lack of patient engagement highlighting the importance and benefits of an omnichannel consumer experience, especially in light of providers and payers (insurance) struggling to communicate with care, compassion, and ethics.
Without Your Health, What Do You Have?
I’ve seen it throughout my professional career/personal life… Those that seemed to put off til tomorrow what they could have been doing today in the hope that they would be in a better position to live the life of their dreams. Of course, some made it happen while others didn’t for a variety of reasons (i.e., poor business decisions, market conditions, etc.) But there is one group that never achieves that nirvana dream life, those that have poor health.
One of my mentors shared with me early on in my professional career, “Just remember Sam… Without your health, you’ve got nothing!” It was meant to be a sobering reminder to take good care of myself (body and mind). But as a freshly minted-MBA graduate with the world as my oyster, I can honestly say that their message rang hollow and didn’t resonate (I instead adopted a “Work hard, play hard” philosophy!)
If it sucks to grow old, and age is the one facet of life you can count on doing (you can/should rule out getting hit by a bus to stop the aging process), then we’re all going to advance in years. Along with those advancing years comes a myriad of opportunities/problems/struggles. And unable to escape the gravitational pull of aging years and health issues, I found myself in/out of several hospitals for nearly all of the last month.
Maybe It’s Just Me, Maybe It’s COVID-19, or Maybe It’s Broken Healthcare!
Healthcare that is of high quality no longer is available in traditional clinical settings and the spread of the pandemic has intensified the shift in healthcare delivery. As healthcare services shift away from the hospital and doctors offices, it’s more vital than ever before to get healthcare consumers involved and build the healthcare experience from that of the customer, or patient. This is not just about better engagement strategies, but also a major improvement in the healthcare customer experience (CX) which has been in a rut in comparison to other industries’ CX (more on this in a minute). As a patient, I struggled with attempting to identify “How can payers and providers enhance the CX and get people involved in their own health right now?” (and apparently so did they!)
Healthcare can draw lessons from methods of engagement for consumers employed by other industries. If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen how fitness, entertainment and other industries demonstrate the way that omnichannel experiences can lead to greater engagement. Digital experiences let companies engage with customers more frequently and in greater depth, not every day or even twice a year, as is the case in healthcare.
In extending the frequency of interactions with consumers to weekly or monthly with omnichannel engagement strategies healthcare providers and payers can offer guidance, education and preventive services that support the business goals and improve health outcomes.
The Consumer Experience in Healthcare Reimagined
The current healthcare CX is not designed specifically for consumers, patients, or their families. The majority of healthy consumers are only engaged a few times per year, and the payers and providers naturally interact more frequently with people with chronic illnesses and/or require immediate treatment. Healthcare systems for consumers are difficult to navigate and the experience is sporadic and confusing (understatement!), with a variety of options and unreliable user interfaces (even face-to-face).
So, what do I want from my healthcare experience? I don’t think I’m alone when I share that healthcare customers want a modern/easy experience, with a central location to get access to the information, navigate and pay for healthcare in a manner that’s customized, digital and always available. Afterall, other industries utilize platforms to provide a consumer-focused and omnichannel experiences for their users, so why not healthcare? These platforms make use of information to orchestrate and create customized user experiences. Consider how Netflix utilizes your history of streaming to suggest content regardless of what device you’re using.
Why Is The Long Road To Recovery So Long?
I find myself healing, perpetually exhausted, and all the while swimming through the seemingly unending stream of bills coming my way. A process that I’m pretty confident has been elongated by healthcare payers and providers. If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am. If I sound optimistic, I am not. I’m left with a continuous thought of, “Come on Healthcare… You’ve got to do better than this!”
Sam Palazzolo, Managing Director @ Tip of the Spear