3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience

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Quality of care and efficiency will be measured through reduced readmission rates and preventable hospitalization along with patient experience scores. The intent is by creating efficiencies and better care, rising healthcare costs will slow and become aligned with similar healthcare systems across the globe.

Part of this strategy involves using online tools for on-demand convenience, better health and disease management, doctor and patient communication, and symptom and treatment research.

This guide overviews several sample patient interactions using some of these tools with the help of a virtual health assistant.

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3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience

  1. 1. Introduction Intelligent virtual assistants are the key to accelerating your patient-centric initiatives. 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum Guide Powered by CodeBaby | 3 Today's healthcare organizations are now facing the same challenges as other industries--the need to create engagement and compete for wallet share, while meeting or exceeding quality expectations. These drivers tend to fall under patient experience and patient engagement but the word "consumer" is used just as often. Healthcare reform has been the biggest driver of the patient engagement movement and continues to place pressure on providers and payers to improve care quality that reduces crisis intervention and lowers healthcare costs. Moreover, it is estimated that a good percentage of higher healthcare costs relate to inefficient administration, paper record keeping, and a lack of care coordination. The Affordable Care Act addresses many of these factors by incentivizing and complying providers and payers to use specific standards for care coordination, payment model changes, and healthcare IT to create better clinical outcomes for patients. Quality of care and efficiency will be measured through reduced readmission rates and preventable hospitalization along with patient experience scores. The intent is by creating efficiencies and better care, rising healthcare costs will slow and become aligned with similar healthcare systems across the globe. Part of this strategy involves using online tools for on-demand convenience, better health and disease management, doctor and patient communication, and symptom and treatment research.  Here’s a look at several sample patient interactions using some of these tools with the help of a virtual health assistant.
  2. 2. Guide Powered by CodeBaby | 4 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum 1. Enhance On-Demand Healthcare Channels: Attract, Convert, and Empower Patients. 2. Improve Wellness and Chronic Disease Management: Motivate, Educate, and Coach. 3. Optimize Pre-Procedure and Post-Discharge Communication: Increase Healthier Outcomes with Relevant Information. 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum
  3. 3. Guide Powered by CodeBaby | 5 1. Enhance On-Demand Healthcare Channels: Attract, Convert, and Empower Patients. Attract and Convert With the push for value-based healthcare, organizations are scrambling to find ways to differentiate care and improve the consumer experience much like online retailers. Research shows that over 80% of consumers visit hospital websites prior to conversion and 61% are visiting two or more hospital websites before selection. Similar to the rest of online businesses, patients are just as likely to abandon due to confusion, dissatisfaction with offerings, or inability to request an appointment1. Placing a virtual health assistant (VHA) on the hospital’s or practice’s public facing website can make the strategic difference in the following areas: 1. A Warm Greeting and Navigation Assistance: The VHA offers a unique branded experience that encourages visitors to continue exploring. She or he can provide menu options for the most popular website tools such as physician locators, symptom navigators, and health libraries. In addition, she/ he can augment those tools when selected, providing a conversational, emotionally engaging experience. 2. Easy Appointment Request Assistant: According to research, the number one request of consumers is the ability to schedule and check-in for appointments online.2 Not all hospitals or practices yet have this implemented on a patient-facing basis, but with the right VHA and complementary technology, organizations can integrate their patient scheduling system via an open API. Taking it one step further, online forms can be formatted to take insurance information and display available appointment days and times. By integrating these strategies, organizations not only create immediate patient satisfaction and loyalty, they increase online conversions and reduce administrative costs. Click here to watch CIVA health advisor “Loretta” educate a patient prior to the visit and take an appointment right online. 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum
  4. 4. Guide Powered by CodeBaby | 6 1. Enhance On-Demand Healthcare Channels: Attract, Convert, and Empower Patients. 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum Empower In addition to the public-facing websites, consumers are demanding information and access to healthcare in the channel of their choice. This means delivering a patient- centric presence on social media, in retail healthcare, patient portals, and on mobile devices. According to a Health Research Institute Study3: ‣ Nearly 90% of 18 to 24 year olds said they would engage in health activities through social media ‣ Since 2007, the use of retail clinics has gone up 74%, from 9.7% to 23.5% ‣ 65% value mobile information exchange Using a virtual health assistant in these channels requires different levels of patient engagement. For example, on FaceBook, a virtual health assistant can be integrated into a hospital’s page, providing general health research. In retail health clinics and even in a practice or hospital setting, patient engagement can start through patient-education kiosks. Similar to a website experience, the VHA can help with check-ins and integrate with the health libraries, tutorials, and health assessments. By using a VHA at point-of-care, clinics gain considerable efficiencies while improving patient education and satisfaction at the time of care. Finally, mHealth virtual health assistants ensure consistency of care and adherence. By using the VHA to deliver alerts and reminders for medication adherence and behavioral activities, patients are more likely to stick with their prescribed treatment. By using a VHA in multiple channels, the patient experiences a consistent engagement journey from the hospital website, to social media, on the kiosk at time of care, and continues to see/hear the VHA for ongoing care.
  5. 5. Guide Powered by CodeBaby | 7 2. Improve Wellness and Chronic Disease Management: Motivate, Educate, and Coach. Click here to watch Myra explain the health risk assessment process and the importance of a good program. At the end, she explains the report and how participants can take the next step to better their health. 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum Actively engaging patients to manage their health conditions is one of the biggest challenges in healthcare today. However, it can be done successfully when modeled on a collaborative approach. An outgrowth of the ACA has created holistic payer/ provider networks developed to provide "value-based care". Leveraging technology is central to this imperative. These organizations use data from multiple sources to gain insights into the patient population. Their goal is to shift higher risk populations into care management programs in order to avoid expensive crisis interventions.4 This strategy involves improved patient-activation and self- management which can be enhanced by a virtual health assistant. 1. Integrate a Virtual Health Assistant into the Patient Portal: Beyond housing medical records, the best patient portals act as a rich resource for ongoing care. One of the quickest ways to improve patient satisfaction is to deliver lab diagnostics, disease conditions, and treatment advice with the help of the virtual health assistant. This is not a replacement for the physician’s advice but enhances it through interactive delivery with audio and visual expressions. Lengthy explanations are put into context for the patient, alleviating stress and concern, and continuing the branded online experience. Additionally, one can include VHA augmented appointment scheduling, reminders, and health research tools. 2. Integrate the Virtual Health Assistant into Wellness and Chronic Disease Management Portals: This is where the VHA moves from information provider to a digital health coach. The virtual health assistant can deliver personalized motivational messages, walk the patient through health assessments, and deliver guidance and options based on questionnaires. Additionally, the VHA is the ultimate adoption and brand loyalty tool that motivates patients to use and then maximize their specific program.
  6. 6. Guide Powered by CodeBaby | 8 3. Optimize Pre-Procedure and Post-Discharge Communication: Increase Healthier Outcomes with Relevant Information. 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum As part of the ACA and the hospital value-based purchasing program, hospitals must improve medication and discharge communications. In order to meet or exceed the patient experience ratings, hospitals and providers must work together to create a consistent and effective managed care experience. If they fail, they are at risk of losing a portion of their federal payments.5 Pre-Admission/Procedure By using a virtual health assistant prior to hospital admission or outpatient procedures, providers and hospitals benefit from an informed patient who will feel more at ease with the experience. The VHA can be used in a web-based portal similar to a patient portal in the following ways: 1. Assist the patient with filling out online forms and answering medical questions 2. Provide further education and guidance about their specific procedure or situation 3. Explain what to expect the day of admittance/procedure and ongoing medication and treatment requirements during their stay 4. Provide a virtual hospital tour that explains layout, amenities, rules, and regulations
  7. 7. Guide Powered by CodeBaby | 9 3. Optimize Pre-Procedure and Post-Discharge Communication: Increase Healthier Outcomes with Relevant Information. 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum Post-Discharge Communications Due to a high national hospital readmission rate of up to 20%, discharge communications are under the microscope6. Patients have been discharged with test results pending, medication changes, and lack of continuity between in and outpatient care. These issues underscore the need for coordinated care that leverages multi-hospital/provider technology offering a collaborative health record. According to an AHRQ-funded study, if patients have a clear understanding of after-care and medication instructions, they are 30% less likely to be readmitted7. Even if the organization has yet to implement an integrated patient portal, the virtual health assistant is still highly effective. According to Project RED results, creators of the virtual discharge process, as of 2007, using a virtual health assistant to manage discharge could save $145 per patient or over $5 Billion per year at the national level8. The VHA can deliver discharge instructions that should include the following: 1. Diagnosis 2. Instructions on post hospitalization care 3. How to take medicines 4. Diet and eating instructions 5. Exercise and mobility instructions 6. Rehabilitation schedule 7. Maps and directions to physicians
  8. 8. Ready to Accelerate Your Patient-Centric Initiatives Across the Care Continuum? Contact us for more information or a personalized demonstration. We also offer assessments that help you articulate the value of implementing a CIVA health advisor virtual assistant solution. Guide Powered by CodeBaby | 10 Learn More: Email info@codebaby.com http://codebaby.com/online-solutions/health-advisor/ © 2014 CodeBaby.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Sources: 1 Steele, Robert, MD, MBA, FACEP and Pawlicki, Stacie “Health Care Profitability in the E-Commerce Era: Ending Hospital Revenue Loss with Online Patient Scheduling and Waiting Services, April15, 2013 (https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/content/WHP-290986/Health-Care-Profitability-in-the-ECommerce-Era-Ending-Hospital-Revenue-Loss-with-Online-Patient-Scheduling- and-Waiting-Services) 2 Chase, Dave, “The 7 Habits of Highly Patient-Centric Providers”, February 18, 2013, (http://www.forbes.com/sites/davechase/2013/02/18/the-7-habits-of-highly-patient-centric-providers/) 3 The Health Research Institute, PwC, “Customer experience in healthcare: The moment of truth”, July 2012 (http://pwchealth.com/cgi-local/hregister.cgi/reg/customer-experience-in- healthcare.pdf ) 4, 5 Frost & Sullivan, “Leveraging Smart Technology to Deliver the Future of Healthcare”, December 2012, (http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/uncategorized/ibm-whitepaper-making- sense-of-big-data.html) 6 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Adverse Events After Hospital Discharge”, October 2012, (http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx? primerID=11) 7 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Preventing Avoidable Readmissions”, (http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient- safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/impptdis.html) 8 Jack, Brian, MD and Bickmore, Timothy, Ph.D., “Louise: Saving Lives, Cutting Costs in Healthcare”, (http://www.bu.edu/fammed/projectred/ publications/)VirtualPatientAdvocateWebsiteInfo2.pdf) 3 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Using Virtual Health Assistants Across the Care Continuum Designed and Written by Audrey Dalton, Director of Content Marketing @as_dalton

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