The pressing need to deliver a patient-centric healthcare experience was a main topic of last month’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Chicago, where 40,000+ healthcare professionals gathered to discuss the latest in health information technology and trends. Generative AI and interoperability also took center stage, to some degree in terms of how they help support a patient-centric experience.
Many of the comments from organizations attending the conference speak to the common healthcare challenge of being unable to deliver a personalized, patient-centric experience due to siloed systems or the impracticality of extracting insights from data.
- “Fragmented data is our biggest challenge.”
- “We have data, but we’re not able to harness it in real time.”
- “We’re sitting on (a lot of) data, but it’s dirty.”
- “The curation and harmonization of data in real time is critical…. Or we cause more harm than good.”
- “We practice medicine as a snapshot, rather than longitudinally.”
- “70% of EMR (data) is lab data, but we don’t do anything with it.”
A central theme emanating from the event was that digital transformation is the key to solving data-related challenges and unlocking patient experience opportunities that span the healthcare journey.
A Superior Patient Experience is a Must-Have
Why is personalizing the patient experience top of mind in 2023? One reason is because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) doubled the weight of patient experience metrics to account for 57 percent of overall Star Ratings, affecting payer reimbursements as well as the ability of Medicare Advantage plans to attract and retain members. Member experience, then, is becoming a competitive battleground to attract the roughly 10,000 Americans each day becoming Medicare eligible.
Another reason for the focus on patient experience is to reduce inefficiencies, such as the traditionally poor patient understanding of discharge instructions. One study from National Library of Medicine (NLM) found that difficult-to-understand instructions lead to poor outcomes, such as a noncompliance with follow-up visits of up to 67 percent. Using a one-page simplified information page tailored to an individual patient’s reading level and other personalization techniques (using pictographs, factoring in social determinants of health, etc.) helped increase patient understanding of discharge instructions by 22 percent, as measured by patient scoring.
Finally, improving patient experience is becoming a top-line item because patients demand it. In a 2022 Dynata survey, 81 percent of healthcare consumers said that a good patient experience is “very important” when interacting with providers and health plans. In fact, more than half (57 percent) said the No. 1 aspect to consider when choosing a provider or insurer is how well they understand them as an individual beyond basic patient data.
More Than a Single View
The multiple incentives to improve the patient experience underline the pressing need for healthcare organizations to implement a customer data platform (CDP) to solve the data challenges that were a topic of discussion at the HIMSS event: fragmented data, data that is not fit-for-purpose and the inability to harness data in real time.
The overarching requirement to deliver a patient-centric experience is to develop a single view of the healthcare consumer. A single view unlocks the personalized experiences that drive retention, revenue growth and patient satisfaction because it provides the basis for an organization to deliver a consistent experience across all channels and interaction touchpoints.
A single view of the healthcare consumer entails more than simply compiling patient data from multiple sources. Storing all patient data in a data lake until it’s needed is not a single view because this approach neither resolves fragmented data into a single identity nor does it enable an organization to keep pace with a patient or healthcare consumer in real time throughout their journey.
Instead, for a single patient view to be a true single source of truth for the healthcare consumer, patient data must be made fit-for-purpose at the moment of data ingestion. When data quality processes and advanced identity resolution are completed continuously as data is compiled from every source, the resulting identity graph is guaranteed to always be the most updated, complete and accurate representation of a patient. When this unified profile is then combined with a full list of data aggregates and attributes of a patient over time, marketers and business users have what’s known as a Golden Record.
More than a single view, a Golden Record is the definitive single source of truth for a patient. When it is made accessible across an organization, all users have the same real-time understanding of a patient across all interaction touchpoints. They can then deliver a consistent, personalized experience in the cadence of an individual healthcare journey.
Whether aiming to simplify discharge instructions with a personalized approach, improve Star Ratings related to patient experience (targeted care for high-risk patients, benefits education, using multiple channels to increase member engagement, etc.) or simply to meet patient expectations for a provider to know them as an individual, there are many reasons to focus on improving the patient experience.
Messy, fragmented data should no longer be an impediment to delivering a patient experience that drives revenue and retention and reduces long-standing inefficiencies.
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