In a new report, the American Hospital Association (AHA) suggests three ways health systems can leverage technology to create a seamless digital experience for patients.
In a 2021 survey from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, 50 health care organizations reported record-high usage of patient portals, online health information gathering tools, and mobile apps.
According to the survey, 77% of respondents said they were actively investing in improved patient portals and mobile apps. In addition, over 50% of respondents said they planned to invest in technology that would allow them to communicate with patients through text messages. And almost 40% of respondents said they already had automated engagement workflows, such as appointment self-scheduling, referral management, and pre-procedure communications.
Separately, a CB Insights report from 2021 found that 60% of organizations were adding new digital projects, and 42% of providers said they were prioritizing their existing digital transformation plans, AHA reports.
Overall, the top three areas health care organizations were reportedly investing in were all aimed at enhancing the consumer experience—with 75% investing in telemedicine, 64% investing in EHR capability, and 56% investing in patient portals and digital messaging platforms.
To give patients an optimal digital experience, health leaders must recognize that technology is just one part of the solution. AHA recommends three steps for health care systems and hospitals trying to optimize digital tools for a seamless patient digital experience:
1. Prioritize customer experience
To deliver a high-quality customer experience—both onsite and offsite—health leaders must analyze core processes and technology, process and implement change, and foster a culture of accountability to provide support to customers.
2. Leverage data to improve the patient experience more broadly
With advancements in sensors, mobile devices, and telehealth, patient care has been extended beyond traditional facilities. New venues of care have brought both opportunities and unique challenges to patient experiences.
To ensure that patients are receiving a high-quality experience across the entire health system, AHA recommends evaluating and improving patient-centric processes, such as technical support for wearable devices, logistical support for at-home specimen collections, and remote care for home-based patients.
3. Find opportunities to deliver a high-quality patient experience
AHA recommends health systems utilize EHR data and patient-reported outcomes to personalize messages, treatment options, and health-maintenance and lifestyle-change programs. (Diaz, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/23; AHA Center for Health Innovation Market Scan report, 2/21)
Health care stakeholders need to think beyond the patient portal when it comes to digital access and engagement. An effective digital front door strategy can improve patient activation, communication, and satisfaction at every major touchpoint along the care journey—well before a patient even seeks care.
Here we outline how your team can leverage technology to redefine service quality.
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