In both mHealth and telehealth, efforts at reducing cost, improving quality and driving better consumer experiences will be increasingly dependent on technology integration and a unified engagement experience across the continuum of care and all communications channels.
Unless organizations start coordinating patient engagement modalities from portals to video calls to geographically distributed human resources, investments in these and other technologies simply won’t pay off. Why? Because patients may well end up suffering “engagement fatigue” from being over contacted, or they’ll lose confidence and tune out due to redundant or irrelevant information or their inability to reach the right human when they need one.
How do we know this? History. Thanks to value-based care, patient experience executives in healthcare are thinking more like their counterparts in retail, travel and financial services. Five years ago, those industries woke up to consumers who had, among other things, started Tweeting customer service requests, often because they weren’t getting the service they expected when they dialed the company’s 800 number. Many consumers even began showing a preference for companies who had “an app for that.”
Consequently, companies created Twitter and Facebook accounts and staffed them with social-savvy customer service folks. They built mobile applications. In pretty short order, though, companies realized that in their effort to respond to consumer demands, they had essentially created stovepipes of uncoordinated consumer engagement. The result: disjointed, redundant and often inconsistent communication from the company. Not exactly the outcome they wanted.
While many companies are still grappling with the archaeological record of those technology decisions, some are getting it right and making good strides in connecting the dots between channels of engagement, while also working toward creating more unified engagement environments.
In one example, West worked with Vanderbilt to improve appointment confirmation rates across the voice and text channels, simply by allowing patients to indicate their preferred channel for receiving the notification. In another example, West helped Utah Spine Care achieve a 500% increase in patient Portal registrations through targeted messaging of patients with upcoming appointments.
And finally, West worked with a top US airline to architect a customer-centric contact center solution that leverages a Natural Language speech application to handle inbound calls, provides intelligent call routing across three geographically distributed contact centers, and provides a CTI screen pop to pass data from the voice response system to the agent desktop. The solution decreased call handle time by 9 percent, meaning customers were able to get the information they needed much more quickly, and call abandon rate decreased by 60%, meaning caller frustration plummeted because they had greater confidence that they would be able to get their needs met.
Our hope is that by sharing the experiences we have gained, we can help patient experience executives in healthcare avoid unnecessary pain and derive the full value of their patient engagement technology investments.