Increased consumerization has revamped the experience lens in healthcare delivery, putting healthcare organizations' patient experience strategies at an inflection point. Consumers are asserting more influence over their medical care, taking advantage of technology that makes possible everything from virtual doctor visits on demand to digital health monitoring; opting for treatment at retail healthcare locations; taking health tests at home and more. 

In response, health care organizations’ leaders are embracing interventions that look at the “patient journey as a whole" throughout the care continuum. Putting together the pieces of the patient experience puzzle consumes a growing amount of time and budget: To fulfill their visions, organizations are making investments in initiatives that assist in closing the wellness and experience loop, including working closely with adjacent partners like social services, community outreach programs, health equity, and so on.

DXC recently organized a focus group discussion with healthcare leaders from diverse organizations, including payers and providers, to get a deeper understanding of how their organizations are adapting to deliver a more meaningful and pleasant consumer journey. 

Change is happening on all fronts in almost every healthcare discipline, no matter the size and scale of an organization. A few key themes that we took away from our discussion have emerged (Figure 1):

Figure 1. Key themes for delivering on the consumer experience in healthcare

Simplification: Digital front door is a buzzword that has gained momentum and is being tackled by each organization in its way. At the core of the concept, the care access journey is projected to be hybrid across virtual and in-person care. No matter how the patient chooses to engage with their care providers, it's crucial to provide flexible, multiple, simple, easy-to-choose access point options that deliver an "easy-to-locate care" experience.

Collaboration: Cross-team collaboration drives true impact. Even within the umbrella of experience initiatives, health systems continue to struggle with silos across teams including, but not limited to, digital, marketing and customer services teams, clinical operations, and patient advocacy groups. A conscious effort to break silos is a fundamental building block for success. In addition, as vertical integration across the industry is gaining momentum, provider and payer systems need to collaborate even more to drive a frictionless experience for consumers (members or patients).

Integrated Toolset: With the multitude of workflows, and care pathways that revolve around the core EHR systems, some organizations are making concerted efforts to build easy-to-integrate solutions outside of the EHR platform. Many organizations are now actively considering a product mindset and providing easy-to-develop functionalities at the fingertips of clinical and operations leaders as a means to address some of the operational and transactional challenges.

There is no silver bullet for solving the experience puzzle, nor is this a one-size-fits-all situation. It's encouraging to see that leaders and decision-makers across organizations are committed to promoting collaboration while they build experience strategies that are tailored to their organizations and the demographics of the communities that they serve.

About the author

Dr. Urvashi Pathak is a healthcare business technology executive who serves as director and principal industry strategist at DXC Technology. She specializes in the intersection of emerging technology, operational effectiveness and targeted innovation that results in portfolio stabilization and growth, improved care quality, reduced costs, better outcomes and enhanced experience. She has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles, including leading digital transformation journeys for U.S.-based health systems.