Christine Crandell With more than 25 years of marketing and leadership experience, Christine Crandell, President at New Business Strategies, is a recognized thought leader, practitioner and author on customer alignment and strategy.  As President of New Business Strategies, a strategy, customer alignment and marketing transformation consultancy, she and her team has helped over 100 publicly traded and privately-held high technology, manufacturing, distribution, and education clients in North America, Europe and Australia drive measurable growth. 

Written by

Christine Crandell
October 28, 2020

The 3 Healthcare Transformations Covid-19 is Accelerating

The pandemic has disrupted every industry, company, and person in countless ways. For some industries, like healthcare, the pandemic continues to transform and will for years to come.  

The forces of change are not ‘overnight’ developments; they have been in play for some time. Covid-19 was a black swan event that brought them to a culmination. Changing patient demographics, unexpected new market entrants, advanced digital technologies, and new innovative care models are just a few of the forces of change.  

Traditional healthcare providers are straining under financial sustainability. These providers are also trying to provide access to safe, quality care.  They struggle to provide good care and with fewer resources  amidst high levels of fragmentation, poor coordination and integration.

 

Three Transformational Forces

One of the most significant transformational forces is the changing patient expectation. Two additional forces are the convergence of multiple digital technologies into Connected Healthcare and radical new business models.

 

The Retail-ization of Healthcare

Patients are demanding to be heard and actively involved in their care journey.  They seek a more inclusive, transparent, collaborative role and a vote in treatment regimes. Additionally, patients with wearable devices ranging from fitness trackers to medical implants want their device data seamlessly integrated into their health records and used by care teams. The focus on greater transparency, convenience and personalized services has transformed the healthcare industry, forever. Consumer centricity is now listed by Providers as their highest priority.

 

Connected Care

Covid-19 shifted in-person to virtual care, virtually overnight. Technology offers pathways to delivering patient-centered care by design. Connected Care leverages technology to integrate data, workflows, analytics and communication. Technology also offers all of this across care settings, channels, teams, and front, middle, and back offices for better health outcomes, cheaper. Yet, it requires investment in infrastructure, an area that has been for too long ignored.

 

New Healthcare Business Models

Eighty percent of employers consider rising healthcare costs as a significant business challenge. Large employers are rethinking how they provide healthcare, which spells opportunity for new market entrants and innovators. Several business models are emerging, including employers contracting directly with regional care organizations. New entrants address the cost/care dilemma by creating ecosystems of cross-discipline care providers. These providers deliver and monetize personalized patient experiences and digital offerings. They may also create innovative digital health models such CGS’ Teamwork AR which enables physicians and patients access to highly trained technical specialists who can help power up new devices, replace worn out parts or troubleshoot equipment in real-time. This helps streamline physicians’ work, reduce human error and improve patient outcomes.

Just as Covid-19 transformed Healthcare, it is also changing the role of the contact center. In July 2020, CGS Inc. conducted a poll on "Impact of Covid-19 on the Contact Center Support Services". The study found that 74 percent of centers experienced increased call volume that resulted in longer wait times, more abandonment and lower customer satisfaction scores. The respondents expect this increased workload to continue for several quarters or more.  While the respondents embraced Work from Home (WFH) and invested in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), chatbots, and other automation. For Healthcare, this is not enough.

Since the July study, three evolutions occurred in the Healthcare to patient-centered care transformation that directly impact contact centers.

 

1. Personalized experiences increases the agent workload

  • As the industry shifts from provider- to patient-centricity, it is everyone’s responsibility to deliver a personalized experience at each touchpoint. The contact center is pivotal in providing consistent experiences and building trust with the patient and their families.

Recommendations: Contact centers should take an active role in defining the patient experience and as well as the agents’ role in the care journey.   

Agents can play a vital role as the industry shifts toward 'value-added' experiences. With training and active coaching, agents can have a more meaningful role in patient follow-up. They can do this by providing additional information and education the care team feels will improve patient outcomes. They can also understand whether the patient is following prescribed activities. Closing the loop with the care team on patient behavior and concerns, the contact center can help enable the care team to provide a consistent experience.

 

2. Keep the Digital Front Door open

  • Automation of interaction points such as patient portals is the digital front door of healthcare organizations. According to KPMG, telemedicine surged by fifty percent in the first month of the pandemic. Virtual visits are predicted to top 200 million in 2020. Furthermore, hospitals are investing more in virtual care technologies than in physical facilities. 

Virtual care channels are critical to delivering personalized lifecycle journeys that support collaboration between the care teams and patient. Yet, not every patient understands, is comfortable with, or can navigate this new world. 

Recommendations: Contact centers can help patients use portals and resolve access issues. Agents will increasingly play a critical role in keeping the digital front door open.  Solutions such as CGS Teamwork AR make it much easier to walk non-digital natives through tasks visually than over the phone, by chat, or email.  Enabling agents and patients to see the same thing at the same time reduces misunderstanding and increases trust and confidence.

For patients uncomfortable with or concerned about data security, or do not have access to technology, agents can establish a trusted, value-add relationship. With adequate training on how to resolve Level 1 technical issues, agents can help patients interact with their care teams and deliver a compelling experience.

 

3. Integrate MIoT data into patient records.

  • Digital interoperability is the cornerstone of new health models and ecosystems. Medical Internet of Things (MIot) data is becoming increasingly important to achieving the best outcome. Data can come from various sources – a hospital's network, an ecosystem partner, and a patient's own devices. Technology-literate patients often do not understand how sharing all their health-relevant IoT data contributes to quality care. 

Recommendations: Contact centers can fill an education gap to encourage patients to share their fitness tracker, diet, exercise and other health related IoT and smartphone data with their providers. Helping patients understand use cases, their ability to control what and when their data is shared, assuring them of data security and privacy, and establishing data integration is a role that agents can easily fulfill. This will require proper agent training, tools and support. 

Asking agents to take on these responsibilities may seem unrealistic compared to their roles in the past. In the new normal of constant change, customer centricity is not the nurse, doctor, or clinician's sole domain – it is everyone's responsibility. For most patients, the contact center is the first, and most frequent, touchpoint in their journey. 

Agents set the tone of the patient experience – why not empower them to help eliminate operational barriers and positively contribute to strengthening the system's resilience?

 


Resources 

https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/life-sciences-and-healthcare/articles/global-health-care-sector-outlook.html

https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/industries/healthcare/covid-19-and-healthcare/connected-health.html

https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/will-more-employers-get-off-the-healthcare-bench-in-2020/567059/

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/18-things-to-know-about-google-in-healthcare-for-2020.html

Christine Crandell With more than 25 years of marketing and leadership experience, Christine Crandell, President at New Business Strategies, is a recognized thought leader, practitioner and author on customer alignment and strategy.  As President of New Business Strategies, a strategy, customer alignment and marketing transformation consultancy, she and her team has helped over 100 publicly traded and privately-held high technology, manufacturing, distribution, and education clients in North America, Europe and Australia drive measurable growth. 

Written by

Christine Crandell

BPO study reveals biggest challenges for growing tech companies