patient experience Archives - Binary Fountain

Uncovering Insights in Digital Patient Feedback

patient feedback in healthcare

Historically patient feedback in healthcare was measured solely with CAHPS surveys. Now that’s changed.

Whether you work for a hospital, physician practice, or another type of healthcare organization, patient feedback is now scattered across multiple sources. This feedback can be collected from online reviews, social media, patient surveys and even call center data. The challenge is to make sense of all this information. Buried within these open-ended comments are meaningful insights that can be used to improve the patient experience and your organization’s reputation.

Patient Feedback in Healthcare Challenges

The need to quickly analyze feedback at scale is only becoming more vital. You need to follow the trend on this data as well as quickly drill down into the details to identify issues that need to be resolved. Even the online reviews and surveys one practice receives can be overwhelming to manage – and it can impact their business. So, what strategy will you adopt to gain value from patient feedback?

Arm Yourself with Healthcare-specific NLP

As scientific as it sounds, natural language processing (NLP) uncovers meaningful insights from everyday language that can be found in millions of online reviews, surveys, and other sources. Identifying and analyzing keywords and phrases in unstructured comments, along with the context of how they’re being used, can reveal useful information. NLP is one of the most powerful tools a system can use to understand and act on the patient experience.

Some NLP tools are designed to work across multiple industries, but we don’t recommend them for measuring patient experience. Patients are unique consumers using unique terms for services unlike any other.

For this reason, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work well when it comes to the understanding of patient experience. Healthcare can learn valuable lessons from other industries, but feedback provided about a physician or specialist requires a more targeted NLP. It’s unlikely that NLP designed to analyze reviews for auto shops, retailers or restaurants would effectively hospitals, urgent care, and primary care clinics.

Binary Fountain took the approach of creating a healthcare-centric NLP from the ground up to understand the nuances of healthcare language. We break patient experience down into categories to help you draw specific and actionable insights.

Among these categories, insights from comments could be related to Timely Care, Patient Inclusion in Decision, and the Overall Experience while revealing their sentiment. Our NLP even allows you to drill down into the root cause of the issue, helping make this information actionable.

Our specialized NLP allows the healthcare system or practice to dig deep and identify the issue causing poor patient experience – and fix them. Ultimately, “the why” behind a review is the true value.

The Relationship Between Data and Reputation

In an era where nearly half of healthcare consumers use reviews to find care, your online reputation is more important than ever. Therefore, the only way to truly boost your reputation is by taking your ratings and reviews into account and acting upon them accordingly.

You should note, however, that a blanket number of aggregate star ratings will not help you make meaningful changes. Aggregate star ratings merely indicate an average of what people think of your business. Your star ratings and large data sets involving customer sentiment can give you a broader idea of how well you are doing. Note, however, that these ratings derive from individual feedback.

Individual customer reviews give you more nuanced data on what you are doing well and what can be improved. It is this feedback that gives you the ground-level information necessary to make operational changes and improve the patient experience.

Of course, whether or not you can make these changes depends upon how attuned you are to these reviews. If you are not aware of the reviews you receive, or you have no way of organizing, managing, and responding to them, these bits of small data become useless. You need proper customer engagement strategies and online review management solutions to read and reply to all feedback.

Healthcare organizations must monitor both the micro-level details and the broad view of their brand’s standing. Improvement in overall patient experiences happens at this intersection of big and small healthcare feedback analytics.

Use Patient Feedback in Healthcare to Take Action

Never miss out on an opportunity to build patient loyalty and create a better patient experience. Engaging your patients online or offline is key. Timely patient complaint service recovery could turn a bad review into a positive overall experience.

Physician engagement in online reputation is also key, as patient feedback is a learning moment. Providers and institutions can use feedback data to identify areas of improvement. Healthcare organizations like Temple University Health System are exemplary when it comes to making this data actionable. As a result, their patient experience scores and reputation management programs have improved.

Online Reviews Correlate to HCAHPS

CAHPS and HCAHPS surveys are another rich source of patient feedback and tend to correlate to online feedback. One previous Binary Fountain study found a strong, positive correlation (0.54 coefficient) between patient feedback scores calculated from unstructured online reviews and HCAHPS Top Box scores (overall rating domain).

This why effective healthcare NPS software must also capture survey feedback, such as HCAHPS, in addition to online feedback. Every additional source of feedback harvests new individual insights that could add up to massive improvement in patient experience.

Understand What’s Important to Your Patients

The answers toward improving the patient experience are in front of you. You already have a wealth of patient feedback, you only need to make sense of it. To take the next step, and you need tools created specifically for the healthcare environment to have a positive, meaningful impact on the patient experience.

Having a comprehensive view of patient metrics and insights can help you achieve valuable competitive advantages. Many healthcare organizations are already benchmarking their performance against other healthcare organizations. Healthcare is trending toward the consumer experience. The health systems that embrace this shift will find themselves winning new patients and building long-term loyalty.

Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can improve your online reputation?

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For more on patient feedback in healthcare, browse these resources:

 


The Key to Care Improvement for Health Insurance Companies

care-improvement-health-insuranceThe Triple Aim of Health Care is helping a variety of organizations realize healthcare improvement in cost, quality, and patient satisfaction, including health insurance companies.

The Triple Aim is already thought of as a powerful framework to understand the key drivers in a healthcare system, both with individual providers and hospitals. However, it could also be used by insurers to find new ways to provide members with better healthcare at reduced costs. For many insurers, the key to applying the Triple Aim goes beyond their typical analysis of cost and quality data, requiring payers to collect, understand, and act on patient experience feedback.

In this post, we cover the patient experience component of the Triple Aim. You’ll see what measuring and quantifying patient experience could look like for insurance companies. We’ll also show you how decisions based on patient experience could lower healthcare costs, elevate member satisfaction, and facilitate care improvement for members of health insurance companies.

The Triple Aim of Healthcare and Patient Experience

The goal of the Triple Aim of Healthcare is to improve healthcare by simultaneously pursuing three goals:

  1. Reducing per capita costs of health care
  2. Improving the health of populations
  3. Improving the patient experience of care

Today, payers are constantly analyzing claims and other related data to better understand the quality of patient outcomes and cost in order to guide decision making. By facilitating the collection and analysis of patient experience data, healthcare insurers will be better equipped to improve outcomes and make operational improvements in the spirit of the Triple Aim.

Insurance companies already have cost and value data at their fingertips. They’re using it for everything from day to day operations to long term planning, including network development, and setting reimbursement rates for providers, hospitals, and labs.

Healthcare insurers also have population health data that measures the quality of healthcare outcomes across the patient panel. For example, many payers track everything from preventative measures like Annual Wellness Visits to the episodes like diagnoses and hospital admissions. Thanks to this robust quality data collection, payers can detect health trends within their membership populations and institute wellness programs to prevent the need for future healthcare consumption.

Understanding, quantifying, and streamlining the care journey through patient experience metrics is the final piece of the Triple Aim for payers. With this data, insurers can discover which providers will best serve their members and build the strongest networks for referrals and care coordination.

Additionally, they can utilize patient experience data to improve existing networks by focusing on provider performance. They could reward physicians and staff for positive patient experience outcomes, and ultimately avoid the risk and expense of contracting with lower-quality providers.

What Does a Positive Patient Experience Look Like?

Before payers can analyze patient feedback, they need to define the elements of patient experience. According to research, patients care most about the following components of the experience:

  1. Was the exam thorough?
  2. Did the provider spend an appropriate amount of time with the patient?
  3. Could the provider effectively answer all of their questions?
  4. Did the provider have a positive attitude and bedside manner?
  5. Was the patient included in the decisions around next steps?
  6. Did the patient experience the outcomes they expected?
  7. Did the provider provide clarity around the care plan and give them the appropriate instructions?
  8. Would the patient return to this provider to seek care?
  9. How was the doctor’s follow-up after the exam?
  10. What was the patient’s overall feedback and prevailing sentiment after seeing this provider?

Payers can use these 10 patient experience categories to analyze feedback about each provider. Subsequently, they can share insights and trends with their networks of providers, staff, and internal to help guide better patient experiences.

Insurance companies can use net promoter scores (NPS) to analyze each site of service in their network and even each health plan they offer. Additional metrics and scores could be collected, based on popular areas of patient concern, such as access, wait times, timely return of test results, elder care, coordination of care, and communication.

Insurers can use scoring to optimize their members’ digital experience and journey. Keeping up with customer feedback could help them optimize their digital front door strategies. It could lead to useful tools such as in-network provider profiles and improvements to the billing experience.

Understanding the Patient Care Journey

A payer’s first step to building their patient experience data is to enhance the way they’re surveying the landscape. In the case of patient experience, this means understanding the patient care journey and patient’s experiences though unstructured feedback.

Patient feedback collection is key to understanding what’s going through patients’ minds. Insurers can utilize two main avenues towards collecting this feedback: online reviews and surveys. Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology, both of these sources can be processed and analyzed quickly.

Surveys are a versatile tool for payers to understand the patient experience of providers. Insurers can work with structured survey data from standard industry surveys, such as CAHPS and HOS. In addition, they can go a step further and send out their own customized surveys to members after receiving care. Both options can be processed quickly with deep analytics software.

ebook-patient-experience-surveysA major advantage for insurers willing to create their own surveys is their ability to collect free-text responses. NLP technology makes analyzing free-text responses in seconds by scanning text for sentiment and trends.

Without NLP, multi-choice responses have traditionally been more practical to work with. NLP makes the experience of processing free-text responses similar to that of multi-choice responses. The key difference is that patients aren’t required to select the “closest” answer. Instead, patients can tell you exactly how they feel without compromising, giving the surveyor the opportunity to understand the range of insights from customers in the most unbiased way possible.

Online reviews are an additional yardstick that insurers can use to evaluate providers. They’re publicly available, easily accessible, and highly trusted by consumers. Online reviews can be automatically detected and processed by review management software. Much like with free-text surveys, NLP technology can quickly analyze online feedback and even score these reviews in aggregate.

Insurers can use surveys and online feedback to not only measure the performance of health systems, medical groups, service locations, and also individual providers. In addition, payers can publish both sources of member-generated content on their websites and provide profiles. It makes insurers and their networks more transparent and consumer-friendly.

Quantifying the Care Journey

Once insurers have surveyed the care journey, it’s time to quantify the findings for comparison, analyzation, and benchmarking.

As mentioned in the last section, NLP technology can turn patients’ free-text feedback into quantifiable data points. Payers can use this data to track organizational and provider performance over time. Additionally, you can compare data points between groups and develop benchmarks for future performance.

Wide data collection provides opportunities to analyze data on large populational scales all the way down to small granular views. Insurers could compare and find trends in specialties, within hospital networks, with affiliates of networks, and more.

This data, combined with health data and cost data, could yield powerful results. For instance, payers may discover trends in negative patient experience that result in members deferring care with expensive consequences.

Insurers may discover connections between patients who skip annual wellness visits and primary care physicians with poor bedside manner. They may not pick up or correctly use a prescription due to bad provider communication. Low trust in or loyalty to a provider could result in a member ignoring a recommended referral to a specialist.

Payers can use positive patient experience data to see which providers are successful in-patient engagement. They can measure:

  • The extent to which loyal and long-term doctor-patient relationships lower healthcare costs and boost efficiency.
  • How positive patient experience results in better management of chronic diseases.
  • Compliance with care plans as a result of high-quality patient communication skills.

The goal of this step is to understand why some are achieving better and or more efficient patient outcomes. Insurers need to find gaps between efficacy and effectiveness to sort out who looks good on paper, and who gets results.

Streamlining the Care Journey – Care Improvement Thanks to Health Insurance

The final step in this process is to plan, implement, and measure improvements.

These improvements could range from sharing findings with in-network organizations to utilizing information to narrow networks. Insurers working on new value-based care reimbursement models should implement this data when architecting new payment models and performance contracts. Insurers could even use unstructured patient feedback as a data point and key indicator in order to streamline identify medical fraud and unnecessary treatments.

As improvements take effect, it will be crucial to consistently analyze patient experience over time. Consumer sentiment and trends are always evolving, and member preferences should always be taken into consideration.

Payers need to collect patient experience data to complete their understanding and holistically pursue the Triple Aim. Those payers who do not may have more trouble remaining relevant next to insurers who tackle the challenge of adopting the voice of the patient in their decision making. Applying this data could result in lower costs, better care management, and more satisfied members experiencing care improvement thanks to health insurance companies.


Value-Based Care, Payers, and Patient Experience Data

value-based-care-payerAs value-based care flourishes, payers are starting to pay special attention to key steps on the patient’s care journey. In order to understand that journey and efficiently lower the costs of care, payers need to address questions about the member experience:

How do members navigate the systems payers have in place? How do they feel about the network of providers? Can members easily access important tools like telemedicine? How do members rate the overall quality of their health plan?

An increasing number of Natural Language Processing (NLP) powered tools are allowing organizations to swiftly collect and analyze bulk patient feedback. This technology allows users to quickly quantify and analyze open-text patient feedback. For payers, it’s a tool to understand and measure the entire patient journey and all aspects of member experience.

This post will explore how payers can use patient feedback data to improve patient experience, provider experience, and administrative workflows. Then, you’ll see how these improvements lead to lower healthcare costs and better outcomes.

How Can Payers Improve Patient Experience?

Payers can expand their access to customer feedback by increasing the types of surveys they analyze beyond CAHPS and HOS. Surveying can detect member sentiments on health plans, feedback on providers, and other trends in open-text feedback.

Organizations can build a comprehensive data hub by collecting patient feedback from surveys, call centers, social media reviews, and other member sources. Then, NLP analysis can turn that data into patient experience insights across multiple categories at the provider level.

Here are some ways payers are improving the patient experience with feedback data:

  • Capturing ratings and reviews in member portals so patients can see feedback and make decisions on their care journey
  • Providing scores for individual providers so members can utilize quantitative data from other patient’s experiences to compare options Proactively surveying members quickly after each episode of care to get real-time feedback
  • Using feedback to benchmark provider performance and help them improve. Physician and provider liaisons can follow up with providers on cost, quality, and patient feedback data
  • Leveraging scoring and feedback data in care coordination and referral management

NLP data helps payers understand what drives positive patient experience both inside and outside of the provider’s office. This includes members’ choices of their network providers on their patient portals and continues through each step of the care journey.

Quantify Patient Experience for Each Provider

Payers can also analyze patient feedback to measure provider performance. According to research, patients care most about the following provider experience quality measures:

  1. Thoroughness of examination
  2. Patient inclusion in decisions
  3. Ability to answer questions
  4. Provider’s attitude
  5. Patient perceived outcomes
  6. Amount of time spent with patients
  7. Provider’s follow-up with patients
  8. Clarity of care plan instructions
  9. Patient loyalty
  10. General Feedback

Payers can use these 10 patient experience categories to analyze feedback about each provider in their network. Subsequently, they can share insights and trends with their networks of providers to help guide better patient experiences.

Open-text, or unstructured, feedback allows patients to communicate their exact feelings and observations. In contrast, multiple-choice answers force survey respondents to compromise on the closest fit response. NLP technology allows payers to rapidly process this free-response feedback. First, the software detects patient sentiment through words and phrases in patient feedback. It can then easily quantify and translate those insights into patient experience scores.

Reducing the time period between care delivery and patient experience feedback is critical. In order to assist, software tools can integrate with APIs and health system EMRs for immediate, high-quality feedback. In addition, payers can publish this member-generated content on their websites and provide profiles to be transparent and consumer-friendly.

Here are ways insurers and managed care organizations can increase transparency by sharing patient experience data:

  • Create a Patient Experience score alongside Cost and Quality metrics for search pages and provider profiles
  • Allow patients to sort and filter patient experience scores by specific key performance indicators
  • Showcase provider feedback on member portals to encourage patient content

Supporting Providers, Solving Workflow Funnels, and Making Value-Based Care Possible for Payers

As payers capture patient feedback data to optimize their networks, they can also improve provider experience. Insights about network providers and staff will help payers understand how to support providers in their network.

  • Provider Performance Management: Use custom patient experience reports to understand trends and benchmarks for providers.
  • Referral Insights: Share patient experience insights with PCPs to broaden the data scope on referrals for members.
  • Internal Stakeholders: Optimize health plans and networks through Root Cause Analysis.

Provider feedback could be particularly useful as healthcare reimbursement shifts from fee-for-service based models to value-based payment programs. In order to keep the focus on patient care and maintain high-performance results, alternative payment models need to reduce provider burdens.

Provider feedback data will be an important source for effective change for payers through this value-based care reimbursement transition. Therefore, payers should track how their policies are affecting providers’ ability to care for their patients.

Insurance companies could also track how changes affect provider satisfaction. Happy providers lead to happy patient members, which make loyal customers. Not to mention, provider survey data is key to achieving the Quadruple Aim of healthcare, which you can read about here.

For more on payers and patient experience, browse these related posts:


How to Benchmark Customer Experience

benchmark-customer-experienceGreat companies find ways to make their customers raving fans of their brand.

If you want to grow your business, you first need to transform your customer experience (CX) to ensure your consumers are not just served, but are treated to transformational experiences with your brand.

But how do you improve your customer experience? What kinds of metrics should you use to benchmark your CX?  How committed does your company have to be to redefining interactions with your customer?

None of these are easy questions to answer, but measuring your customer experience is a sure way to improve your customer retention numbers, and by extension, your customer acquisition.

Benchmarking helps companies understand how their strategies and employees are performing compared to competitors and compared to what customers are actually saying. It can be a hard wake up call, but it can also set your organization up for long-term success.

Another way to benchmark your customer experience is to analyze how your company is doing at an enterprise level. Is one of your locations performing much better than another? Is one of your physicians getting better patient feedback scores than another?

These are all considerations to keep in mind while you analyze your customer experience metrics.

In this article, we’ll break down how to benchmark your customer experience in three simple steps to get you started on improving your relationship with consumers.

Start with KPIs for Benchmarking Customer Experience

In order to start the benchmarking process, you need to know which KPIs to measure over time.

This may look slightly different for every industry or vertical, but the heart of the project remains the same: Which areas are critical to measure against past performance both internally and externally.

Some of these metrics could be:

  • Net promoter score
  • Customer effort score
  • Customer acquisition and retention
  • Customer satisfaction scores
  • Volume and sentiment of online reviews
  • Average ratings across listing platforms
  • Consumer engagement

All of these are great KPIs to measure as you benchmark your customer experience. If you are coming at this from a reputation management angle, this free webinar may help you better understand what metrics will get the most bang for your buck.

Ask Your Customers and Frontline Staff

The worst possible strategy is thinking your leadership team automatically knows what’s wrong with your customer experience. You need real feedback from customers and your frontline staff.

Engaging directly with your customers helps you identify organizational blind spots and get a better sense of what is not working. One way to do this is by looking at your online reviews and surveys – not just the star rating, but also the overall sentiment and specific pain points mentioned.

One way that you can measure your customer sentiment is to use reputation management software that leverages natural language processing (NLP) to help you analyze customer feedback. It can give you insights into the specific areas that you need to fix to improve your customer experience.

Another way to tackle the problem is through a Voice of the Customer campaign. Voice of the Customer programs are geared towards collecting and analyzing customer insights to identify opportunities for operational or product improvements. The ultimate goal of a Voice of the Customer campaign should be to increase customer acquisition and retention.

After you hear directly from your customers, you should then connect the dots with your frontline staff to see if their own feedback matches what your customers are saying, and to get their perspective on what needs to be improved.

After gathering these data points, you should be able to distill the information down to metrics and trends that identify good, bad and average scores/percentages. After you start your benchmarking program, comparing the most current available scores against these previous scores will help you understand what is and isn’t working with your customer experience.

Benchmarking for Competitive Advantage

Have you ever gotten a customer service experience that was so awful, you swore never to go back to that business again?

If you want to grow a loyal customer base, and keep business away from your competitors, you need to focus on your customer experience. Customer satisfaction is the biggest reason why people will be more likely to refer people they know to one company over another.

When you are benchmarking your company’s performance, take the time to analyze how your competitors are doing. While you may not be able to collect all of the customer data you want, online reviews and social media mentions will give you an idea of how they are performing and what areas they struggle with.

After that analysis, you should be able to identify areas where you can improve your customer experience and answer some of the problems their customers are facing, potentially attracting them to your business.

In your analysis, be careful not to make too many one-to-one comparisons. The goal should be to find areas where they are beating you, where you can make adjustments and how your customer experience compares to the larger market.

Take the First Steps to Improving Your Customer Experience

When you get right down to it, benchmarking and improving the customer experience is an evergreen marketing strategy that will increase ROI long after you put improvements into action. Positive reviews, personal referrals and increased customer loyalty should all lead to compounding interest on your investments.

Identifying the right KPIs, getting customer insights and comparing your results against the industry through benchmarking are just the first steps in making customer focused organizational change.

At Binary Fountain, we help businesses find the actionable insights they need to improve their customer experience. Our platform lets you collect and analyze customer feedback all in one place, including online reviews, social sentiment and even internal surveys.

Check out our case studies or schedule a demo today.


Why Healthcare Payers are Eyeing Patient Experience

payers-patient-experience

Superior patient experience is not just the concern of providers and health systems. Payers are also recognizing the costs of poor patient experiences and benefits in elevating the experiences of their members.

Reimbursement models that rely on “fee for service” have contributed to a poor patient experience across the healthcare industry. Providers are forced to see high volumes of patients each day to keep their practices profitable. It’s lowering the quality of care for patients and causing burnout among physicians.

Members are also fed up with the unintended side-effects of “fee for service.” They’re not willing to tolerate barriers to access and the long waits that are notorious in the healthcare industry. Long billing cycles, surprise billing, and billing mistakes also draw the ire of patients. Thanks to the rise of healthcare consumerism, patients are increasingly expecting a level of service on par with other service industries.

As a result, payers are moving away from traditional reimbursement models and working on alternatives. The models are being designed with two major concerns in mind:

  1. How can we improve the quality of care for our members?
  2. How can we reduce the costs of our members’ healthcare?

New models need to address both of these overarching concerns simultaneously. Payers are beginning to notice that patient experience has the potential to do so.

Patient experience is becoming a crucial business metric for insurance companies and managed care organizations. In this article, we’ll cover the reasons why positive patient experience should be a factor in any reimbursement model.

Reversing the Public Health Decline

The sagging overall health of the public is a primary driver of more patient-centric approaches.

Troubling data shows that United States citizen’s health is falling behind that of other developed countries. Morbidity rates are high. American women, in particular, have an alarmingly high maternal morbidity rate.

The reasons for our country’s decline in health are complex and often debated. But many experts agree that deficiencies in health services are a contributing cause. The U.S. has access to some of the most advanced medical research, technology, hospitals, and specialists on the planet. But shortcomings in access and quality of care provided are hurting overall health outcomes while costs soar.

Positive patient experience has shown potential in turning the tide on these figures. Studies have shown that improved patient experience metrics are linked to better clinical outcomes. One study found that positive interactions with providers correlated with greater care plan compliance and quality of life.

Positive patient experience, such as provider attitude and positive primary care performance, has been shown to increase adherence to treatment plans. Good communication with providers proved to be particularly beneficial at encouraging plan adherence. The quality of this relationship was shown to be especially prominent among patients in disease management. Researchers note that chronic conditions tend to require stronger commitment from patients to work with providers to achieve positive results.

A supportive patient experience during care has been connected to better long-term health outcomes outside of chronic conditions. This is particularly true for the quality of provider communications. Studies of patients hospitalized for heart attack have repeatedly shown a viable connection between patient experience and health outcomes. One study even linked patient experience and health outcomes up to a full year after discharge.

Lowering Member Healthcare Costs

Payers’ customers, and patients in general, are increasingly discontent with healthcare pricing.

Healthcare costs have been rising for decades, and the increases are hitting patient wallets. Per capita, out-of-pocket expenditures have grown from around $600 (present USD value) in 1970 to $1,150 as of 2018. The average employee saw their deductible rise 120% between 2006 and 2015 alone. And most patients can’t afford the average surprise $600 healthcare bill.

Patient experience can help lower healthcare costs in surprising ways. Relationship quality is an indicator of patient loyalty to providers, as well as an important element of patient experience. Patient loyalty can keep members in-network, healthy, and satisfied with their overall experience and care journey.

Efforts to increase patient experience have even been linked to elevated employee satisfaction, which in turn reduces turnover. Longer provider tenue offers patients consistency in care and greater clinical accuracy. This can reduce the consumption of medical services and cut costs further.

Patient experience tracking can even detect the potential risk of medical mistakes. Poor patient experience is associated with, and even predictive, of malpractice risk. One study found providers in its “very poor” patient experience group were 21.7% more likely to be sued for malpractice.

Patient Experience in Payment Models

Declining public health and medical costs outrage has healthcare payers looking at patient experience as a reimbursement metric.

Positive experiences in healthcare have been proven to improve health outcomes while simultaneously lowering costs. Patient experience can meet the core goals of new reimbursement systems while improving service for its customers.

The case for patient experience is only getting clearer with each additional study. The healthcare payers that embrace patient experience first will profit the most.

For more on patient experience and health insurance, browse these related posts:


Telemedicine Ratings: How to Improve Your Virtual Patient Experience

virtual-patient-experienceThe adoption of telemedicine is shifting into hyper-drive, with virtual healthcare interactions on pace to top 1 billion by year’s end. One of the largest telemedicine platforms, Teladoc, reported 15,000+ virtual patient requests per day in mid-March, and the pace has only quickened since then.

When we surveyed hundreds of healthcare marketers about which projects they are planning post-COVID-19, telemedicine was the top response, with 50% saying it is a major upcoming initiative.

The changed focus is necessary, but healthcare providers are finding that virtual visits are far different from in-person care.

How do you ensure that your providers’ telemedicine appointments are as effective as office visits?

New information, best practices and skillsets are now needed for communicating with patients across a video screen, from miles away. Here are practical considerations to share with physicians and staff that are starting to engage in telemedicine for the first time.

Telemedicine Equipment and Technical Considerations

It won’t be easy for all your organization’s physicians to get comfortable with telemedicine, but the right equipment and technical know-how will start them on the right foot.

When considering the setup for virtual visits, imagine the visit from the patient’s point of view. Even if you’re using a makeshift office in your guestroom during the pandemic, you can clean any clutter, angle your camera for a tidy background, and close doors and windows to block background noise.

Here are more tips on telemedicine equipment that will improve the perception of your virtual visits:

  • Lighting can have a major effect on video quality. Turn on overhead lights and a desk lamp if available, and try to avoid having light-filled windows in the background.
  • Use a high-quality webcam so patients can clearly see your face and feel more comfortable speaking about their symptoms and care options. Today’s webcams are relatively inexpensive – you won’t have to spend more than $100 for sufficient performance.
  • Position your camera at eye level to make it easier to maintain eye contact with patients and make clear that you are focused exclusively on them.
  • Use wired headphones, if available, that have a built-in microphone for good sound quality. Most regular laptop microphones won’t pick up your voice clearly enough, and wireless headphones risk disconnecting or running out of battery during the visit.

In addition, make sure your technology support team’s contact information is easily accessible. Technical problems can and will happen, and you’ll want that sticky note available when you need it.

Before the Virtual Visit

Once your equipment is sorted out, there’s more to do in preparation for a high-quality telemedicine appointment that will produce desired outcomes and attract loyal patients.

Virtual patients will need to adjust to telemedicine just like providers, so make sure to engage patients beforehand with instructions on how to use the technology. You could prepare a cheat sheet with screenshots to send to patients before their first virtual visit, and consider doing a test visit before the actual appointment. A Massachusetts Medical Society study found that when staff does a day-before test visit with first-time telemedicine patients, the call completion rate approached 100% and visit completion increased from 60% to 96%.

Just like any other visit, take whatever time you have before logging in to read the patient complaint and their medical record. Virtual visits are generally more efficient than in-person ones, and off-screen preparation will help make them even faster.

You can also consider addressing insurance and billing options with patients before a video consultation. Billing for telemedicine is a moving target as states and insurers make changes and exceptions in the wake of COVID-19, so patients are bound to have questions and will want to get the most out of their time.

An optional but worthwhile consideration for providers is wearing your white coat or other medical uniform and making sure your badge is visible. Small adjustments like this can make major differences in the patient’s perception of their visit, which will be reflected in online reviews and survey feedback.

During the Virtual Visitwebinar-covid-19-telemedicine

As your virtual visit kicks off, consider who is within listening distance of your phone or video chat conversation. The patient will determine who is in their home environment, but physicians are responsible for confidentiality on their end. Inform patients early of other listeners or participants in the visit, especially if they’re off camera.

Before the meat of the visit begins, physicians should also give the patient instructions on what to do if technology malfunctions.

One of crucial patient experience factors for telemedicine is staying engaged. Physicians should try to maintain eye contact and acknowledge they are listening in more deliberate ways than in-person visits. Sometimes, that means mentioning to the patient that you’re taking notes or describing what you’re looking at on your computer screen.

Once you’ve talked through the patient’s care, be sure to explain next steps before signing off. This could include prescription pickup, billing, scheduling a follow-up or other processes that might be different from their regular in-office visits. The end of your video session is also a good time to ask for the patient’s opinion on virtual visits and prime them to complete a survey or leave a review.

After the Telemedicine Appointment

In a Massachusetts General Hospital study, 79% of patients said it was easier to schedule an appointment for a virtual follow-up than for a clinic visit, and 66% said they had strong personal connections to their telemedicine provider. Patients perceived significant added convenience, saved travel time, and expressed willingness to pay co-payments for telemedicine visits.

Right after the appointment is the best time to capture that patient experience and generate quality reviews for your providers. Consider automating your survey requests to send right after virtual visits, and use text messages to boost click-through rates. As you collect this new feedback data, put it to use by converting surveys and reviews into ratings for publication on your website and listings.

Remember in all your communications pre- and post-visit that care quality is the top consumer concern about telemedicine, followed by data security and privacy. On the other hand, convenience, time savings, access to care and financial savings are the most frequently cited reasons for patients’ preference for telemedicine. Highlighting those benefits, and easing concerns about care quality and technological issues, are key to improving patient experience for virtual visits.

Learn more about telemedicine’s impact on healthcare marketing and patient experience in our recent webinar: COVID-19, Telemedicine and Your Online Presence.


[Webinar Recap] How a Multi-Specialty Physician Group Leverages Patient Feedback

webinar-steward-patient-feedbackAs the healthcare consumer journey continues to change, prioritizing patient experience enhancements requires monitoring real-time feedback data across all your services – physical or virtual.

In our latest webinar, we brought together Joan Cox, national senior director of patient experience at Steward Medical Group, and Andrew Rainey, Binary Fountain’s executive vice president of strategy and corporate development, to discuss ways to use patient feedback to prioritize patient experience improvements at scale.

We covered how the national physician group uses survey and review data to benchmark provider performance, gain physician adoption for its telemedicine programs, and improve care outcomes.

Click here to watch the on-demand webinar.

Here are the key takeaways:

Leveraging Patient Feedback Data from Surveys and Reviews

To implement process improvement programs at scale, Steward collects and monitors patient feedback daily and distributes reports weekly.

The weekly patient experience reports include the following metrics: Provider Feedback Score (PFS) ratings, the number of completed surveys, and Net Promoter Score (NPS) benchmarking. The organization weighs the feedback differently depending on whether the source is an online review or patient survey. They focus on overall trends across those metrics, as opposed to an individual week’s or month’s rankings.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, review responses and patient communication have become crucial elements of patient experience at Steward. Cox recommends asking for feedback only when you have the time to respond and engage with the patient. This will give you the ability to repair any damage that’s been done by a patient’s negative experience.

To engage your employees, Steward highlights positive patient feedback in a monthly newsletter and hosts the feedback on an employee engagement SharePoint page.

“Positive comments are the backbone of employee engagement, and negative comments are the focus for patient engagement,” Cox says.

Benchmarking and Gaining Provider Buy-In

Internally, Steward is using patient feedback to benchmark practices and gain provider buy-in for initiatives like their telemedicine programs. Starting with survey and review data, the organization benchmarks patient experience ratings at both the provider and practice levels, which helps to identify where to focus on improvements across their locations.

Steward focuses mostly on practices that have significant survey volume, so there is a complete picture of its performance. The patient experience priorities are centered around its major areas of concern, as well – feedback about providers or employee engagement will receive more attention than feedback about facilities.

Positive patient feedback has helped support provider adoption for Steward’s telemedicine program, which is not mandatory for their physicians. Cox uses positive comments from Binary Fountain’s platform to share around the organization, nudging hesitant physicians toward using the technology.

Reporting Patient Experience Successes

Connecting patient experience directly to business objectives is never easy, but internal benchmarking based on patient feedback is helping Steward improve across several performance categories. Success is celebrated more than negative trends in reports, Cox says, but Steward “doesn’t shy away from showing who’s at top and bottom.”

One notable success was how Steward used feedback data from before and after piloting a primary care call center to show its impact on patient experience, leading to the approval and budget to expand it nationally. Its “practice champion” initiative also gained approval using survey metrics as a foundation – growing from 10 to 275 participants in less than three years.

Another major piece of validation for the organization was comparing PFS from before and after implementing patient experience measurements based on feedback data. Steward has reported a year-over-year improvement in risk contracting and in its patient engagement, which now is measured right alongside organization-wide revenue numbers.

For more insights and advice, click here to watch the on-demand webinar. 

Read more about customer feedback data and patient experience:


The Impact of Telemedicine on Patient Experience

telemedicine-patient-experienceAs telemedicine takes center stage in the wake of COVID-19, healthcare organizations need to understand and adjust to its impact on patient experience.

New questions about the technology’s effects on patient satisfaction are arising as both patients and providers adjust to a new normal, including one key inquiry:

How will the rise of telehealth visits impact patient experience for healthcare consumers and caregivers?

In short, on-demand, virtual care is a powerful tool for those in charge of improving patient satisfaction. Consumers across specialties are rating telemedicine as equal to or better than in-person consultations.

In this article, you will learn which top factors are influencing the perception of telemedicine, the main patient care experience benefits derived from virtual services, and the impact of telemedicine on care quality.

Convenience and Time Savings from Telemedicine

Convenience, time savings, access to care and financial savings are the most frequently cited reasons for patients’ preference for telemedicine. Highlighting those benefits, and easing concerns about facetime and technological issues, are key to improving patient experience for virtual visits.

Telemedicine allows patients to bypass travel and waiting room experiences — major sources of negative feedback – giving their interactions with providers a higher baseline level of satisfaction. That benefit of convenience is reflected in several studies of telehealth.

2019 study of the telemedicine impact on patient experience found improvements in all the domains recommended by the National Quality Forum: access (time spent in evaluation), experience (patient satisfaction) and effectiveness (case cancellation rate). The telemedicine group spent less time in pre-admission testing (PAT) by an average of 24 minutes and had no cancellations, while several of the in-person visits were cancelled.

Telemedicine shines when it comes to follow-up consultations. In a study by Massachusetts General Hospital, clinicians said telehealth was instrumental in offering convenient and timely follow-up visits. Seventy percent said the technology helped them see patients in a timely manner and 50% said telehealth was efficient.

Due to convenience and time savings, the consumer appreciation for virtual visits is also reflected in a telemedicine study of radiation oncology patients. Most patients preferred virtual visits for future consultations, about one-third desired a mix of telemedicine and in-person visits, and only one patient preferred in-person visits only.

Access to Virtual Care and Financial Savings

Payers and providers are starting to realize how much telemedicine can help control costs, as well.

The lack of access to care negatively affects patient engagement and follow-through, according to research from telehealth provider Teladoc. In many cases, prompt and accessible health services help avoid the need for more complex and expensive treatment.

Patients seeking treatment via telemedicine encounter fewer barriers to prompt care delivery, which in turn leads to better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

In the Massachusetts General Hospital study, 79% of patients said it was easier to schedule an appointment for a virtual follow-up visit than for a clinic visit, and 66% said they had strong personal connections to their telemedicine provider. Patients perceived significant added convenience, saved travel time, and expressed willingness to pay co-payments for this visit option.

Particularly in rural areas, the time saved commuting to care centers is highly valuable. According to a Harvard Medical School study, patients spend an average of $43 in lost time for a typical doctor’s appointment – a cost they will appreciate being alleviated by virtual services.

How Telemedicine Impacts Quality of Care

According to Texas State University research, the factors listed most often connecting telehealth to patient satisfaction were improved outcomes (20%), preferred modality (10%), ease of use (9%), low cost (8%), improved communication (8%), and decreased travel time (7%).

And those factors are so far receiving high marks: 95% of patients report being satisfied with their telehealth experience, according to eVisit. A 2019 study concerning PAT echoes that statistic, finding that using telemedicine for PAT had benefits in terms of access, patient experience and effectiveness for both patients and providers.

webinar-covid-19-telemedicineWhen comparing virtual visits and office visits, MGH found that many patients and clinicians reported no difference in “the overall quality of the visit.” It additionally found that:

  • 62% said the quality of care via telehealth was the same as an in-person visit
  • 21% said the quality of care via telehealth was better than an in-person visit
  •  68% rated their visit a nine or a 10 on a 10-point satisfaction scale

Note that when a patient rated lower than a nine, according to the study, it was usually due to a technical difficulty that MGH said was resolved before the visit was completed.

These are just small samplings of the many types of care primed to take advantage of telemedicine services, like pregnancy, rehabilitation and chronic conditions. With so many care factors benefiting from the technology, your healthcare organization can confidently prepare to use virtual services to boost patient experience for the long term.

For more on how to market telemedicine, browse these related posts:


Patient Experience’s Impact on Revenue

patient-experience

Patients are consumers – they have similar customer service expectations as they would for other industries. When it comes to selecting a physician, someone who they entrust with their health, the patient experience delivered is key – and it starts online. Ignoring your online patient reviews evokes the same feeling as hanging up on someone during a customer support call. Healthcare providers must take this into account when deciding on a strategy to improve the patient experience and ultimately impact revenue.

Patient Experience Leads to Revenue

Organizations providing “superior” patient experience achieve net margins 50 percent higher than those providing “average” patient experience. This makes it vital for organizations to evaluate the entire continuum of the patient experience.

Ratings from patient surveys like HCAHPS also impact revenue. Hospitals with higher patient ratings saw a 0.2% increase in net operating profit margin for every one-point increase in hospital rating. Removing critical access hospitals from the dataset doubled the margin to a 0.4% increase per point. Without a culture of putting patients first, hospitals will not meet their HCAHPS or revenue goals.

The Value of Patient Loyalty

Improving patient loyalty and decreasing patient churn can significantly increase an organization’s revenue. Americans spend, on average, over $10,000 annually on healthcare. Lost patients can quickly add up to large sums of lost revenue. Increasing retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. It is also more cost-effective to focus on loyalty – patient acquisition efforts cost five times more than efforts to secure existing patients.

How to Create a Profitable Experience

If you would like to help your organization realize the figures above, follow these five steps:

Create a culture around patient experience. To improve patient experience, create a data-driven patient-centric culture. This culture should marry healthcare data analytics with principles of compassion, service quality, and transparency, all in the service of excellent patient experiences. Organizations should provide their staff with the tools and communication strategies needed to create standardized best practices that become part of the fabric of how they provide care every day.
To foster transparency, benchmark physician-patient experience performance, and share results publicly. Transparency initiatives can spark friendly competition among physicians as well as encourage a stronger focus on improving the patient experience throughout the organization. You may even consider rewarding employees recognized for receiving positive feedback from patients. Organizations that embrace transparency have seen improved patient experience results.

Adopt new tools and strategies. As new trends continuously evolve in healthcare, make sure your organization stays on top. Find new, more effective ways to address your patients’ needs using new technologies that go beyond traditional care.

Adopting digital surveys can provide a significant pathway to collecting patient feedback and can save time by helping healthcare professionals quickly analyze trends and comments. Practices can capture more meaningful feedback with digital surveys today and implement those insights to improve their practice and increase ROI tomorrow.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is another game-changing technology. NLP collects relevant data from multiple text-based online sources and analyzes it to find keywords and phrases. For healthcare marketers, NLP can instantaneously analyze and benchmark free-text patient reviews and comments from social media sites and post-care surveys. Staff can gain valuable insights into patient experiences and industry trends, giving them the information to make important operational changes.

Listen and engage your patients. Improve service recovery by listening and quickly responding to patient concerns. Keeping patients engaged boosts brand loyalty increases word-of-mouth, and helps providers maintain your organization’s reputation. Take advantage of the opportunity to listen, analyze, and act on the plethora of feedback available as patients become increasingly vocal about their care experiences.

There’s no magical tool that makes negative online reviews disappear, but optimal, timely responses to all reviews, good or bad, can turn around bad impressions. Immediate resolution to a patient’s negative experience can potentially change a patient’s mind about whether to return to your practice. Use data analytics to monitor, track, and respond to patients voicing their concerns online.

Analyze and report patient feedback. A pattern of unfavorable online reviews and surveys can potentially torpedo the reputation of a healthcare organization or a provider – and negatively impact revenue. Use them as an asset for helping your staff improve patient experience — and attract and retain patients.

Physicians may be wary of patient feedback. Many doubt their validity or disagree with them. Yet physicians also tend to be overachievers and, often naturally competitive. They are trained to rely on empirical evidence, to trust data and outcomes. Giving physicians a clear perspective on patient experience data – insight that clearly affects their practices – can grab their attention. Once they see reports that show good reviews far outnumber unfavorable ones, they’re much more inclined to buy-in.

Patient feedback data also allows providers and managers to improve their messaging and operation. Share feedback data with department heads and physicians, so they know what’s going well and what needs to be addressed.

Drive patient acquisition. About half of all consumers consider online ratings and reviews the most important factor in choosing a physician. As a result, you need to leverage your patient survey data by publishing patient verified reviews and comments onto your organization’s physician profile pages.

Sharing all patient feedback from surveys, both positive and negative, increases consumer engagement. It also builds credibility and encourages trust. If only positive comments are made public, this can quickly raise questions to the validity of the data. Publishing all patient feedback communicates that your organization values patient feedback and wants to better understand how they can improve the patient experience. As an added bonus, it improves your SEO ranking and drives more traffic to your website over third-party review sites.

Implementing a strategy to improve patient loyalty and satisfaction will ultimately drive your organization’s growth and revenue.

To learn how industry leaders are creating a profitable patient experience for their organization, check out the articles below, or schedule a demo.

[Blog] Using Technology to Improve Patient Experience
[Whitepaper] Improving the Patient Experience: A 360-Degree Review of All Patient Touchpoints
[Case Study] Using Digital Feedback to Improve Patient Trust and Satisfaction
[Webinar] Uncovering Nuances in Healthcare Data Analytics to Improve the Patient Experience
[Blog] Ask an Expert: How Do You Measure Patient Experience?
[Webinar] How to Optimize Your Digital Patient Experience


Patient Experience Week 2020: A Guide to Must-See Virtual Presentations

patient-experience-week-2020Patient Experience Week 2020 is upon us! This week is an annual celebration promoted by The Beryl Institute. The goal is to celebrate and learn from organizations and individuals who are working to improve patient care by promoting better patient experiences.

This week usually also includes a yearly gathering for in-person presentations and events. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the live event has been moved online, resulting in a virtual event that will have events taking place from April to September.

Below, we have listed the top five virtual presentations we believe you won’t want to miss.

Compassion: A Powerful Connector of Patient and Caregiver Experience
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Patient experience and provider well-being are both critical to running effective caregiving organizations. This session will guide you through the process Compassionate Care used to create a curriculum that synergizes both.

The Beryl Institute – Ipsos Px Pulse: Consumer Perspectives on Patient Experience in the U.S.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
12:00 – 1:00 PM

This event will present the Beryl Institute’s PX Pulse survey, a novel survey that seeks to help us all better understand the current perspectives of patient experience throughout the US healthcare system. The session will explain how the survey works and summarize the finding of the first two quarters of this year.

Including Parent Concerns in a Pediatric Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment
Monday, June 29, 2020
12:00 – 1:00 PM

If you’re looking for new ways to engage and build relationships with your community, look no further than this presentation. Learn how the St. Louis Children’s Hospital provides health-related resources and education to local families by surveying and then implementing community benefit programs.

Transforming Your Culture to Improve the Patient Experience in the Age of Consumerism
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
5:00 – 6:00 PM

Could you imagine being tasked with responding to every single online review your organization received, both positive and negative? In this Patient Experience Week 2020 presentation, we’ll learn what Yuma Regional Medical Center learned by doing so.

Human Connection and Hope in Healthcare: Using Social Media for Good
Friday, August 28, 2020
12:00 – 1:00 PM

This event is another valuable learning opportunity for those seeking to use social media as a tool to increase patient experience. Learn why social media is important, how to use it effectively, and way socials media should not be used in healthcare.

What to Learn More About Patient Experience?

View some of our blog posts, case studies, and webinars:


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