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How the Healthcare Industry Benefits from Delivering a Frictionless Experience

When you think about a frictionless digital experience, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

For many, the answer could be online shopping and eCommerce giants like Amazon, who undoubtedly set the bar for consumer expectations of their digital experience to be fast, easy, and reliable.

While we've witnessed a revolution reshape how we shop and transact online, it's influenced nearly every aspect of our daily lives and interactions.

Amazon set the stage, but healthcare is no exception as the industry embraces the same principles of convenience, accessibility, and innovation. In fact, 60% of consumers expect their healthcare digital experience to mirror that of retail.

Leading providers recognize the importance of a digital front door to improve patient care and modernize how we seek, receive, and engage with healthcare services.

A Digital Front Door is the Gateway to Better Engagement and Outcomes

The term "digital front door" refers to the digital entry point where people initiate their healthcare journey, from acquiring and managing their health insurance plan to scheduling provider visits to paying for care. It encompasses a range of digital touchpoints, such as an insurer or provider's website, mobile apps, patient portals, and telemedicine platforms.

A high performance digital front door can deliver a frictionless experience fostering trust and loyalty. More than 6 in 10 patients say they'd switch to a provider that offers a patient portal, removing digital friction in their journey.

This number rises to nearly 8 in 10 younger patients, meaning frictionless access to healthcare is essential for retaining patients and attracting a new generation of lifelong patients.

Likewise when selecting health insurance plans, younger generations increasingly value experience over price, benefits, and network coverage.

3 Benefits of Frictionless Digital Experiences in Healthcare

A digital-first experience is no longer a consumer preference but an expectation, making it a strategic imperative for the healthcare industry to invest in a frictionless digital experience.

Healthcare organizations that prioritize delivering frictionless experiences are better equipped to meet consumers’ and patients' evolving needs and expectations, paving the way for more accessible, efficient, and user-centric services.

1. Enhance Consumer Engagement

Frictionless digital experiences empower participants to take an active role in managing their own care, including offering an easy-to-navigate website, intuitive mobile app, and efficient online scheduling.

2. Improve Access to Care

Telehealth and virtual care is a game-changer for healthcare accessibility, allowing digital-savvy populations and those in remote or underserved areas to receive care from the comfort of their homes. A well-structured digital patient experience also equips healthcare institutions to swiftly adapt during unexpected crises, such as the pandemic, to continue serving patients and sustain critical services.

3. Cultivate Trust and Loyalty

Having digital capabilities and providing a frictionless digital experience can mean the difference between loyalty or leaving. For example, patients who trust their providers, especially if they’re digitally engaged, are almost 7x more likely to stay than those who don't trust their providers. Concerningly, only 13% of consumers trust their health insurers, citing friction such as difficult to navigate websites and apps.

The Impact of a Design-Forward Approach to Improving Patient Care

Historically, the healthcare industry has not prioritized the user experience when designing a digital front door. Websites and apps are often tricky to navigate, and access to information like health records, appointments, lab results, and billing is a disjointed experience across different systems.

Understanding this friction and the need to focus on the user experience, Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation's most extensive health plans and providers, set out to completely overhaul its digital experience.

"We had the advantage of pulling a clinical team, an ops team, and an engineering team together and empowering them to go solve a problem," said Prat Vemana, former Chief Digital Officer at Blue Triangle client Kaiser Permanente.

These efforts earned Kaiser Permanente the Design Company of the Year in Fast Company's 2022 Innovation by Design awards, a distinction that has never gone to a healthcare company before.

Since thoughtfully redesigning their digital tools and introducing new features, Kaiser Permanente reported that:

  • Online appointment bookings rose 80% for the year.
  • Site visits more than doubled year over year.
  • Member satisfaction with their digital experience increased from 86% to 92%.
  • 84% of members have registered for digital access.

Embracing the Frictionless Future of Healthcare

Much like eCommerce, the healthcare industry continues to evolve. Fusing both worlds is the acquisition of One Medical by Amazon, which marked a significant shift in what it means to provide a frictionless digital experience for patients.

Combining Amazon's customer-centric approach and One Medical's patient-centric healthcare model is a testament to the growing importance of the digital front door to deliver frictionless care.

By investing in digital experience, healthcare companies can offer people the tools and accessibility needed for improved health outcomes and a more satisfying healthcare journey. Afterall, trust and loyalty is increasingly tied to experience.

So, what should companies do to reduce friction and deliver digital experiences that consumers have come to expect?

A good place to start is by identifying and resolving the costliest friction points that consumers may encounter along their journey, from scheduling a medical appointment to renewing a prescription or selecting a health plan.

Poor digital experiences were responsible for a staggering 14% loss in revenue across the healthcare industry. So, by quantifying the real business and consumer impact of every digital friction point, you can focus on resolving the problems that matter most.

Similar to Kaiser Permanente pulling together different teams to achieve an award-winning overhaul of its digital experience, it’s important for companies to embrace a culture of continuous experience optimization.

Collaboration between IT, operations, and marketing teams is crucial. With IT managing the technology within your organization and marketing teams playing an increasingly significant role in shaping consumers' digital experiences, a strong partnership across departments is essential.

This not only ensures the right technology investments are being made to maximize ROI but also establishes open communication of data across your organization to continually deliver exceptional user experiences, both now and in the future.

How the Healthcare Industry Benefits from Delivering a Frictionless Experience

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