Breathing New Life into Healthcare and the Patient Experience

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Smiling mother and her little son visiting dentist

By David Edelman, Digital Marketing Transformation Executive Advisor and former CMO of Aetna

According to analysts at Forrester, less than 50% of consumers logged into their health insurer or healthcare provider’s website or mobile app in 2019. It’s no wonder; the weighty descriptions and complex terms they encountered – on vital topics like co-pays, deductibles and out-of-network costs – often led to frustration rather than resolution. 

Today, customer experience (CX) is in the spotlight across industries as brands have refined digital interactions and messaging. Most consumers now consider digital their top communications channel and expect the same experiences they’ve become accustomed to in industries such as banking and retail. Patients are no exception, but because healthcare is a particularly fragmented market, progress has been incremental despite significant digital investments.   

But that is changing as technology is finally bringing the modern CX to healthcare.

A future in patient experience

Post pandemic, physicians expect to continue doing over 20% of their interactions virtually. Not only have they learned that it’s easy and cost effective, the video element adds a human feel. Still, this only replaces office visits, a fraction of the interactions that take place across a patient journey. And while chatbots can provide instant and easy responses for patients, these artificial intelligence (AI) solutions fall short of delivering a humanized experience. 

Healthcare is fragmented because there are many stakeholders and touchpoints between patients, insurers and providers. Even so, patients expect an experience that rivals the ease, convenience and transparency set by digital leaders. Further, it’s important to remember, disengaged patients are costly for health insurers. For instance, two-thirds of patients mistakenly see an out-of-network provider, prompting them and their insurer to pay more. 

Engaged consumers cost less, make better decisions and are easier to retain because they’re typically more satisfied. Forrester’s US Health Insurers Customer Experience Index 2020 emphasizes the importance of patients feeling appreciated, respected and valued. In fact, more than 80% of health insurance customers who feel valued will advocate for the brand, with 56% planning to purchase additional benefits or programs. 

There’s a healthy future in delivering an optimal patient experience.

Reviving experiences with video 

Healthcare needs to leave behind its traditional text-heavy messaging, and instead, present complex information in an easy-to-understand format so patients feel confident in making choices. Because health is so personal, healthcare payers also need to humanize the experience. One method that’s proving particularly effective for doing so is delivering experiences through personalized video.. 

There’s a reason video is the most emotive and engaging of all mediums – it incorporates text, narration, sound, graphics and other visual effects. You can also use it to tailor information to clarify difficult topics. However, it has long had a stigma as being difficult and costly to produce, scale and keep current with changing regulations.

A video experience platform can overcome these issues. It enables video modularity that can scale to millions, allow editing as needed, all while keeping costs down. Modular video-powered experiences are composed of separate scenes that can be drawn upon to deliver real-time, individualized patient experiences. 

Here are some key moments across the patient journey where modular video has proven effective in driving behavioral change and raising the healthcare experience: 

  • Plan selection: Provide details on plan differences to help patients select the one that best meets their needs.
  • Onboarding ease: Educate new and returning patients on topics such as how to choose a primary care physician, cost of care, plan and prescription benefits, FSA/HSA details and more.
  • Pre-visit simplification: Eliminate pain points around first visit processes, walk members through upcoming appointments including plan benefits and costs. 
  • Digital education: Encourage and inspire patients to adopt better digital behaviors like managing a claim through a portal or scheduling an appointment via mobile app. 
  • Proactively eliminate claim issues: Take patients through their payment responsibility to remove any financial surprises related to the claim amount

The patient experience is the future of healthcare. Providing the information and supportive communications that will enable patients to make the best choices is vital. Video-powered experiences offer the tailored education and guidance which today’s consumers are demanding, and, it can enable behavior change – such as selecting a primary care physician – while reducing costs. 

With a video experience platform, creating modular videos is quick, simple, cost-effective – the ideal way to breathe new life into the patient experience and healthcare operations.  
David Edelman served as the chief marketing officer of Aetna and ran the post-merger “digital first” modernization program across CVS Health. He drove a broad transformation at Aetna, implementing real-time analytics and agile operations, rebranding the company, and bringing its marketing technology into the digital age. Currently, David advises CEOs of PE- and VC-backed companies in health and marketing services, focusing on where AI and personalization unlock transformational opportunities, including SundaySky, the leading platform for video-powered experiences that inspire action. He is also a Senior Advisor with The Boston Consulting Group, and a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School.

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