The State of Healthcare Consumer Engagement Post Covid

The State of Healthcare Consumer Engagement Post Covid

Peiru Teo
May 13, 2022
The State of Healthcare Consumer Engagement Post Covid

Table of contents

Two major disruptions that are changing the shape of the healthcare landscape today are digital transformation and consumer behavior.

For the consumers this can mean available and actionable healthcare information for better health outcomes, while for the healthcare providers this means reduced costs and more structured operations.

A major driver of these changes? Healthcare consumerism.

Most healthcare organizations are investing in healthcare infrastructure such as patient engagement platforms to provide smarter healthcare to their consumers.

Consumers want a consistently sophisticated digital experience, regardless of where they enter your health system, and steady engagement throughout their journey. These expectations aren’t new, but the need to communicate digitally and treat patients virtually during COVID-19 along with accelerated infiltration by consumer-savvy disruptors drove short-term investment decisions.

The Healthcare Consumer Engagement Framework

Increasingly consumers are interested in using digital pathways to interact with healthcare facilities since the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to numerous patient engagement technologies being used together and driving the expanded goals for healthcare management.

Healthcare consumer engagement framework
  • Healthcare Personalization: More than 70% of consumers demand a personalized experience in today’s world. Personalized care unifies healthcare technologies with patients who are engaged. The primary aim of personalization is to promote health and prevent diseases or their worsening. It focuses on healthcare patient engagement, personalized health planning, and shared decision-making.
  • Virtual Health:Nowadays, patients expect healthcare services coming to them rather than vice versa. This means consulting doctors and talking to healthcare staff virtually. A report released by Parks Associates revealed that 60% of US households are interested in virtual care.
  • Healthcare Interoperability:With healthcare data collection happening every second, the best way to monitor things in your facility is by adopting interoperability. This allows you to access, share, interpret, integrate, and co-operate to use different information systems in a coordinated manner.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) :AI and ML can help in potentially profound ways with patient engagement, often seen as the “last mile” of healthcare delivery – a crucial component that can make all the difference between good and adverse health outcomes and client satisfaction. AI allows providers to more deeply engage patients in the right ways, while filling care gaps and nudging patients to improve their behavior – all without adding to the workloads of healthcare providers.
  • Cloud Infrastructure: A healthcare company cannot orchestrate a set of connected and personalized experiences across lines of business without first integrating the different data sets that power them. 
  • Once that data is in a consolidated view—when identity is connected across those different domains—a healthcare company can start to analyze its current state journeys and behaviors, evaluate value at the action and individual level, and design and orchestrate experiences that delight consumers.

The Pillars of Healthcare Customer Engagement Framework

Healthcare consumer engagement is the most successful drug of the century because consumers manage their health more efficiently when they are completely involved. To make your facility completely consumer-centric, it’s essential to think about the end-to-end journey of your consumers across all systems.

Healthcare consumer engagement

The healthcare engagement framework acts as a guide to support your facility and patients to engage in newer activities together. The four pillars of the healthcare customer engagement framework are: 

  • Consumer acquisition and activation 

A personalized and targeted healthcare consumer engagement approach like marketing, digitalization, and automation helps attract newer patients and increase their retention. 

  • Consumer service management 

A consistent omnichannel service experience across different touchpoints which includes in-person interactions, contact center, and self-service. 

  • Care management outreach 

Proactive omnichannel care, outreach and engagement during your patient’s entire care journey which ultimately improves health outcomes. 

  • Physician relationship management 

An enhanced hospital experience using acquisition, relationship management, network management, education, onboarding, and referral management. 

5 Key Healthcare Patient Engagement Qualities for Better Patient Experience

Ensuring that your consumers’ healthcare experience is significantly aligned with what they expect from other non-healthcare industries will require an omnichannel interaction. This interaction emphasizes customization and simplification. The five qualities consumers expect and continuously demand from healthcare organizations include: 

  • Personalization 

Personalized healthcare considers patients’ problems such as their medical history, risk factors, etc. and provides customized care and treatments. The benefit of this approach includes:

  • Decreased healthcare costs
  • Increased quality of care
  • Better consumer experience

Personalization for increasing healthcare engagement is a data-driven approach. As more and more data become available via mobile applications, digital devices, and wearables, your doctors can use AI to analyze data and understand the needs and risks of the patient. 

  • Convenience 

The two years of COVID-19 pandemic have transformed the relationship between consumers and the hospitals. 61% consumers feel that their healthcare experience should be similar to the customer experience of other online non-healthcare services. Though convenience may pose a challenge as your hospital can experience spikes in demands for a new type of service, this can still be a leverage for your hospital in ways like:  

  • Diversification in your care services  
  • An increase in revenue by adding popular new patient services  
  • Connect patients with doctors within your network to leverage provider relationships 
  • Transparency  

Healthcare consumers always look for clarity in communication to make knowledgeable decisions about their health. For example, consumers want someone who can explain their health problems and treatments in an easy language, preferably in their local language. 

Putting transparency into practice must first start internally with your staff and doctors. Once this is accomplished, your doctors and staff can increase healthcare customer engagement by keeping them well-informed about their health, management approaches, treatment costs, and updates in the care facilities. 

  • Quality  

For a healthcare facility, the quality of care helps to improve patient safety, efficacy, and efficiency of management. In addition, an improvement in the quality of care is directly related to a higher level of consumer satisfaction. To keep care quality as high as possible, your facility needs to:  

  • Keep patients’ safety as the topmost priority  
  • Reduce healthcare-associated infections  
  • Prevent adverse drug reactions  

Continuing to add knowledgeable materials is the best way to ensure that your doctors and staff are up-to-date so that quality care remains at the core for your present and future consumers. 

  • Proactivity 

A proactive approach is about the different methods your facility uses today for the consumers to avoid any potential health problems tomorrow. In addition, it helps to plan and gain better control of healthcare matters

With technologies like AI, sensors, wearables, cloud computing, etc., your doctors can easily track the consumer’s health status and collect real-time data about the high-risk ones. This allows your doctors to have a 360° view of each patient and analyze and anticipate health problems that can arise in future.

Proactive care enables regular healthcare patient engagement, which inspires the patients to prevent the medication-taking gaps and build trustworthy relationships. 

Role of Healthcare CIO in Driving Healthcare Customer Engagement

As to the current needs for patient engagement, the healthcare chief information officer (CIO) needs to step back and determine which digital technologies fit best for their ecosystem. The CIOs also need to focus on what part of digitization can help fill operational gaps and increase the value of core systems. 

  • Enabling Omnichannel Healthcare Consumer Engagement 

You can easily manage disconnected interactions with every consumer by developing an omnichannel strategy and leveraging a consumer engagement platform. It is essential that your facility provides consistent and personalized digital experiences for patient retention. This increases new patient revenue and patient lifetime value.       

With an omnichannel patient engagement platform, you can guide both consumers and patients on the healthcare journey. During the care journey, your doctors and staff can stay in touch with the patients by consistently sending them messages across all channels and touchpoints. 

  • Telehealth and Digitization for Healthcare Patient Experience 

Healthcare digitalization has increased over the last ten years to a point where only fewer hospital processes still require paperwork. As a healthcare CIO, the challenges lie in incorporating more and more digital and telehealth services and different ways for patient engagement with the hospitals. 

Telehealth is the natural answer for any patient when visiting a hospital is a risk, especially since the pandemic. You need to provide immediate access to the doctors along with on-demand remote health care to increase patient engagement via telecommunications or mobile applications. 

  • The Interoperable Ecosystem for Healthcare Customer Engagement 

To support a robust patient and consumer loyalty strategy, you need to interact with multiple customer data platforms, clinical integration engines, and marketing services systems. That requires an API strategy that creates a fully connected ecosystem, one that facilitates near real-time data sharing, wherein users can get to the insights they need quickly, all while maintaining established security and governance standards for ingested data. Sharing data across enterprise technology requires role-based rules and permissions that limit access to only the data needed.

Even while building an interoperable ecosystem, the bigger picture of the healthcare CIO is essential. You must carefully assess the strategies for consumerism and patient engagement and loyalty, fill operational gaps, and extract more value from core outcomes. 

  • Data and analytics for growth and retention 

Collecting large volumes of internal and third-party data for healthcare patient engagement requires a cloud-based system. Such systems can host large and diverse data that must be curated, ingested, and enhanced.   

The healthcare customer engagement platform along with electronic health records, helps create a robust customer profiles by combining their online search patterns, communication preferences, clinical history, socioeconomic factors, and lifestyle factors.   

Applying healthcare-specific data and analytics to the consumer profiles yields actionable insights that help to answer questions such as:  

  • Which consumers are loyal to the facility?  
  • Which consumers left you and where did they go?  
  • Which is the best market for healthcare service growth and retention? 

Despite the challenge of handling vast data, combining structured and unstructured historical data with ongoing customer interaction data provides opportunities to influence consumers in real-time.  

Implementing an Adaptive Digital Transformation Strategy for Healthcare Patient Engagement

To ensure that healthcare engagement remains sustainable for an extended period, you’ll have to measure it. With digital transformation for patient engagement, there is vast data available which you need to analyze and create compelling insights into what works for your hospital and what doesn’t. 

As healthcare digitization increases, healthcare patient experience and engagement also improve. Understanding the triggers that keep your consumers engaged will help you keep them engaged and happy with your facility in the long term.