Read on to discover:
- The integral questions that UX can answer for healthcare professionals
- Best practices to maintaining patient-centricity in healthcare
- Strategies to evolve your healthcare with patient communities
As we age, healthcare becomes a non-negotiable part of our lives. Genetic factors and lifestyle choices we made in our youth start to catch up with us; the blissful ignorance about our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight is gone, replaced with regular doctor visits, medications, and screenings for common conditions. It’s no wonder why, as our population grows, so does our need for high-quality health care. By 2025, one-quarter of the US workforce will be older than 55, requiring increased medical care services provided by a booming workforce.
While the demand for healthcare is increasing, so too are patient expectations and preferences. In 2010, Obama care dramatically altered healthcare coverage in America, giving uninsured citizens healthcare coverage, options, and power over their healthcare for the first time. Today, as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine is transforming how patients find doctors and receive care. Gone are the days of fighting rush hour traffic to be seen for a stuffy nose; now, patients can video chat their provider of choice, explain their symptoms, and receive a prescription in a fifteen-minute virtual visit. Appointment follow-ups and questions can be handled via phone, e-mail, text, or mobile phone application, boosting accessibility and convenience for all.
Even with these dramatic shifts in the industry, many healthcare leaders are unaware of how to move forward and embrace the concept of healthcare UX. The healthcare industry is notoriously conservative, slow to adapt to new technologies, and many times seemingly unbothered by patient experience. However, now that patients have options about which provider they see and how they see them, healthcare providers need to stand up and take notice. Experts predict that patients will continue to have greater healthcare options in 2021 and beyond, putting pressure on health organizations to adjust to a patient-centric model. So, what exactly does UX look like in a healthcare setting, and how can providers put patients at the center of it all?
What Is UX For Healthcare Professionals?
In 2021, customers demand more from the businesses they buy products from and the professionals from whom they procure services, healthcare being no exception. UX for healthcare professionals is all about the experiences that patients have with healthcare technology and services. For example, “Do patients like making appointments through a mobile application, or would they prefer text?” “How can we make test results easier to understand?” “Are prescription refill reminders helpful, or are they distracting?” “How can we optimize the patient journey from the initial appointment to follow-up visits and beyond?”
Healthcare UX gets to the bottom of questions like these and many others. Ultimately, a positive patient experience can improve preventive care, treatment plans, and patient outcomes across the board.
How To Be A Patient-Centric Healthcare Provider
Being patient-centric entails more than just saying you care about patients. It is about understanding what patients want and need on a deeper level. Patient-centric providers know their patients’ inner motivations, behaviors, and preferences and take steps to act on that understanding. They take into account how each decision, process, and tool will affect the patient experience.
To become patient-centric, providers must centralize patient data and track patients’ journeys from start to finish. Healthcare businesses have access to patient data that can be organized and used to provide a better experience, complete with lifestyle and service recommendations. By leveraging a wide variety of data to understand patients individually and proactively meet their needs, heart attacks, strokes, certain cancers, and other illnesses may be prevented before they happen with lifestyle changes, medications, or procedures. Moreover, providers should track patient journeys from A to Z to detect possible bottlenecks in their experience.
Beyond centralizing data, healthcare providers must listen to their patients to become patient-centric. Basic satisfaction surveys only go so far; providers need to ask patients what they think, why they believe it, and act on that knowledge. The gap between patient expectations and their actual experience must be understood and addressed. Using patient communities, healthcare providers can connect with patients to understand their attitudes, motivations, and experiences.
Looking Forward: Evolve Your UX With Patient Communities
Online patient communities are among the most effective and affordable ways for providers to capture real-time qualitative patient data. An online research community uses an internet platform to initiate, organize, and collect in-depth qualitative patient insights. Most communities are invite-only, composed of carefully recruited patients and a central community manager who questions and moderates comments.
Patient communities are powerful because they give real patients a voice to drive change within a healthcare organization. Communities can test out new tools, like mobile applications or patient portals, or review the patient follow-up procedures. Customer ideas and surveys within the community can also be harnessed to change current or future healthcare initiatives.
As more adults have access to healthcare coverage and accessibility broadens, patients’ expectations for their healthcare providers continue to rise. To stay ahead of the pack, providers must put patients at the center of everything they do. To become patient-centric, the focus must be on centralizing and utilizing patient data to provide better experiences coupled with the collection of customer insights via online communities.
Fuel Cycle makes collecting patient feedback in online communities more manageable than ever before. Our user-focused and straightforward interface is explicitly crafted to increase research participation. Today’s patient-centric organizations can’t just meet expectations; they must delight their customers and ensure high satisfaction levels every step of the way. Fuel Cycle provides brands with a complete set of tools to map the patient journey, uncover pain points, identify missed opportunities, and perfect overall UX strategies. Get to know us today.
For more about customer centricity in online communities, listen to the complete FC Connect 2021 panel, “Communities for Customer-Centric Organizations.” If you’re looking to get more information on what’s new in healthcare, read our recent blog, “What’s Reshaping the Healthcare Industry.”