Close the loop on patient issues to build stronger relationships

Dan Prince | Sep 24, 2019 Dan Prince 09/24/19

Did you know 91% of consumers report the patient experience (PX) is very important to them? This means the long-term success of any healthcare organization hinges on its ability to deliver an excellent experience. And the only way to know whether that’s happening is to continuously measure PX, analyze the findings, and act quickly to fill the gaps.

That’s why a patient experience management platform—one that measures every patient touchpoint and collects data across the continuum of care—is a necessity. While CAHPS surveys may provide part of the picture, winning healthcare organizations are adapting the mindset of retailers and treating PX like CX, putting end-to-end patient experience measurement programs in place.

One of the key components of a state-of-the-art program is a close-the-loop strategy that provides swift problem resolution. Patient expectations are high—especially when it comes to how your organization handles unsatisfactory experiences. If a patient feels the care they received was lacking, you only have a small window to make things right. But with a best-in-class case management system, you can immediately address high-priority situations and improve your patient recovery efforts.

In the February 2019 report “How To Build A VoC Program In Healthcare,” Forrester advises all VoC programs to continuously execute these four activities in order to maintain a successful close-the-loop process. Let’s take a closer look at these steps, along with SMG’s recommendations for an air-tight closed-loop strategy:

1. Listen to customer feedback: Firms need to identify key customer listening posts across channels and departments by collecting feedback through methods like surveys, social media, emails, online comment cards, and calls.

Customer issues aren’t restricted to any one channel—and your ability to respond efficiently and effectively is critical no matter the source. Whether it’s a comment left on your website, complaints captured through your contact center, or issues with online scheduling, you have to respond—fast.

But who has time to sift through data from all these different channels? Intuitive case management technology will provide you with a multi-source platform that feeds patient feedback into one comprehensive dashboard—so you can quickly and easily uncover patient issues.

2. Interpret the results: VoC teams must analyze the feedback to identify useful insights and make them relevant and accessible for employees across the company.

Once data is collected, it doesn’t do much good if it just sits there. The next step is to make sense of it all. Without a clear way to spot trends, compare scores, and read comments, it can feel impossible to take action.

A state-of-the-art reporting dashboard provides intuitive navigation and easy-to-read visualizations of real-time data. With customizable, role-based data views, powerful analysis, and prescriptive information, you’ll have the tools to uncover PX insights and driving meaningful action.

3. Act to improve the experience: Once a plan has been determined, it’s time for teams to take targeted action which includes responding to individual customer complaints, coaching employees, or changing experiences systematically. Use alerts—which can be built into your system infrastructure based on business rules—to enable proactive customer engagement.

Case management provides you with in-platform response capabilities, which is key to a seamless resolution process. Responding from one platform makes communication with your patient easier, so you aren’t wasting precious time. Instead of opening new browsers, navigating multiple sites, logging in, and referencing company guideline standards, your team is just one click away from contacting the patient.

Having a systematic recovery process in place—with built-in accountability—is critical to patient loyalty. In-platform perks like response templates, intuitive case history, and tracking capabilities help drive consistent, on-brand messaging and create a unified effort.

4. Monitor results on an ongoing basis to evaluate program effectiveness: VoC teams need to track the results over time, from internal progress on action plans to the business results achieved. This ongoing monitoring shows progress on CX metrics and quantifies the ROI of CX efforts.

You’re up against the clock when it comes to resolving patient issues. In order stay on-goal, all communication should be tracked through a case management platform, so you can keep an eye on progress and see it through to resolution. Time-to-resolve metrics help your team stay on track to be sure each case is being resolved promptly.

This will also help provide transparency of your service recovery efforts, offering a clearer picture of where you are succeeding and where your efforts are falling short. Does your team need to work on quicker response times? Or is there a gap in communication where actions are falling through the cracks?

Use case management reporting to pull stats to share with your team and drive engagement across your organization. Take this opportunity to learn from successes and shortcomings, and drum up excitement to improve.

You can’t afford to ignore patient issues

Patients have more options than ever and their expectations are sky-high. You need to provide them with exemplary care with each and every interaction. But we understand—sometimes things can go wrong. The good news is problem resolution can actually be a really great opportunity to win over patients—if you have the right tools and strategy in place.

For more on how an effective closed-loop process can drive patient loyalty, read the report: Why an insights-driven CEM program is vital in today’s customer-centric healthcare.

Dan Prince | VP, Customer Engagement—Healthcare
Customer Experience Update