When we think of the patient experience, we often think of the many touchpoints during a face-to-face interaction. In today’s world, digital encounters are an important part of the overall experience as well.
This past week, my husband had a battery of tests in follow-up to a physical exam. He was a bit anxious about having the tests, and then having to wait for the results. He was both impressed and relieved to have prompt results delivered to his smartphone through the online portal. He could see the results and where he fell within the normal ranges. But what impressed him the most was that his physician also sent a personal note with a summary of her impressions and next steps – all in layman’s terms. Within 10 minutes of her note, he received a text from Walgreens that his new prescription was ready for pick up.
In this example, the digital experience included imparting information (test results) as well as reassurance and next steps provided through the personal email.
Rewind the clock a few years, and he’d still be waiting for the results that would be delivered via phone call or office visit. The waiting and wondering was stressful for patients and the follow up was often overwhelming for the providers and their staffs.
We are fortunate to be living in a world where we can use our smart phones for everything from ordering pizza to scheduling rides and appointments. In healthcare, smartphones have become the lifeline to information and engagement. My concern is that in some organizations, anything digital is technology that sits within the IT silo, rather than cross pollinating with the patient experience goals and strategies. Let’s make sure we’re talking to each other internally. We have great opportunities to continue making the patient experience more seamless, efficient and enjoyable.