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The concept of a customer experience (CX) is no longer exclusive to specific industries. People want a smoother and more comfortable patient experience, and the healthcare industry must increasingly focus on understanding patients’ needs to provide the best treatment possible.

All contact between a patient and the healthcare system is considered part of the patient experience. COVID perpetuated a need for rapid change. And physicians and patients shared the desire to reduce in-person contact. This transformation led to a rise in telehealth alternatives and the consumerization of healthcare that is here to stay. Virtual consultations help patients save more than 100 minutes previously spent in transit and waiting rooms. COVID-19 inspired practices to improve patient convenience by switching from paper to electronic versions, streamlining paperwork forms, and enabling virtual check-ins before visiting.

In the future, healthcare institutions will have access to one centralized database to retrieve patient data digitally instead of relying on antiquated paper file systems. Care will become more efficient and less likely to make errors when using technology that offers a 360° picture of the patient. A strong web presence will make it simple for people to look for a doctor or make an appointment online. 

As healthcare communities advance toward value-based patient care, hospitals and healthcare systems must remain conscious of budgets, including substantial administrative expenses throughout America. Patients don’t care about the internal structure of a hospital or doctor’s office. They don’t want to know how information is passed across different platforms or how data is kept secure. It falls on healthcare executives to decide how to increase patient-centered efficiency while limiting expenses.

The goal of patient-centered, high-quality care collides with the reality of clinical burnout driven by a lack of resources and staff apathy. Health systems must invest in proper training and include the staff in procedural changes. Establishing a culture of inclusiveness, in addition to the technologies required to allow quality care, is essential.

Technology and digitalization have facilitated a transformation in response to changing patient expectations and the COVID-19 disruption of health care. In order to create a positive workplace culture, motivate staff, and see the patient as the reason for the change, however, the healthcare industry needs to put equal emphasis on people and technology to deliver premier care and reduce expenses and inefficiencies. Patients must be treated as people, not subjects grouped by sickness or injury. As an added bonus, improved patient satisfaction directly correlates with increased hospital profitability.