The Hospital Visit Experience of the Future

Updated on December 12, 2023

In the world of healthcare, hospitals have long prioritized functionality and affordability, often at the expense of the patient experience. We’ve all walked through the cold, sterile corridors of a hospital. The experience can feel outdated or even intimidating. The lack of personalization is daunting—especially in a day and age when so many other customer experiences are effortless.

Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to reimagine the entire patient experience. It’s time to ask ourselves if existing technology can be wrapped in cohesive, patient-centric packages, or if it’s time to embrace new, transformative technologies.

The Patient Experience Starts Before Entering The Building

Finding a healthcare provider and booking an appointment can feel like navigating a maze. Verifying insurance coverage and understanding financial responsibilities can be complex and time-consuming. But what if we could make this process as seamless as ordering food online?  Imagine a world where finding the right doctor is as easy as ordering your favorite meal.

Arrival and Registration: Streamlining the First Steps

Arriving at the hospital and completing registration often involves paperwork, identity verification, and waiting in crowded waiting rooms. Undergoing medical assessments, tests and examinations can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. To top it off, communication barriers in understanding a diagnosis or treatment options can put extra strain on an already stressful experience. 

Consider how the patient’s journey into and through the hospital begins before they physically arrive. Personalized communication, delivered in a timely manner, can be used to help deliver maps and directions, to help inform patients about how the check-in process will work and what materials to bring with them. Technology like near-field communication (NFC) technology can be used for patient identification, tracking within the hospital, and even making contactless payments for services.

Inside the Modern Hospital Room: A Technological Revolution

The hospital room itself is undergoing a transformation. Leveraging innovative tools such as IoT devices, artificial intelligence, and data analytics, helps hospitals streamline operations and improve care coordination.

Technology empowers patients to take an active role in their healthcare journey and experience. Even small comforts can make a big difference during a hospital stay. Voice-controlled artificial intelligence (AI) devices—similar to the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant consumers have in their homes—can be integrated into hospital rooms. The same kind of AI-based systems could allow patients to order their preferred meals, request assistance,  or adjust the lighting or room temperature from a device by their bedside.  

Post-Discharge: Ensuring Continuity of Care

The patient’s journey doesn’t end when they leave the hospital. Building user portals is a great start, but it’s only the beginning. Patients should receive relevant and essential information through channels they prefer, like text messages or mobile apps. Remote monitoring devices can enable healthcare professionals to continually track a patient’s vital signs and health remotely. In addition, sharing caregiver information and materials with those in charge of aftercare is a key aspect of better patient outcomes.

Whether for routine check-ups, follow-up consultations or treatment plan discussions, regular and timely communication and engagement between patients, caregivers, and clinicians leads to a more connected healthcare experience. Accessibility and convenience fosters a stronger patient-provider relationship as patients become more informed, involved, and in control of their health journey.

Better Patient Experiences Are Good for Hospitals, Too

Improved patient experiences aren’t just good for consumers. Among the benefits for healthcare providers are improved operational efficiency, real time access to patient data collected outside the hospital room, better monitoring of pain levels, and freed up clinical time that can be spent on patient care. 

Engaging physicians and staff in the strategy, design and implementation process is crucial. Their insights can ensure that the technology aligns with clinical workflows and patient care practices. Not to mention training and education as well as ongoing maintenance.

Are We There Yet?

This hospital visit of the future doesn’t have to remain a distant dream. There are many ways today that we can better leverage technology, while building toward greater digital transformation in the future. By tackling the transformation step by step, we can make hospital visits not just functional but also truly human-centric. It’s time to bridge the gap between healthcare and hospitality, ensuring that every patient’s journey is as comfortable and reassuring as possible. Together, we can do things better and then do better things! We look forward to building a future where hospitals are places of healing and empathy, where technology enhances rather than hinders the patient experience.

Katy Comazzi Allen
Katy Allen
EVP, Managing Director, Health+ at Bounteous

Katy Allen is an EVP, Managing Director, Health+ at Bounteous, a digital transformation agency co-innovating with some of the world’s most innovative brands.