Tech's potential in curbing healthcare burnout and boosting the consumer experience – Mobihealth News

Photo: aydinmuthlu/Getty Images 
Today patients are moving into the driver’s seat of their care. The digitization of health and high-deductible health plans has continued to push the dialog around the consumerization of care. This, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, exposed patients to different modalities of care. 
So what’s next for the patient experience? MobiHealthNews asked Banner Health’s customer experience channels VP, Christen Castellano, about the consumerization of healthcare ahead of her presentation at HIMSS22. 
MobiHealthNews: How do you think the consumerization of healthcare is changing the expectations of traditional providers?
Castellano: Since I am not a provider, I asked a few of our physicians, and here’s what I learned. Most of our physicians are in geographies where we’ve always had competition. So, in that way, consumerism has always been a part of healthcare from the provider’s perspective. 
Whether it was having a friendly and knowledgeable nurse, gaining a reputation as “the best doctor” in town, or developing relationships with a referral base, there’s always been a rudimentary understanding that patients have a choice and will exercise that choice if they don’t feel they are getting value for their dollar. This has only increased with the prominence of high-deductible health plans.
What has had a greater impact on physician expectation is the proliferation of care-delivery options. This has come in many forms: employers directly contracting with provider entities, telehealth capabilities and care-delivery organizations focusing on small population subsets like Medicare Advantage, etc.
This proliferation of care-delivery options has created more choice for both patients and physicians/providers. More choice has resulted in the perception that the physician-patient relationship, especially in the primary care arena, is more fungible than it has ever been.
These shifts, with many other digital forces both in and out of healthcare, have resulted in physicians redefining what patient experience means to them. There is now a broader understanding of what patients want – an omni-channel customer experience that is convenient, consistent, coordinated and compassionate – and at a low cost. 
Providers need to solve patients’ issues (help heal) but also provide a positive experience to ensure the patients want to return. Pre-visit, visit and post-visit interactions need to be consumer-centric: [to be] easy, demonstrate care and exceed customer expectations to support brand loyalty.
MobiHealthNews: Who needs to be at the table when creating new digital tools? 
Castellano: It takes a multidisciplinary approach to ensure digital tools are accurate and easy for consumers – and accurate and easy for employees.
MobiHealthNews: How has COVID-19 changed the consumer experience?
Castellano: The pandemic was the ultimate business stress-test. This means that customer expectations have heightened the opportunities and the strengths of digital capabilities to enable a frictionless experience.
Consumers have more quickly adapted to telehealth and experiences eliminating people interaction. Portal usage, app usage and online scheduling have all increased to schedule appointments, cancel and reschedule appointments, check results, and order meals when in the hospital, etc. 
Content and messaging around COVID-19 changes rapidly. Consumers use websites, blogs and other social media to stay informed. Our research indicates that consumers trust health systems for accurate information, so we have taken an omni-channel approach to be the “wise guide” for our consumers using these digital tools. 
But I can tell you what hasn’t changed. What hasn’t changed is the fact that a quality and safety-first experience remains a must for consumers, healthcare providers, patients and health systems.
MobiHealthNews: Do you think tech can help mitigate burnout? How?
Castellano: Yes, successful digitization requires standardization and ease of use. That combination can be useful in mitigating burnout for:
The HIMSS22 session “Customer Experience 2.0: Building Beyond Digital Foundations” will take place on Thursday, March 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Orange County Convention Center W303A.
An inside look at the innovation, education, technology, networking and key events at the HIMSS22 Global Conference & Exhibition in Orlando.

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© 2022 MobiHealthNews is a publication of HIMSS Media
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