Defining ‘good’ patient experience is not easy. It’s constantly evolving. Whilst it used to be very much about the physical environment akin to a five-star hotel with good food, comfortable chairs, quiet and calm environments, it is now much more about communication, access and trust.
So what do patients really want? Increasingly, they want to be at the centre of their own care pathway – they’re well informed, they have choice and they’re quite aware of this new power that they hold. And the experience starts on their keyboard, not at your reception.
Choice and competition couldn’t be hotter – marketing, online reviews, social media, TV adverts – all are vying for the patient’s attention.
How good are doctors and hospital managers at evaluating their patient experience? Well according to a recent report from Abbott, not very. Surveying 1,800 patients, doctors and healthcare leaders in 13 countries, it found a big disconnect between what patients perceived to be a good experience to that of doctors and particularly leadership.
To ensure you’re really paying attention to what matters, the metrics need to be tied to business outcomes – increasing efficiency, reducing diagnostic costs, achieving more remotely or in an outpatient setting. By communicating with patients, families, clinical and non-clinical staff more frequently you can gain insight into what needs to be improved and create metrics to measure this accordingly.
It goes without saying that digital has a big role to play. Take the example of appointment booking. Quick access to care is important to patients, but equally providers benefit from the stripping out of manual processes, information collection and routing to the right specialist. What may appear in hindsight like quite a simple solution is worth a lot of money. Doctolib started out as a digital scheduling platform and has grown to become a €5.8bn unicorn with a telehealth offering 300,000 subscribers and used by 60m patients. Google is also throwing its hat in the ring.
Beyond the many obvious primary benefits of digital, the resulting data from adoption rates, feature utilisation, user journeys and user feedback can all be used to ask better questions of patients and staff.
Once you have collected data, asked the right questions and identified the changes that need to be made, you then have the challenge of getting your workforce to effect that change.
Cleveland Clinic, which opened its doors in London last month, has brought a patient-centred model over from the US and has hired UK doctors, accustomed to a different way of working, to follow it. The learnings generated from this will be fascinating.
Portugal’s Lusiadas Saude has had great success with patient experience pilot studies for certain care pathways, but struggled to then easily scale up such programmes across the entire organisation. For CEO Vasco Pereira, the key lies in its people and strong clinical leadership managing the changes in how doctors work.
Patient experience is something that will be mentioned hundreds of times at HBI 2022 in June, its top of mind for everyone from provider through investor and supplier, because getting it right is worth a lot but not as much as getting it wrong.
We’ve dedicated a couple of sessions to this topic entirely. At “Its all about the patient experience…” you’ll hear from Wolfgang Hoffman, Fresenius Group, Vasco Pereira, Lusiadas Saude, James Gutierrez, Cleveland Clinic and Christina Triantafyllou, Siemens Healthineers on how they invest in, enable, measure and build cultures around improving patient experience.
You’ll also hear in “Addressing the unmet patient needs” from Nick West at Abbott speak more about the disconnect between healthcare leaders and patients when judging experience, the cultural nuances in this and what can be done to bridge that gap. Explore the agenda and all our topics here.