Patient experience has continued to drive health IT innovation this year and it doesn’t look like that will change in 2023. Whether it’s patient or consumer experience, digital engagement, or interactive patients, it is all about technology. As tradition, we have rounded up the industry leaders that have thoughts and predictions for what we might see in the new year. Here is what the experts have to say. And join us for the next few weeks as we look at what we might see in 2023.
Companies throwing technology at their staffing shortfalls — without first understanding the problem they’re solving for and how it actually impacts the customer experience — will be an utter failure. Spending millions of dollars on the latest digital innovation or optimization transformation won’t solve the patient experience and will ultimately hurt the company’s business. Some healthcare organizations say they’re in the business of improving patient experiences when they’re actually digitally optimizing and simply adding more technology to cover staffing shortages or eliminate overhead. Leaders must use technology to listen at scale to patients and know how and when to enable digital solutions and the staff they do have to do their best work.
In 2023, we’ll see healthcare organizations dramatically reallocate funding from surveys into conversational intelligence. Why? There are inherent flaws in using surveys as a measurement tool because they’re self-serving to the organization soliciting feedback. Surveys ask the questions healthcare organizations want answers to, while unsolicited feedback shared through a patient’s words, paradigm and perception is infinitely more valuable.
We don’t have a lack of data in healthcare. We have a value-realization problem with the data we already have. I foresee a greater investment in solutions that digest unstructured data in ways that give you much better eyes and ears into the state of your business and the state of your patient experience.
This coming year I am predicting digital engagement will start to pick up steam. Digital engagement comes in two forms. One is healthcare digital marketing. Traditional marketing was killed by COVID, and in the aftermath digital marketing will keep growing. Second, digital access and support will start to receive attention as the actual decision point in the patient journey. Because healthcare is slow, most leaders will not embrace this trend. Those that do will be rewarded handsomely for their efforts.
Simply offering telehealth appointments won’t cut it. Now more than ever, patients are demanding more from their healthcare experiences and a virtual visit is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2023, we are going to see patients seeking ongoing, established relationships with their care team, and in response, healthcare providers are going to turn to digital platforms that offer telehealth “plus.” This will include more frequent communication and feedback, and the ability to adjust care as needed.
Fertility Treatment and the Missing Ingredient? Transparency – Inviting the Patient into the Lab
Until recently, patients undergoing IVF found themselves in the dark. IVF professionals always try to provide insight and context to patients on why an IVF cycle was successful or not. However, too often, patients are told that there is no explanation available on why an embryo failed to implant. Now more than ever patients are looking to own their data. For the first time, with the inclusion of AI solutions into the IVF treatment process, physicians can share live data on embryo progression to give patients a seat at the table. Bringing transparency to the IVF treatment journey, AI is set to have a major impact on the IVF patient experience.
How the Digital Room of the Future can be used to improve the performance of health systems in 2023:
Within the healthcare environment, one of the top priorities of the c-suite is addressing rising healthcare consumerism. The demand is for the experience integrated with the latest/most remarkable technologies.
As we move into 2023, in addition to providing comprehensive interactive patient system implementations, the delivery of technology such as “physiological hall monitors, nurse station status boards, conference, and auditorium AV solutions” will be increasingly requested.
The patient experience with their healthcare provider will continue to take center stage in 2023. A major factor shaping patient experience is a patient’s interaction with the health technology connected to how they interact with their healthcare providers. Ultimately, the sum of these interactions either increase or decrease patient satisfaction, the quality of care they receive, and the ability to build trust and enduring relationships. We forecast this priority to come to the forefront in 2023 as technology solutions and consumer behavior continue to evolve. The collaborations between healthcare leaders and healthcare IT professionals are essential to fostering a better patient experience. Making the most of EHR systems, optimized telehealth, and patient data are key opportunities to bolster communication and build health system and provider trust. Healthcare IT professionals, more so than ever, are in a unique position to contribute to these efforts and positively impact patient care and overall patient experience.
In 2022, we observed an increasing demand that healthcare offer consumers and patients the same level of service and convenience they get in other areas of their lives – such as with Open Table or Uber. One prime opportunity for healthcare providers to meet these expectations is to implement expanded self-scheduling options in 2023. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting on hold, waiting for an agent to answer and then being asked questions you know are already part of your medical record. Call centers are understaffed and hiring is slow and hindered by a limited talent pool, so leveraging technology to automate the process is a high priority. Healthcare providers must embrace multi-channel digital solutions (voice and digital) that allow patients to not only schedule their own care, but to help them find the best doctor and location to receive it.
Taking a note from Disney – patient experience at the forefront of healthcare
The pandemic heightened patient demand for digital engagement – and in 2023, healthcare leaders will lean into the digital acceleration, identifying new avenues to connect with patients and amplify the patient experience. We’ll see more healthcare entities hiring individuals from companies including Disney and Carnival with top-tier customer experiences to optimize the patient journey and experience in a way the healthcare industry has not previously prioritized.
However, there will be a learning curve as the industry finds a healthy balance of how to engage patients and when. Understanding who the patient is and where they are at each step of their journey will be key to engaging logically and strategically. Patients need the right data at the right time to take the right action – whether that is filling out automated intake forms or engaging in the billing process following care. Aligned incentives across healthcare stakeholders will be critical in this process, working to improve care coordination and delivery. The more successful healthcare is at engaging with patients digitally, the more the industry can ask consumers to engage in more aspects of their care, and the greater momentum we’ll see next year and beyond.
The enhanced health experience that patients and providers have come to expect will expand significantly in 2023 as healthcare’s digital front door swings wide open to leverage advances in digital scheduling and remote care monitoring. Patients who now spend time researching care options, identifying new providers and playing an active role in their healthcare will continue to grow in number.
The ability to schedule, message a provider and pay bills will need to be offered widely to ensure providers remain key to their patients’ attention and outcomes. As this enhanced digital experience comes easy to many, care must still be taken to blend the human side of healthcare with these new advances so the indelible relationship between a patient and their provider is strengthened by the advances of the past several years.
Patient engagement will continue to expand through the use of conversational AI in support of revenue cycle management. By integrating functionality that not only allows hospitals to better recoup and manage revenue, but offers patients greater visibility into potential out-of-pocket costs, patient engagement providers will be able to help hospitals enhance finances as well as patient experience. Patient engagement is now a loaded term that encompasses a consumer oriented experience not just around clinical and administrative care, but patient billing transparency before and after a physician or hospital visit.
Consumerization across all industries has translated to a clear need for a more personalized patient experience in healthcare. As mainstream tech becomes increasingly ingrained in healthcare, practices are going to have to adapt to meet evolving patient preferences. A recent ModMed survey found 90% of patients want their doctors to use the latest tech, suggesting tools such as digital patient engagement can make the difference between retaining and losing patients.
Dave Palmer, President, Everise
Burnout overwhelmed the healthcare industry in 2022, and the heavy weight of these challenges continues into the new year. One of the biggest contributors to burnout is the significant amount of time nurses spend on the phone handling admin tasks, such as patient scheduling and appointment follow-up. In 2023, we are likely to see more providers explore new avenues to mitigating burnout, such as outsourcing to a third-party service provider, to help streamline these everyday processes and reduce administrative burden. Outsourcing solutions can help providers perfect the patient experience while keeping nurses off the phone, allowing them to save their voice for when it really matters – providing more personalized, quality care to the patients that need it.
Technology is table stakes. The actual game is how technology is applied. Using technology for positive outcomes is all about creating a delightful experience for the end-user. In a digital-ubiquitous world, we are asking payers, providers, and patients to change the way they interact with each other. Such behavioral change can only happen with a renewed emphasis on delighting consumers. The underlying technology—artificial intelligence, an intuitive interface, or just a well-designed workflow—is important but only to the extent that it enables a seamless and meaningful user experience.
I predict a new cultural war of engagement that has only begun but will continue to unfold in 2023. Cost pressures will keep rising, and only the healthcare systems that are intentional in their approach to competing in this new landscape will win the battle. Culture and cost strategies are the recipe for a really healthy year, because – at the end of the day – when employees’ well-being is considered, organizations achieve better outcomes.