Improve Digital Patient  Experiences

The Digital Patient Experience Improvement Playbook

Why Read This Playbook

The boundary between digital and physical keeps getting blurrier, and emerging tech like virtual reality in healthcare and AI-powered Assistants is going mainstream. This is raising the bar for patient experience (PX): It's becoming not only omnichannel but more multisensory and complex to design. To adapt, companies must embrace a design thinking approach focused not on technology but on ease, effectiveness, and emotion.


Key Takeaways

Digital Enhances Patient Experiences

Today's customers expect seamless, relevant experiences in the moment. To deliver, leading firms are blending digital and physical to eliminate friction, give patients control, make them a participant in their own health and anticipate their needs.

Done Right, Digital Experiences Create Value

Well-executed digital experiences can reduce costs, expand your customer base, and boost loyalty with current customers to the tune of billions of dollars.


Consumers are today having the convenience of online in everything and this stays the same when they visit your hospital website. One consumer experience tool that is emerging as a solution for time-crunched consumers is digital self-scheduling — online tools to book appointments yourself, on your own time, for yourself or a family member.

Patients and consumers are busy, juggling multiple schedules from home and work, searching through a mountain of content for the best providers and experiences, and they simply don’t have time to wait when making a healthcare decision. For healthcare systems that offer online self-scheduling, usage rates are high – our own research has found that organizations with online scheduling options see a 24% increase in call volume. However, most systems have not yet rolled out this tool. Instead there is a false substitute called REQUEST appointment. While hospitals are meddling with the APIs and the IT systems configurations or upgradations, this wheel has already moved ahead to conversational experiences, personalised realtime conversational based experience.
Consumers are all used to chat, search by natural language on google, amazon, flipkart, whatsapp and so, just having online scheduling tool may not help in healthcare.

To deliver on these expectations, PX leaders blend physical touchpoints, face-to-face interactions, and digital interfaces to:

  • Eliminate patient pain. The traditional method of calling a hospital or healthcare center to book an appointment through a human who manages the schedule can be restrictive for a time-strapped consumer because it requires the individual to call during business hours. In countless studies, consumers say the top benefit of online self-scheduling is after-hours access, according to a review of scholarly articles published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Seventy-three percent of patients say that valuing their time is the most important thing a hospital can do to provide good service.


  • Give customers control. Digital technology helps hospitals  present potential patients with more information about the experience and the means to act on it. Many online appointment schedulers also show consumers what time slots are available, which adds transparency and helps them feel more informed and in control. Digital scheduling systems also allow patients to book same-day appointments. Both of these features mean that patients often can get appointments sooner, and it maximizes the resources for the healthcare center. 


  • Anticipate patient needs. The proliferation of patient data available to hospitals — about identity, preferences, appointment history, payment information, and more — let hospitals customize interactions and act proactively on a patient's behalf.  Hospitals remember past appointments/health checkups and offer them as shortcuts to patient booking appointments based on their past selections and preferences.


  • Boost honesty and feel connected: Patients are more honest about the reasons they are booking an appointment when they schedule it online through a personal computer or mobile device, according to the Journal of Medical Internet Research article. They provide more detailed descriptions of symptoms they may otherwise be embarrassed to describe on the phone.

Digital Experiences Provide Strategic Benefit

Firms that invest in improving digital customer experiences aligned with both customers' reality and their own core business initiatives will reap rewards. Done right, digital experiences:

  • Reduce costs.  When it comes to reducing friction for the patient and improving efficiency for the provider, one of the top areas that organizations today are focused on is the online appointment scheduling process. Providence St. Joseph Health, for instance, has rolled out an online booking platform that goes above and beyond simply booking appointments. The time savings experienced by a facility can translate into monetary savings, as both staff time and services translate into expenses and revenue, respectively. As staff resources can now be directed at other tasks, a scheduling system can eliminate the need for a staff member to work overtime or for management to hire new staff members to handle the work overload created by the appointment-scheduling process.

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  • Grow the customer base. People prefer when the steps to complete a goal are quick and easy. Recognizing this, prominent american organisations have improved its patient engagement tools for its patients. The result? Revenue reported was 12% more than the year before. NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital COO explains: "We've made it easier for patients to use our digital appointment and engagement tools that helps us increase patient experience and conversions." 


  • Boost loyalty. Fueling the trend: Multi Touchpoint patients spend more. As per the survey, it was found that patients who interact through digital mediums are three times more valuable than those who interact through calling channel. NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital not only spend 2.6 times more than customers who use a single channel but also have a retention index that is about 80% higher.


  • Patient Leakage - Patient referral rates have been steadily increasing, but one study showed that only up to 45% go to a partner hospital. One study estimated that out of 7,000 primary care patients were referred to a specialist, only 50% took treatment due to scheduling and follow-up failures.


  • Patient Retention- Connecting patients with the right care at the right time is an important value-based care principle that a hospital should consider as the most important factor for engagement and conversion. In the end, your patient will have better insight into their medical needs and be able to make a clear decision, while keeping your hospital at the top of their minds.

Undivided care and relationship:- More often, providers are unable to find the dedicated resources to manually reach out to all of their patients post-discharge. Even with fully staffed call centers, it can be challenging to ensure there is consistent outreach to every patient. This is where automated outreach proves to be an extremely powerful engagement tool. With technology, hospitals can reach out to 100% of patients, and do so multiple times throughout the 30-day window. Follow up not only makes patients feel more confident in their care, but it provides the opportunity to perform any service recovery, interaction can help resolve the concern and proactively address the issue. This is an important part of an effective patient engagement strategy and sometimes addressing an issue after discharge happens at the right time and is essential in keeping patients satisfied with their care.

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