A Better Digital Consumer Healthcare Experience: 5 Strategies

R1 RCMSeptember 30, 2020

healthcare consumer using a tablet for online scheduling

For too long, patients’ healthcare experiences have been extremely confusing and disjointed. Consider this example – a patient visits a doctor for knee pain and receives a referral for an MRI at the hospital. The patient then makes multiple phone calls and waits on hold to get the MRI scheduled, only to be informed that they must wait a few more weeks for the prior authorization to come in. Once the patient is finally scheduled, they need to complete endless registration forms – often repeating information already provided – spend valuable time in a waiting room before the MRI takes place, deal with confusing billing procedures and potentially face unanticipated costs after the fact.


This type of frustrating healthcare experience is far too common and is no longer sustainable in today’s consumer environment, where speed and convenience are the norm. With consumers expecting digital service – especially in light of COVID-19 – health systems need to have the right resources in place to support a user-friendly and seamless care experience.


An EHR-agnostic patient experience platform that is aligned to your revenue cycle operations can help health systems address these challenges and deliver what patients desperately want and need. Below are five ways a patient experience platform can optimize key consumer touchpoints and increase overall satisfaction:


#1: Go Digital

Instead of initiating the experience when a patient arrives at a facility, health systems and physician groups need to connect with consumers wherever they are – providing a welcoming digital front door. Patients want control and the ability to manage administrative tasks from any internet-connected device. The right integrated technology makes it easy for patients to find providers, schedule appointments, complete intake forms, make payments and more, giving you a competitive advantage that will attract consumers to your system or practice.


#2: Boost Self-Service Scheduling

Giving patients the ability to self-schedule appointments in real time at any location across a health system’s network is critical because it turns a typically exhausting experience into a simple, straightforward one. By offering step-by-step scheduling guidance that takes their preferences, as well as provider and resource availability and procedure requirements into account, a patient experience platform allows patients to ensure they are scheduled correctly every time.


#3: Be Contactless

Since COVID-19 is still a major health concern, face-to-face interactions at medical facilities should continue to be limited. Utilizing a patient experience platform for contactless mobile or online patient intake, registration and payment processes – where administrative tasks can be completed before arrival – is the best way to provide stress-free, safe services to patients. The right patient experience platform digitizes the process of filling out forms, completing screeners and surveys, and uploading images, including any information previously submitted by a patient, making the entire process easier for patients and less of a burden for staff. With more than 74 percent of respondents stating they will continue to use contactless payment options post pandemic, contactless registration via a patient experience platform has become a non-negotiable need.  


#4: Be Transparent

CMS’ final rule on price transparency specifies that hospitals must publish a list of their standard charges, including payer-specific negotiated charges, beginning January 1, 2021. The final rule also requires that hospitals provide a consumer-friendly listing of 300 “shoppable services” – or leverage an internet-based price transparency tool, such as the R1 Patient Experience Solution, which allows consumers to obtain pre-service out-of-pocket estimates. Considering the number of uninsured Americans is continually rising, one report stating the number could increase to 40 million, it’s in a provider’s best interest to implement cost estimator tools that can provide accurate estimates, indicate clear payment responsibility and enable easier compliance with the new price transparency law.


It’s this type of financial advocacy that can be a strategic advantage since it fosters patients’ engagement throughout the care process – giving them a better overall experience so they have a higher degree of loyalty and willingness to return.


#5: Simplify Adherence

Patients have busy schedules and lives – making it difficult for them to follow up on needed care or to stay actively involved in their treatment plans. With a patient experience platform, health systems and physicians can use educational self-assessments and helpful questionnaires to not only acquire new patients, but also successfully increase patients’ engagement in their own care. By bringing together tools for communication, adherence, outcomes and coaching, it’s easy and convenient for care teams to connect with patients, receive more accurate and complete data in the form of patient-reported outcomes (PROs), improve communication with all constituents, and encourage better patient engagement. With this proven methodology, health systems and physician groups can enhance adherence to care plans, leading to better clinical outcomes.


As providers implement strategies for post-COVID financial resilience, the right patient experience platform offers many benefits: compelling digital capabilities that address today’s safety requirements, improve patient and provider satisfaction, enable better clinical outcomes and increase revenue from both patients and payers. It’s time to do away with antiquated processes and start unifying the digital experience across operations to meet the needs of consumers and patients everywhere.



Outsourcing Webinar Graphic

Watch our on demand webinar , "Optimizing Digital Patient Experiences: 10-Point Checklist for Success" featuring  Dr. Ronald Hirsch, MD, FACP,  CHCQM, VP of Physician Advisory Solutions at R1 and Joe Polaris, MBA, SVP of Product & Technology at R1.



Author Bio: Content written on behalf of R1 RCM.