A strategic approach to digital transformation: 3 lessons learned
Hospitals and healthcare systems can develop digital and mobile strategies that meet their unique needs.
Now that the immediate crush of COVID-19 has passed and the rush to implement and roll out digital offerings has eased, health officials are beginning to do some soul-searching around their digital strategy.
In the lead: “What are the most important digital capabilities for us, and how can we refine these capabilities to improve the patient experience?” »
COVID-19 has exposed gaps in the digital approach of some health systems. For example, in the rush to mobilize a digital presence, as with virtual care, most health systems have invested in at least three platforms; indeed, 20% of academic medical systems host eight or more platforms, one investigation found.
Today, “platform proliferation” presents an obstacle to seamless digital experiences. It’s one of the reasons 77% of healthcare leaders say their goal is to move to a single, fully integrated platform.
A fresh look at digital investments and capabilities from the perspective of what works – and what doesn’t – is essential for a truly transformational approach.
Here are three lessons learned in crafting a digital and mobile strategy that best meets an organization’s unique needs.
Avoid a disjointed experience.
This happens when many digital components are put together, but they don’t complement each other, resulting in a disjointed experience.
A thoughtful approach considers every aspect of the patient journey to consider: “How could we provide an end-to-end ‘digital companion’ for patients throughout their care experience?” It examines the broader framework of a digital health platform as well as the essential role of mobile engagement.
From there, teams can map out which services a consumer might find most beneficial, from the ability to schedule services online or view wait times at urgent care clinics using orientation beyond the hospital lobby, access to discharge instructions after a patient visit, communication with a nurse in case of questions and online bill payment. This creates a consistent experience that consumers crave, boosting engagement and digital retention rates.
At Piedmont Health in Atlanta, where the health system’s mobile platform is integrated with its Epic EHR, the ability to both integrate MyChart and add custom functionality has resulted in a very agile platform. This has enabled Piedmont to respond quickly to changing needs during the pandemic. When COVID-19 vaccines became available, the health system used push notifications to alert consumers and enabled online registration as well as help with referrals to vaccination sites. This gave consumers the information they needed at the touch of their smartphone while relieving pressure on customer call center staff.
Breaking down barriers to digital entry.
If a consumer wanted to use your organization’s mobile platform for wayfinding assistance, would that person need to remember to log in to the patient portal?
It’s one thing to protect access to patient records and other sensitive information. It’s quite another to require users to identify themselves before checking emergency room wait times, looking up a doctor, or looking up information about a particular service, like the system’s maternal health services. health.
Look for ways to make it easier to access digital information and services where it makes sense. Remember: not everyone who accesses your mobile platform will be a patient with a portal username and password. The mobile platform should act as a digital gateway for all members of your community.
When patients are required to enter a username and password, make it worthwhile. At University Health San Antonio, patients can book appointments and access their medical records through the mobile platform, in addition to accessing a chatbot to answer questions when they arise or to get assistance with orientation from their home to the point of service.
Bring the right people to the table for digital design.
One of the downsides of innovation at the height of the pandemic was how quickly transformation had to happen. For healthcare systems that hadn’t yet explored mobile platforms, this made it difficult to gather large-scale information about which features would drive installs and keep consumers coming back.
Now, healthcare leaders have an important opportunity to engage multiple stakeholders, from marketing and patient access to employee and consumer focus groups, to help answer the question, “What mobile experience will consumers want most?
They can also leverage employees to help promote use of the mobile platform by teaching consumers what they could gain by using the app, such as the ability to more effectively monitor their chronic disease or request a medication refill to their doctor.
At WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina, executives hosted a “launch party” for their mobile platform where employees could try out the health system’s new digital platform and provide feedback. They also hung posters around facilities and in the parking garage and created TV ads announcing the app’s arrival and included messages in employee and physician newsletters about what to expect. .
Today, WakeMed employees often serve as “mobile ambassadors”, showing patients how to use the app and all the features they can access. Even if your organization has rolled out its mobile solution, now might be the time to throw a “relaunch party” to highlight its value.
By taking a fresh look at digital investments from the perspective of user experience and impact on operations, healthcare systems can more effectively adjust their approach for long-term engagement and value.
Joshua Titus is CEO and Founder of Gozio Health.