Many providers have invested - or will be investing - in improving the patient experience.
The patient experience has become a key topic of conversation for healthcare providers and innovators. While it has always been a subject of concern in the healthcare industry, new revenue models and consumers exercising their choices for care have given patient experience a high priority.
Many providers have invested - or will be investing - in improving the patient experience. But are they making the right improvements? Are those changes resulting in better experiences, or are they falling short?
Understanding the value of change requires measurement. Measuring an experience, however, can be difficult. Healthcare providers need to use the tools available to them to understand if their patient experience improvements produce results and outcomes.
Providers must ensure they measure experience and not just engagement.
Engagement is an essential metric for providers, but it’s also easier to measure than patient experience. Since engagement is centered around a patient’s participation in their own care, looking at patient connections, communication, and participation in care plans are all pointers to their engagement.
Experience and engagement are closely linked, but they are not the same thing. Like engagement, the experience can include a patient’s satisfaction with the care they receive. But it also has less tangible items like if expectations were met and if expected activities took place as part of their care. A patient doesn’t necessarily know what should occur or not, so that part of the experience can be difficult to ascertain.
The good news is that many of the same tools that can be used to measure engagement can be leveraged for measuring experience. Specifically, Salesforce’s Health Cloud offers both the means to improve and to measure the patient experience.
Health Cloud by Salesforce opens up possibilities for analysis of a wide range of patient experience markers, thanks to access to tools within the platform as well as a result of its very nature within a provider’s ecosystem.
Surveys are helpful across many different measures. However, getting the correct information out of a survey requires asking the right questions in the right way.
For instance, the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) is a survey framework intended to help providers understand their patient’s experiences. However, one of the biggest challenges that CAHPS and its hospital-focused counterpart, the HCAHPS, is accessibility. Patients today are less likely to complete a survey that they can’t access from their computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Assessments within Health Cloud make it easy to create questionnaires to gather information from patients and make that information available to the proper care team members and staff. It isn’t just the availability of Assessments that is important, though. It’s also the ease with which a form can be created and completed.
Since these surveys can be developed rapidly and without a programmer’s help, questionnaires related to what was and was not included as part of a patient’s care experience can be quickly created. These results can be compared against care paths, also created within Salesforce, to ensure a provider’s staff follows defined processes and calls out areas where those processes may need improvement.
While direct measurement of the patient experience is challenging, studies have shown a positive correlation between a good patient experience and things like adherence to medical advice, improved clinical outcomes, and lower utilization of unnecessary healthcare services, such as emergency services for treatable conditions.
These pieces of data can be scattered across a provider’s ecosystem, spanning everything from follow-up care to hospital emergency room records. Because Health Cloud sits at the center of all of these various systems, it is the ideal place to correlate information. Brought together within a single platform, with tools to facilitate analysis, Salesforce makes it possible to connect these disparate data points to understand the larger picture of the patient experience.
The patient experience is somewhat of a meandering path from the first contact to care and, potentially, resolution. However, each point along that journey is an experience unto itself.
Marketing and messaging are a part of that experience. No two geographic areas are the same, and therefore the marketing for different providers must match the expectations and needs of the patients in a given area. And measurement can’t be complete without understanding the effectiveness of a provider’s marketing message.
For instance, a provider who offers superior prenatal care in the heart of an area with abundant, qualified obstetricians will have a different core message than one in a rural area where prenatal care is scarce. That messaging helps to set patient expectations, which, in turn, sets the tone for the patient experience.
Therefore, understanding the effectiveness of marketing messages and how well the provider followed through on the promise made in those messages is another means of measuring the patient experience.
Integrations between Salesforce Health Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud open the door to personalized patient content that improves engagement and experience. Campaigns and journeys can be individualized, at scale, and marketing data through the Salesforce tools can provide insights into the effectiveness of the messaging and its impact on patient expectations.
Although somewhat more elusive than engagement, measuring the patient experience is still possible with the right tools. Salesforce’s Health Cloud bridges the gap from improvement actions to measurement by offering an expansive array of tools and tying together disparate systems for a complete view of patient experience data.
If you’re considering how Health Cloud can help you improve the patient experience, further engagement, and provide a complete 360-degree view of your patients, Six Consulting can help. Healthcare isn’t just about medicine and procedures, and healthcare IT technology isn’t just about applications and platforms. Both are about people. Contact us today to learn more about how our healthcare industry expertise can accelerate your business’s ability to care for your patients.
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