What the tech sector’s approach to CX can teach healthcare about PX

In a recent article from First Round Review titled, “The Case For Startups to Put CX at Their Core,” Dana Lindsay and Nice Weaver of San Francisco–based startup, eero, explain the way their company built a foundation for positive customer experience (what they label “CX”). While the healthcare industry is a unique market, I see an opportunity for our sector to meet and cross-pollinate ideas to improve patient experience (aka “PX”) — in this case, learning from one company’s quest to reinvent dreaded tech support:

“Tech support is everyone’s worst nightmare. How do we do it so differently that we reset expectations?”

Measuring and promoting value to customers at eero has striking similarities to the way medical practices could be measuring and promoting value to patients. Medical practices across specialties share a goal to provide value-based care — to deliver the best possible care at a competitive price. Of course, the patient’s perception of that value also has a lot to do with how they evaluate their experience with the practice and everyone working there. Something as simple as appointment reminder text messages or the hold music a practice chooses can have a surprisingly large impact on patient experience. Inversely, a long delay in the waiting room can be an “experience-buster” that undoes the goodwill of even the most polished patient technology.

A good patient experience not only leads to better engagement and care outcomes, it is also good business. Consumers are being more selective as they look for the most affordable providers. And similar to the startup, eero, medical group leaders should adopt nontraditional strategies now that patient loyalty is at a premium.

In the article, Lindsay states, “The truth is, customer experience doesn’t only reflect how your customers experience your product, but also how your company experiences your customers.” We can borrow this mindset in the healthcare industry to reshape the way medical practices across the nation provide medical care to patients. As medical leaders, we are encouraging patients to be more involved in their care and empowering them with the tools. Are we also encouraging everyone on a medical group team to consider the patient experience and make changes to the clinic process?

The First Round article outlines five questions a tech company should ask themselves about their customer experience:

  • How should people first experience our product?
  • How will they buy it?
  • How will they unbox the product and be onboarded to it?
  • How will they receive support for it?
  • What are the series of touchpoints they’ll receive along the way?

In healthcare, we often take these questions for granted. Patients will engage with a medical practice the same way they always have, right? They’ll call for an appointment, wait in a lobby with an old golf magazine, check out with the front desk at the end. That’s not how innovative, high-growth medical practices think about it. Consider a practice like Sanova Dermatology that has created a modern, high-tech experience with online booking and a fast patient workflow that results in patient reviews like this:

“There is nothing I DON’T love about Dr. Hanson and her staff. This office provides the best experience I’ve ever had in both healthcare and client service. Everyone from reception to nursing to check-out is professional, caring — and delightful!”

That kind of patient experience reflects in both satisfaction surveys as well as in repeat visits and patient referrals — all crucial touchpoints for a growing medical practice. With that perspective, let’s revisit those five CX questions with healthcare in mind:
How should patients first experience our practice?

  • How will they make an appointment?
  • How will they be greeted and go through their visit?
  • How will they be encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback?
  • What are the series of touchpoints they’ll receive along the way?

Every healthcare organization should be thinking about these questions and should adopt techniques similar to eero that strengthen the relationship and communication among the stakeholders within the organization itself first. The end result is a healthcare organization that continues to evolve from the core value that the patient is always first. Having this mindset ingrained in the organization can encourage, for example, the medical administrator to make more innovative choices for new technologies or enable the front desk staff to voice their suggestions on ways to improve the patient’s experience when they first walk in.

Further, in the article, Lindsay makes an excellent point when stating “customer experience is about serving and anticipating a customer’s entire experience, not just fixing pain points. The goal is the relationship — resolution to an issue is just one opportunity to strengthen it.” With value-based care, the provider-patient relationship needs to be reinforced in a way that aligns with quality care and provides a better experience within a financially manageable cost structure. That’s something that both tech companies and medical practices can agree on.

Read the full article on developing a CX approach at First Round Review.