Vinny Panchal, Client Services Director, Australia, Jack Morton Worldwide
Recently I found a small lump in my eye so I went and got it checked out. What followed was a series of different tests; MRIs, X-Rays...you name it, I had it.
A week later and I'm sitting at the Doctor’s office ready to discuss the findings. He arrives into the room with panic in his eyes. You can imagine what’s going through my mind!
As he sat me down he explained to me that he had misplaced his external CD-ROM drive, which meant he couldn’t take me through my X-Rays.
"There is a way and to be successful. We need to look at it through the lens of the patient - that is, from their perspective"
What astounded me most in that moment was the sheer lack of sophistication AND integration in the systems the medical experts are using to keep track of my health. And this is in sharp contrast to the cutting edge tech they use to assess me. Think about the last time that you visited your Doctor. Does my experience sound familiar?
It really made me think.
Living in a Connected Age, with Disconnected Systems.
It’s an exciting time for healthcare. It’s a big industry and one of the largest employers in Australia and around the world.
There’s no lack of innovation, the latest StartUp Report states there are more than 7,700 health start-ups and it’s growing. But the systems designed to support this entire amazing tech remain in the dark ages.
The incredible technology is not always being transferred into an incredible experience - inaccurate information, lack of good patient records, challenges in accessing physicians the list goes on.
It’s also leading to a rise of self-diagnosis. On average, we’re more likely to Google our symptoms before consulting a professional. In fact, the Minister of Health in the UK is Encouraging it!
Google is making us feel smarter, giving us a ‘widely inaccurate’ view of our own intelligence leading to over-confidence when making health decisions, experts warn - a dangerous scenario indeed.Whilst we have all of the information at our fingertips, we don’t have the years of medical knowledge to support it.
Technology should be a great enabler for both patients and the organisations which serve them. But how can we ensure it actually is?
We believe there is a way and to be successful we need to look at it through the lens of the patient - that is, from their perspective.
We need to improve the accessibility and connectivity within the health industry using tech, so that we naturally see a decrease in self-diagnosis and an increase in accuracy in treatments.
So where are the challenges with the current system? We see two in particular:
- It’s overly simplified - it fails to integrate all the stakeholders that play a part in a patient's recovery from physician to the family support network and;
- It only focuses on a single moment of time - it doesn’t reflect the significant changes of treatment and people’s reaction to these along the way
If we’re to truly design an effective experience, we need to rethink our approach to the patient journey. Far from being linear,it’s a complex ecosystem with numerous entry and exit points along the way.
Transforming Healthcare through Connection
One of our clients in Australia, Telstra Health, is trying to tackle this problem head on. They’re looking to transform how healthcare CONNECTS, knowing that the industry is simply not customer-centric.
They’re integrating their products and services with legacy systems but in a way that reflects how patients use it. Think online booking, telemedicine, electronic prescription or video consulting.
More importantly, they’ve consulted with a wide group of stakeholders, well beyond physicians, to better understand the needs of a wider group of users.
When working with the home nursing organisation, they identified that their members were travelling up to 10 million kilometres a year, which amounts to nearly 70% of their time in a vehicle. Half of the cases were simply to attend a patient’s home to supervise people taking medication. This led them to develop MyCareManager, a simple solution bringing together telemedicine, home health monitoring devices and patient records.
The devices themselves are not unique but effective integration was the benefit? A simple integrated solution that is easy for everyone to use - practitioners and patients.
Don’t forget the Customer service
Whilst all this technology is exciting, we can’t forget the importance of empathy and the way we communicate the benefits of all these new products.
The language needs to be easily understood. And the customer service must reflect the bedside manner of old.
When it works, the product, the tech, and comms, they’re all in the service of the patient experience.
The future of Healthcare is Exeprience
Like it or not we will all need to use the healthcare service. But we’re also customers and despite the circumstances, our experience can be considerably lifted – just as it can, and as we expect it to be, in any other sector in which we use services.
In a recent Deloitte survey of healthcare consumers, 44% of the ‘market’ said they’re actively engaged. We’re no longer passive recipients of treatment - and that number is growing.
We have health-kits, Fitbit's, home DNA kits and everything in between.
We demand more and there’s a huge opportunity for healthcare businesses if they close the experience gap with strategies that will bring mobile first, on-demand and completely integrated to our digital lives.