Crawl-walk-run into a fully connected patient experience

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Crawl-walk-run into a fully connected patient experience

by Arturo Mendiola


Today’s health care providers are experiencing a demand from patients for a seamless experience across care delivery channels.  While the move from pay-for-services to pay-for-health outcomes continues to accelerate, higher demand of virtual and in-person care challenges current operational and technological capabilities. 

Health care providers have an opportunity to leverage their robust patient data and deliver personalized patient journeys through omnichannel communication to build patient trust and loyalty by eliminating the friction for patients experienced by dealing with insurance companies, billing systems and access to their data.  

But we know it’s not easy. At Horizontal, we help healthcare organizations realize this future vision by delivering on the promise of building connected patient experiences.  Below we have outlined a crawl, walk, run approach to align with an organization’s digital maturity. It should provide a sense of how to apply a stepped or phased growing curve to your specific business and customer nuances.   

Crawl: Start with foundational personalization 

The construct of this model assumes that your organization has at least one channel well established in terms of basic personalization. With that in mind, the crawl phase focuses on having two channels connected, setting the stage for achieving the highest levels of holistic omni-channel personalization maturity.  

This phase should be viewed as your MVP – a foundational starting point with a focus on implementing rule-based personalization for priority audiences. To gain some initial traction and quick wins, one solid place to start is with your organization’s main website and email marketing programs. For healthcare providers, this is the digital destination where patients can complete tasks like scheduling an appointment, seeing past health records and test results, or contacting care providers/physicians. From there, tying it to the marketing automation solution for personalized and relevant communications for things like appointment reminders, prescription pick-up notifications, post-visit care notifications, etc.   

To generate momentum, start with rudimentary aspects of rules-based personalization on your website. For instance, applying geo-based rules to identify a user’s general location via their IP and surface/display clinic locations within a 10-mile radius. Or if they are an anonymous user, and it can be determined that they’re a first-time visitor (through website cookies session tracking), set a rule to display a “hero” placement promotion encouraging the user to either sign in or create an account by filling out a form with key profile data points (name, email address, insurance ID, etc.).   

Once an email address is provided proactively by a patient, it can be passed to a marketing automation solution for segment-based campaign communications and/or specific task-based support messaging.  Creating an integration between the digital experience platform (DXP) that governs the website, with behavioral tracking, along with passing first-party data to a marketing automation solution can activate post-website visit engagement.    

To further capitalize on the momentum of going beyond two channels, consider having a real-time interaction management (RTIM) solution tool for orchestrating personalization across channels like Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud Personalization platform or Sitecore’s Customer Data Platform and Personalize.  

Walk: Build with integration and automation

In the walk phase, further build upon what was established in the crawl phase (e.g., website + marketing automation). With the integration between these two channels, now is the opportunity to incorporate two or three more channels.  

From here, consider extending mass media advertising campaigns like SEM (paid search) and paid social, along with the mobile app (given the prevalent and ubiquitous use of smartphones). Adding these channel touchpoints will further thread patient and member engagement; from top-of-funnel awareness to proactive health management for compliance and adherence in the care continuum.   

This is where having the adtech behind campaigns that track patient and member engagement, with SEM or paid social, can be connected to the public-facing website, tying campaign attribution for driving traffic to these key digital touchpoints. And with the integration between site and the mobile app, organizations can see where users are going to get information or complete a task in managing their health and understand how each touchpoint can complement each other. For example, the website could be personalized to automatically display the preferred/most frequented/last care location and be used for scheduling appointments, where the app can then support them in providing turn-by-turn directions to arrive at the desired clinical location.   

One core pillar of the technology stack to add or enhance is a core system to aid in supporting patients and members: a service solution like Salesforce’s Health Cloud. This system is purpose-built and designed with complex healthcare organizations in mind — a solution for connecting, storing and maintaining health-specific customer HIPAA and PII data, like patient test results. All of this information is accessed securely from a single console across the organization.  

And as your organization begins to proliferate in more channels, this is the phase to consider implementing a foundational integration layer — setting your tech stack up for faster go-to-market integrations as you introduce new systems to enable connected customer experiences with new channels.   

Run: Optimize and integrate patient data with a 360-view 

Once you’ve established success in phases one and two — where the connection between mass-media ad campaigns, public-facing digital destinations (e.g., website), marketing automation and app experiences are solidified — now you can close the full loop by threading in-clinic visit care interactions and post-visit messaging and support.   

Specifically, when a patient goes into a physical clinic location for in-person care (testing, treatment, etc.), utilizing all intelligence and data collected on the patient/member up until the point of arrival will help ensure onsite administrative and clinical staff are ready to provide the right care and assistance. This includes activation of pre-visit steps to confirm treatment plans and in-network health insurance eligibility prior to and upon patient arrival.   

And knowing managing one’s health never ends, a truly connected experience will then take it all the way through for care compliance. In this phase consider implementing a customer data platform (CDP), to aggregate all data from health to digital engagement to complete a full 360-degree view of the patient or member. This can aid care teams and administrative staff to actively promote healthy interactions to ensure successful 1:1 patient outcomes — like prescription adherence, PT sessions, follow-up appointment scheduling, etc.  

With a CDP in place, in concert with an RTIM and a clinical CRM, organizations can drive automated and highly individualized, connected patient and member journeys across the entire care continuum — from channel to channel and touchpoint to touchpoint.  

For added measure, consider designing and implementing a preference center that allows members and patients to actively participate in their personalized experiences with your organization. This a solution that lets customers, patients and members tell you exactly where, when and how they’d like to receive notifications and messages from your organization as a part of their care plans.  

Are you ready to take a step toward your organization’s digital maturity? We want to help. Contact us to learn what phase of the crawl, walk, run journey you are and how you can get your organization to the next level.  

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