In any industry, the systems created to enhance customer experience are in orbit around a singular premise: trust. In healthcare, trust is foundational to patient experience, yet it is still largely ignored in our conversations about healthcare transformation.
In order for patients to feel confident in the care they are receiving—and for a great patient experience—they need to trust their care providers. It’s an endemic challenge across healthcare as patients deal with a widening nebula of care providers—both traditional and virtual—using different modalities of communication for each.
The decentralization and democratization of healthcare mean that patients are able to choose where and how they receive their care. But in the introduction of so many options for meeting your healthcare needs, it’s no wonder that some patients feel a waning level of connection and sense of trust with their providers.
So that means it’s incumbent upon providers to earn that trust— showing patients that they are heard, listened to, and most importantly, known.
Getting to know patients comes down to one key factor: data. The information that care teams are able to collect and effectively analyze and act on dictates patient satisfaction, experience, and trust. The cascading effect leads to a more effective relationship resulting in better experience and outcomes for the patient.
It’s important to collect the right data—at the right point in the care continuum. Providers should endeavor to not only capture clinical data, but behavioral, attitudinal, and conversational data as well. When conversational data is contextualized with the clinical data from EHRs, hospitals can create a more complete picture of every patient and personalize their treatment. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to collect information and how to build a system that centralizes and digests data for easy analytics.
Putting the pieces of the data puzzle together
Processes for collecting clinical data are well established. Mature EHR systems serve as a clearinghouse for patient health data, enabling fast information sharing among providers that enhances care and fosters positive health outcomes. Rounding out that clinical data with conversational context to enable personalized and familiar care needs to involve more than just information gained in a clinical setting, however.
Providers engage with patients in so many more settings and places than only at the bedside or in exam rooms. The continuum of care and engagement spans from pre-appointment and preventative outreach, point-of-care surveys and digital rounding, and post-discharge follow-up. Each of those points in the care journey represents opportunities to collect and synthesize data—but so many providers fail to take full advantage.
By building out robust outreach and rounding solutions—based on tested and uniform templates and scripts that align to areas of institutional interest for analytics, providers can not only more easily tap into the unrealized value of routine interactions from a data-gathering perspective, but they can also provide high-touch experiences that build patient loyalty. It’s a mutually beneficial experience: When a provider reaches out ahead of an appointment to confirm and ask for information about preferences, the patient is shown that the provider cares about their experience and their time. In turn, the provider is able to use that information to provide better services at both the individual and macro levels.
Making data actionable
Information cannot live in a vacuum. An institution can implement the most comprehensive data collection practices but will fail to realize the value of that information if it isn’t properly synthesized. The first step? Make sure you have a data strategy that is patient-centered and a storage strategy that is built for reusability.
Health systems’ insistence on connected and interoperable tech and information stacks has slowly forced the hand of EHR systems to allow for broader solutions and data. As the number of ways to plug into EHR systems has grown, it’s become possible to unite engagement and clinical data more closely—and do it in a way that’s consistently patient-centered. Either through back-end integration or apps built specifically for disparate IT systems, providers can centralize and standardize data, creating a complete view of the patient and enabling better care and better decision making.
Not only can care decisions be made in the rich context of behavioral and attitudinal data, but providers can also orchestrate outreach and engagement based on the most up-to-date clinical view of the patient. Pre-care outreach can be tailored—automatically—to the type and purpose of each appointment, and post-discharge outreach can seamlessly incorporate the nuances of care planning needed for every patient. Beyond that, institutions can leverage reporting and visualizations to look at data at the macro level and spot in-the-moment trends, empowering more data-driven operational and clinical decisions.
The result? Trust. Once providers demonstrate through their outreach that they truly know every patient—that they care about their preferences, that they remember details about them aside from the strictly clinical—patients feel more seen, heard, and known.
About Jeff Fuller
Jeff Fuller is the Vice President of Analytics Solutions at CipherHealth – a leading healthcare technology company creating innovative patient engagement solutions that improve communication and satisfaction. With over 24 years of experience in health system operations and analytics, Jeff’s work is aimed at serving health transformation with a commitment to whole-person health and high-value care. As a subject matter expert in innovative analytics solutions, Jeff believes our industry is in a pivotal moment to elevate digital health engagement as a catalyst to achieve personalized, proactive, and convenient health conversations and relationships. Prior to joining CipherHealth, Jeff was the Executive Director of Analytical Solutions at UNC Health.