Chances are your health system’s website is a clunky old thing designed by the elderly (people over the age of 30). The time to rethink what you want out of your website has come and gone; that train already left the station. The only way to play catch-up is to dump the sclerotic vision that defines your online presence, and figure out what your stakeholders expect from it.
People who visit your website have an experience, but do they have a good one?
The best way to not have to measure patient experience is to design such a good, interactive online experience that measuring it would be redundant. Design these things into your website, and you will have the most progressive health system on the planet.
- If half of your callers would rather have their needs met online, figure out how to let them do that. If you don’t know what they want to do online, ask them.
- If half of your patients will seek a second opinion, give them a link telling them why they should stick with you.
- If half of your competitors’ patients are seeking a second opinion, give them a link telling them why they should pick you.
- If 20 percent of your callers have questions about their bills, use co-browsing and online videos to explain your bills.
- You know your patients are going to dispute their reimbursement. Show them how to do that on your website; make videos explaining payer by payer how to do it.
- If a percentage of your patients want to speak with a clinician, make sure they can. Heck, make sure they can do it at a time convenient to them, which probably will not fit the hours of your call center.
- If every single person who visits your website is either a patient or a potential patient, tailor all of its functionality to them — get rid of the other 80 links; links about the gift shop and posting baby photos online.
- If you have a scheduling center instead of a real call center — 80 percent of your calls are not about scheduling — create a real call center.
- Put a chat function on your website — how may I help you? — and delete that silly contact us box that promises a response before the next full solar eclipse.
- Let callers on hold enter their phone numbers instead of having to wait, and have the next available agent call them back.
- Let call center agents email callers.
- If someone contacts you through your website, respond to them within an hour.
- Let people schedule appointments online.
- Since a lot of people who are considering buying healthcare from your system visit your website, give them something to do when they get there — how about a customer portal where non-patients can store and track their health data like they do with apps on their smart phone; a portal whose data you can monitor.
- Since only a fraction of your callers and website visitors are in your EMR, make sure you can meet the needs of everyone who isn’t — those people are called customers.
Prevent people from leaking at the start of their experience. Design an experience focused on keepage, not leakage. None of these features are difficult to accomplish using current technology.
If you do all of these things, you will never have to worry about measuring patient experience. You will already know it is great.