Hospitals and healthcare systems can develop digital and mobile strategies that meet their unique needs.
Now that the immediate pressure of COVID-19 has passed and the urge to implement and adopt digital offerings has subsided, healthcare leaders are beginning to thoroughly review their digital strategy.
Top of Mind: “What are the digital skills that matter most to us – and how can we refine those skills for better patient experiences?”
COVID-19 underscored flaws in the digital approach of some healthcare systems. For example, in a rush to mobilize a digital presence, say for virtual care, most healthcare systems invested in at least three platforms; In fact, 20% of academic medical systems host eight or more platforms, a survey found.
Now, “platform sprawl” is a barrier to seamless digital experiences. It’s one of the reasons 77% of healthcare leaders say their goal is to move toward a single, fully integrated platform.
A fresh look at digital investments and capabilities from the perspective of what works – and what doesn’t – is critical to a truly transformative approach.
Here are three lessons learned in developing a digital and mobile strategy that best meets an organization’s unique needs.
Avoid a disjointed experience.
This occurs when many digital components are put together but don’t complement each other, resulting in a disjointed experience.
A thoughtful approach considers every aspect of the patient journey to consider: “How could we offer patients a consistent ‘digital companion’ throughout their care experience?” It considers the larger framework of a digital healthcare platform along with the critical role of mobile engagement.
From there, teams can list the services that a consumer might find most beneficial, from the ability to schedule services online or view wait times at emergency clinics, to guidance outside of the hospital lobby, access to discharge instructions after a patient visit, and communication with a patient Nurse if questions arise and online bill payment. This creates a cohesive experience consumers crave and increases engagement and digital retention rates.
At Piedmont Health in Atlanta, where the healthcare system’s mobile platform is integrated with its Epic EHR, the ability to both integrate MyChart and add custom functionality resulted in a highly agile platform. This enabled Piedmont to respond quickly to changing needs during the pandemic. As COVID-19 vaccines became available, the healthcare system used push notifications to alert consumers and enabled online registration and guidance to vaccination centers. This gave consumers the information they needed at the touch of a button on their smartphone, relieving the burden on customer call center staff.
Break down barriers to digital entry.
If a consumer wants to use your company’s mobile platform for guidance, does that person need to remember their patient portal login?
It’s one thing to protect access to medical records and other sensitive information. Another is to require users to authenticate their identity before checking emergency room wait times, searching for a doctor, or searching for information about a specific service, such as a doctor’s office. B. the health services of the health system for mothers.
Look for ways to facilitate access to digital information and services where it makes sense. Remember: not everyone accessing your mobile platform is a patient with a portal username and password. The mobile platform should serve as a digital front door for everyone in your community.
When patients need to enter a username and password, it’s worth the effort. At University Health in San Antonio, patients can use the mobile platform to book appointments and access their medical records, as well as access a chatbot to answer questions if they arise or get help navigating from home to the point of care.
Bring the right digital design people together.
One of the downsides to innovation at the height of the pandemic was the speed with which the transformation had to happen. For healthcare systems that had not yet explored mobile platforms, this made it difficult to gather input at scale on the features that would drive installs and keep consumers coming back.
Now, healthcare leaders have an important opportunity to engage multiple stakeholders—from marketing to patient access to employee and consumer focus groups—to help answer the question, “What mobile experience do consumers want most?”
They may also use staff to encourage use of the mobile platform by teaching consumers what they could gain from using the app, e.g. For example, the ability to more effectively monitor their chronic condition or request a refill of medication from their doctor.
At WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, NC, executives hosted a “launch party” for their mobile platform where employees could try out the healthcare system’s new digital platform and provide feedback. They also put up posters in all facilities and in the parking garage, and created TV ads announcing the app’s arrival, and included messages in staff and physician newsletters about what to expect.
Today, WakeMed employees often act as “mobile ambassadors” showing patients how to use the app and all the features they have access to. Even if your company has rolled out its mobile solution, now might be the right time for a “relaunch party” to demonstrate its value.
By rethinking digital investments from the perspective of user experience and operational impact, healthcare systems can more effectively realign their approach towards long-term engagement and value.
Joshua Titus is the CEO and Founder of Gozio Health.