Mobile solutions can promote engagement before, during and after a hospital visit, thereby strengthening patient experience, driving customer retention and giving patients ownership of their care.
There is a growing need for hospitals to focus on patient engagement and experience to differentiate themselves in the market. Technology can address this need, but it requires more than placing gear within hospital walls.
Creating a seamless patient experience involves reexamining mobility initiatives in the context of a continuous, omni-channel experience similar to the retail industry.
Managing individual health has always been a continuous cycle. Now healthcare organizations are looking to technology to create engagement and value at every point in patient care – before, during and after a hospital visit.
I think most everyone agrees that a visit to a hospital is prone to invoke stress. Where is a specialist located? What could potential treatment paths be for my condition? What questions do I need to remember to ask my physician?
Healthcare organizations are looking for ways to meet the growing need to communicate valuable, trusted and personalized expert information to patients before they enter the facility.
Today, most hospitals have patient-facing applications. We all know that if the user experience (UX) and speed of an app is slightly faulty, we are quick to delete it from our phones, or certainly not use it with any regularity.
We’ve found that there are certain features which can greatly impact the number of patients effectively using a mobile app. These features include hospital directories and services, such as dynamic facility maps and know before you go information. With patients being able to access a variety of resources about the physical space and care practices, they are better prepared for their visit and treatment.
When a patient or visitor arrives at a healthcare facility, location services provide a streamlined arrival with mobile check-in or alerts to point out arrival processes.
From there, mobility solutions make for a seamless process for the patient within the facility by incorporating wireless location services and software integrations to offer comprehensive wayfinding. Hospitals can connect a patient to all that is offered to them with navigation and productive waiting tools, such as alerts for a free beverage in the café or mobile content associated with the brand.
Network considerations come into play when offering these types of interactions. A hospital’s wireless network must deliver access for patients and visitors without hindering operations.
For instance, after a thorough wireless and Bluetooth capability assessment, we provided one global healthcare provider with an application for wayfinding within the facilities that greatly improved the experience of their patients and visitors. The health system is now leading others in the industry and looking to incorporate integrations with electronic health records (EHR) and creating more custom experiences for patients.
Healthcare organizations should look to continue the patient lifecycle with interactions after a hospital visit as well. Maintaining engagement after a patient leaves creates a positive relationship with the individual and has been shown to reduce future hospital admittances, therefore lowering costs.
Healthcare can be delivered on a more personal level after a patient’s visit. With new technology streamlining emergency response methods, clinical trial processes, medication management and regular monitoring, patients can receive care from trusted medical organizations and professionals without leaving their home.
Advances in big data and Internet of Things (IoT) can help healthcare organizations effectively collect, analyze and integrate vast amounts of data to expand on patient offerings and support outcome-based care initiatives. This data provides insight on patient behavior and patterns that can influence decisions on how to more fully impact patient experience.
When focusing efforts on putting patient experience first, healthcare organizations should consider the following.
- Prioritize. With the number of new technologies and growing possibilities, identify what will provide the greatest return on investment, and start small. For some, this may mean improvement to an existing patient-facing application that allows for feedback. For others, it may mean piloting a wayfinding solution, or making investments in remote care collaboration.
- Don’t skimp on a wireless site survey. If there’s one type of facility that is least conducive to wireless, it’s a hospital. Most facilities have multiple floors, older buildings and structures made of concrete and metal. And yet, the quality of service healthcare facilities must deliver is staggering. It is essential for hospitals to maintain control of patient records, RFID tags and medical imaging processes while still allowing patients to use their devices to stream video and access other digital content. We find that a comprehensive wireless site survey generally reveals a need for more access points than anticipated. WWT’s mobility practice has a unique approach with our Next-Gen Wireless Workshop and Wireless Location Workshop.
- Get everyone on the same page early. As with many of our customer engagements, it can be difficult to align different business units within a healthcare organization. Groups like IT, business operations and facilities all have separate objectives they are looking to achieve. It is important to align those goals before moving forward. In addition to configuring and deploying pure technology solutions, we help healthcare providers understand what is possible and how to align the necessary hardware and software to positively disrupt healthcare operations.