The Definitive Guide to Patient Experience

In recent years, there’s been a lot of buzz in the health care technology space about the patient experience. Increasingly, patient experience (PX) has become a central focus for healthcare organizations as they strive to provide the best care possible at a lower cost. Through this blog, let’s understand what exactly patient experience is and how you can leverage it to your advantage.

What is Patient Experience

The Beryl Institute defines patient experience as the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions along the continuum of care. The patient's experience is influenced by multiple factors, including how staff members interact with patients and families, the physical environment of the health care facility, and how well patients are informed about their treatment options. The shift from in-person care to remote care and increasingly consumer-directed healthcare are major reasons for the rise of PX as a priority for health organizations. In fact, patient experience has also been identified as a critical component in healthcare reform efforts by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). According to CMS, improving patient experiences can help facilitate better outcomes and reduce costs.  

The Need for Patient Experience

Having established what patient experience is, let’s look at what exactly is the need for it in today’s day and age. The use of patient experience data couldn’t be more relevant at this juncture in healthcare. With health technology, starting with wellness and prevention, clinicians are seeing revved-up needs of patients to be highly engaged in their care. Increasingly, they are now being asked to step out as agents of change who can define new relationships with patients that involve tapping into their wisdom through leading change in their communities and home surroundings. These growing needs and expectations have played a role in instigating the paradigm shift towards patient-centeredness, a central tenet of the Affordable Care Act.

Patient Experience

Especially with the rise in telemedicine, due to the pandemic, Customer experience in healthcare has been becoming one of the top priorities for the healthcare industry. PX allows an organization to differentiate itself in this world of high competitiveness.A patient’s experience with the health care system depends on far more than just interactions with their doctors. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has suggested that if we can improve patients’ experience of the health care system, we can reduce costs, provide better outcomes, and improve patient safety by more effectively using shared resources like equipment and personnel.

Post Pandemic Patient Experience

As a result of the pandemic, customer experience in healthcare has been becoming one of the top priorities for the healthcare industry. The pandemic has changed everything – from how we live our lives to how we work with our patients. It has also changed how we manage our resources and how we plan for contingencies.  The effects of the pandemic on patient experience are as follows:

  • Increased Focus on Patient Experience: Healthcare organizations have started focusing more on experience and improving it through various initiatives like Patient Journey Mapping and Patient Experience Councils etc.
  • Increased Demand for Staff: Hospitals have started increasing their staff strength to meet the increased demand during pandemics. This will help them provide better services to their patients and ensure safety around them during these times when many people may be affected by disease symptoms at once.

Capturing Patient Experience Throughout the Patient Journey

Patient experience is more than just a single interaction. It’s a holistic view of how patients feel during every step of the patient journey, from the first point of contact to follow-up care. PX is a key element of the patient journey. What does the patient experience mean to you? Is it a welcome and warm greeting, a kind smile, or a compassionate bedside manner? Is it quality of care, an accurate diagnosis, and an effective treatment plan? Or is it more than that?

Patient Experience

The patient journey is a complicated one. Patients are on the lookout for healthcare providers in many different ways: searching online and reading reviews, phoning to make an appointment or to check their coverage, receiving healthcare advice virtually, and even visiting a physical location to receive care. Every one of those touchpoints comes together to impact their perception and not meeting their expectations on any one of those channels can impact their experience. The first step in capturing patient experience is understanding where they are at in their journey at any given point in time. The second step is being able to identify what happened at each touchpoint along the way so that you can fix issues before they become problems. Modern PX programs help you understand what patients think about their experience with your organization — where they are in their journey with you — how they feel about each interaction along the way. While understanding the importance of the patient journey, one also comes to realize how patient engagement plays an important role throughout the customer journey and drives the experience.  

How Patient Engagement Drives Patient Experience

The links between patient engagement and patient experience are undeniable. It is well-known that patient satisfaction in healthcare is influenced by a variety of factors, including clinician communication skills, physician-patient relationships, access to care, and the comfort level of the physical environment.

  • However, there has been a growing interest in how the role of engagement has impacted the patient experience. The increased focus on PX comes from both the public and private sectors, particularly in healthcare reform.
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines patient engagement as “a dynamic partnership among patients, clinicians, and the health care system that fosters shared decision making and self-management to improve health outcomes, quality of life, and system performance.”
  • It is important to note that while this definition refers to patients as consumers of health care services who are engaged in their care, it also involves patients engaging with hospitals at a community level - such as through foundations or boards - which can be just as important in improving the overall health of communities.

Converting Patient Feedback into Patient Experience

Though PX has become an important metric for healthcare providers worldwide, many healthcare providers still lack in analyzing the captured feedback from patients analytically. Merely capturing patient feedback is not enough, it is essential for you that you take that data, analyze it strategically and turn those insights into actions to improve your overall experience.  While every provider who invests in PX wants to see better ROI, they don't know how to analyze the feedback they receive and turn those insights into action. This is why most providers see no improvement in their scores, even after years of collecting patient feedback.If you want to improve your experience and drive better results, you need to take a data-driven approach to it. This is where patient experience solutions can help you take your hospital's experience to new heights.

Use Case of Patient Experience Solutions

Patient experience solutions are starting to play a bigger role in the healthcare industry by helping organizations gather feedback from patients and staff. These solutions take patient engagement to a new level by providing real-time analytics that helps providers improve quality and patient outcomes.  Such solutions allow you to capture patient feedback on every patient journey touch point and provide real-time insights.These solutions can be integrated with your EMR and other solutions like appointment solutions, medication management solutions, etc. so that feedback can be captured on the right data points across all patient touchpoints. These solutions have an intuitive dashboard that can display all the feedback received in a graphical format. These experience management solutions present it in a manner that even an average person can understand the data.  

How can Survey2Connect help?

A healthcare organization with great patient experience ensures a constant and flexible experience management strategy is in place. It is important to regularly track and update your experience management strategies in the healthcare sector to provide a seamless experience for your patients.  Survey2Connect is used by some of the world’s most trusted companies including Dallah Hospital, and Max Health Insurance, and has been successful in managing their patient experience efficiently over the past years.   Survey2Connect provides a one-stop solution for all your experience management needs. With S2C you find the right answers to take timely actions. Get in touch with us for a demo.

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