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Consumer patients and the future of the industry


Customers expect their health care providers to have the same level of integration and connectedness as their favorite retailers.

patient relations | © xyz+ - stock.adobe.com

© xyz+ - stock.adobe.com

Digital innovations such as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and artificial intelligence (AI) have given the health care industry an entirely new set of value tools to attract and retain customers. Although information on this technology is readily available, only 44% of businesses plan to implement customer experience strategies in 2023. The other 50% of companies are missing out on an opportunity to grow.

Meanwhile, businesses that prioritize customer experience have a revenue increase of up to 80%, 4 to 8% higher than their competitors. This is because investing in customer experience (CX) strategies can improve customer satisfaction, raise employee retention, and save companies budget dollars in the long term.

Customers expect their health care providers to have the same level of integration and connectedness as their favorite retailers, and patients are actively demanding and receiving health care consistent with their broader expectations for non-health care. Customer experience is particularly important in elective services, where consumers have increasingly high expectations for their medical care. Private practices that do not maintain digital prowess will suffer from unhappy patients and unhappy employees.

The consumer mandate

Customer experience is not a trend, it is a demand. Today’s consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to companies prioritizing their convenience and experience, leading them to have increasingly high expectations for their health care providers. 93% of customer service teams say customers have higher expectations than ever before, and a medical practitioner’s digital prowess is now also a reflection of their medical expertise and business awareness.

Brands that prioritize customer experiences will more than likely be able to retain their customers and investing in a strong, individualized IT infrastructure can help them do this. IT management tools can assist businesses in achieving growth by integrating technology with brand philosophy and user experience. 84% of companies that improved their customer experience saw an uptick in revenue and 79% of those companies achieved cost savings.

The patient experience is also important because people can now move beyond just word of mouth into social media posts and reviews. These can reach thousands of friends and followers. The days of going to the town’s only local doctor are over. A great customer experience will produce growth and a poor experience can bring losses. Reviews are a critical factor in making buying decisions, with nearly 9 out of 10 consumers reading reviews before making a purchase.

The technological revolution

There are many other technological advancements available to medical practitioners that have the power to make or break a business. Health care providers need to adopt a “digital-health-first" mindset if they want to increase productivity and elevate customer experience. Technological advancements in health care can drastically improve patient experience, reduce clinician burnout and decrease overall costs, but 74% of companies fail to accomplish legacy system modernization processes. It’s time to ditch manual appointment books for an intuitive system that decreases wait times, shows available slots, and offers updated medical records with the click of a button. Streamlining business processes with automation has the power to save your receptionist time and your company money.

How to address customer experience

Given the current economic climate, customers will be entering “considered purchases,” with more hesitation. Doctors who operate in elected services such as cosmetic surgery or dentistry need to think about how they will merchandise their services to clients. Providing the customer with a positive experience from start to finish is a great way to make sure they keep coming back for more.

The medical industry tends to be much more conservative than other consumer-facing practices. Doctors need to prioritize CX in order to compete with other businesses that are ahead of the game. While being aware of the competition, it’s important remember to pay attention to the customers already at your door. Failing to retain existing customers is one of the biggest lost opportunities for growth, affecting 95% of companies today. The majority of next year’s revenue comes from current patients, not the patients that are gained during the growth period. What’s more, current patients are a prime opportunity for recruiting more through word of mouth and positive reviews.

Gain the knowledge to automate the actual care. It’s one thing to use technology and another thing to have the actual medical knowledge to produce great outcomes in an automated fashion. Automation helps improve patient outcomes by making processes more efficient through technological advancements. Health care automation can be as simple as sending text messages to patients to remind them of appointments or transferring mass amounts of data without error. Health care automation is the key to cost-reduction, greater efficiency, and improved patient experience.

Paul Vigario is the founder and CEO of SurfCT.

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