Let’s go back to 1999 when the music industry fought the Napster file-sharing platform tooth and nail. Napster essentially said, “You can download music, here’s the technology.” The industry did not embrace it, and it collapsed on itself. Now the industry has embraced digital distribution in the form of Spotify and Apple Music — and created frictionless ways to consume music.

What does this have to do with healthcare? Expectations are changing all around us. Our best experience anywhere becomes our expectation everywhere. That’s true not only for patients but for healthcare professionals as well.

Providing patient-centered care means engaging patients with a digital experience that proactively meets the needs and preferences of each individual. Antiquated systems no longer suffice: according to Salesforce Research, 83% of patients want providers to know them outside of their health record and 82% would switch providers after a bad experience. 

We can and will do better as an industry. Read on to discover four ways providers can improve interactions with patients and employees to create meaningful, lasting relationships.


Take a cue from disruptors

You can either drive the bus and lead or be left on the curb. When it comes to meaningful journeys, focus less on reinventing the wheel and more on reimagining business. Here are some prime examples of disruptors across industries who have done just that: 

  • Uber didn’t invent people needing rides. They took a technology, combined it with an existing payment system, and made it really easy to put two people together.

  • Amazon didn’t invent retail. They made it easier to buy things. They leveraged technology and wrapped around shipping, the postal service, and logistics systems.

  • Marriott launched a global reservation system (GRS) to be just that: a global system. Everyone uses the same reservation system. When they merged with SPG, Marriott differentiated by using a system delivery layer (are you seeing a pattern?) and launched on the Bonvoy app.

In the healthcare industry, as in the examples above, there are very important systems in place that aren’t going anywhere. The key is to connect the dots across departments, teams, and technologies and use your data to drive better and more personalized patient engagement. 


Think about the end-to-end patient journey

The healthcare industry needs more self-service and more automation so patients can take care of things in the manner they prefer. 


Use the right marketing tactics for patient acquisition

Leverage a 360-degree view to ensure patients are coming in the front door on the right journey. Use your data to understand what they need and hand them off to the right place, supporting their journey every step of the way.


Enable customer support to anticipate needs

Empower employees with a complete view of every patient so they can track social determinants of health and have meaningful, personalized conversations. This will allow them to anticipate patient needs by tracking milestones and giving recommended next best actions.


Reduce referral leakage

Right now, only 34% manage leakage very or extremely well, and nearly a quarter of CEOs (23%) don’t even know their leakage number. How can you manage your business with no concept of that number?  Lost revenue can be significant.

Activating intelligent physician referral management as part of a patient engagement platform can help identify physicians to connect with. You can track the entire process and empower liaisons with custom apps. This ensures employees can work efficiently, getting patients connected with the right specialists faster.


Drive innovation for patients

Make the process of scheduling appointments and accessing their records online effortless. Allow patients to receive reminders via SMS. Explore alternative care options as well: 94% of patients are interested in walk-in clinics and 76% would like in-home visits.


Improve staff retention

A lot of money is lost when staff turns over. A recent session at a Becker's Hospital Review event found hiring, recruiting, and retention of clinical staff is key to revenue. It makes sense: They’re the face of your brand. They are the ones who interact with patients every day. 

The Hatch Group for innovation at Kaiser Permanente conducted research on future generational preferences as they take on roles in healthcare organizations. One takeaway was how important it is for younger generations to feel supported throughout their career journey. Here are key findings:

  • If managers don’t provide career growth opportunities, employees don’t get them. 

  • Usually, opportunities to grow are within departments. If employees want to grow outside of their department, there needs to be a system in place to nurture growth. 

  • If employees are not connected to decision-makers and those who have access to opportunities, they miss out.

Considering these factors, Kaiser Permanente created Stretch IPP, a professional development program that connects employees with stretch opportunities across the organization. Employees typically use the program in three ways:

  1. Professional growth: If employees want to develop a skill or expand their network, they apply on the website and join a project.

  2. Resourcing: If someone has work that they need help with, they can go on to the site, post a project, and look for internal resources.

  3. Skills development: When an employee comes up to their manager and says, “Hey, I’m really interested in the Stretch opportunity,” managers use the site to direct people and develop their skills. 

Kaiser Permanente’s program is not an outlier. When companies invest in digital learning tools and platforms, they create opportunities for continuous education and support career growth, which ultimately boosts retention. In healthcare, this can mean learning how to use new technology, enhancing customer service skills, and mapping careers with customizable learning paths. 

The future of healthcare depends on data-driven decisions, innovation, and engagement at every touchpoint to bring providers, patients, and employees together. To learn how to build meaningful patient and employee journeys, watch the Dreamforce session