A pleased senior man at a healthcare clinic talks with a receptionist as a smiling female doctor looks on

How Healthcare Organizations Are Reorganizing to Revitalize Patient Experience

Making a medical appointment should be as simple as booking an Uber ride. Patients are healthcare consumers who expect their entire patient experience—from finding a doctor and scheduling the appointment, to attending the visit and paying for it—to be quick, convenient and seamless. Satisfied patients are 28% less likely to switch providers and 5 – 6 times more likely to use other services from the same provider.

But as anyone who’s seen a doctor recently knows, healthcare encounters are rarely quick and easy. It’s no secret that healthcare as an industry, lags behind others in meeting experience expectations—making it all the more imperative to address them.

“As the experience economy becomes the new currency among healthcare consumers, improving the healthcare patient experience has become a strategic priority for healthcare providers in their efforts to build brand loyalty, retain customers, and drive profitability,” says Andrew Broderick, senior analyst at Dash Network.

This exact observation was one of the trends noted in our recent State of the Customer Experience 2023 Report: businesses are reorganizing to reinvigorate customer experience.

Why is this so important for healthcare organizations?


Patients Compare You to Their Best Experience—Regardless of Industry

Outside the walls of any medical clinic, patients are retail shoppers, smartphone users, credit card holders and streaming service subscribers. Their day-to-day is defined by brands pioneering customer experience norms. As a result, modern and simple patient experiences are the expectation.

Subsequently, healthcare organizations and payer networks are behind the curve in terms of customer satisfaction. Health insurance companies ranked 33rd (scoring 73 out of 100), and hospitals ranked 39th (scoring 71), out of 47 industries for customer satisfaction, according to the 2022 American Consumer Satisfaction Index. In a 2022 poll of U.S. adults, 56% of respondents said healthcare is not handled well, and 80% said they are at least moderately concerned about getting access to quality healthcare when they need it.

Patients are interested in quick, easy interactions they enjoy when shopping with Apple, Amazon or Costco. Navigating even a routine medical appointment is often challenging, from finding an in-network physician to scheduling the appointment, paying for it (without knowing in advance what you owe), and getting a referral to a specialist.

In 2022, it took an average of 26 days for a new patient to get an appointment with a provider. And then patients wait more than 20 minutes after they walk in the door. In fact, the number one complaint in medical offices is the wait.

Can you imagine waiting 26+ days to receive anything from Amazon?

RELATED EBOOK: Deliver Extraordinary Patient Experiences Beyond Care



Opportunity Knocks on the Digital Front Door for Healthcare Organizations

Patients want finding a physician to be as easy as finding something to watch on Netflix. According to a survey of 1,000 healthcare consumers, 77% “always” or “regularly” read online reviews when browsing local health practices before deciding where to go. More than 60% of consumers expect to be able to schedule or change a medical appointment, check medical records and test results, and renew medication prescriptions all online.

Patients also expect prompt customer service. According to a survey of 122 global CX leaders in healthcare, 57% of respondents reported that patients demand quicker response times. More than half (56%) of CX leaders indicated that patients expect departments to be seamlessly integrated for quick resolution and support.

These patient experience needs are partially due to healthcare’s slow adoption of digital technology. Many providers do not offer online scheduling, use text messages (a channel preferred by many patients) for appointment reminders, and/or or send referrals to specialists via email. Fax machines, really?

To create a patient-centric culture, many healthcare organizations are hiring chief experience officers (CXOs) to plan and coordinate patient experience initiatives. Improving the patient experience starts with creating a digital front door strategy—using software and digital tools to give patients convenient, 24/7 access to their care using smartphones or tablets.

Dash Research forecasts that CX software and services revenue in the healthcare industry will increase from $8.8 billion in 2021 to $13.5 billion annually by 2026. Healthcare organizations will invest most heavily in customer relationship management (CRM), customer data and analytics, and contact center solutions. Personalization and optimization, customer data platforms (CDPs) and employee experience (EX) are also high on the agenda.

But before opening the digital front door to patient experience, healthcare providers must first get their house in order. Just as quality medical care starts with diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan—so do CX improvement efforts.


Start with the Basics

Once you have a CXO who’s committed to investing in patient engagement technology, how do you figure out which patient journeys to improve first? It’s impossible to solve everything overnight—a strategic, long-term approach is needed.

Evaluate your current CX program and identify areas for improvement

Survey patients and staff (front-office as well as providers) to determine where customer experience is falling short. Leverage CSG’s CX Maturity Model and ROI Calculator to assess your CX program and pinpoint the best place(s) to achieve quick, easy wins.

Manage three key patient journeys for easy wins

Harness journey management software to send personalized messages at the right time via each patient’s preferred communication channel (such as phone, email or text). Master these three key journeys:

      • Manage prescriptions. Send prescription reminders to promote medication adherence, help patients get refills on time, and maximize prescription revenue.
      • Schedule and manage appointments. Send appointment reminders to simplify scheduling/rescheduling, prevent no-show fees, and minimize administrative costs and lost revenue from missed appointments.
      • Pay bills. Send payment reminders and/or offer an installment plan to encourage on-time payments, thereby avoiding late fees and decreasing collection costs and charge-offs.

Starting with achievable-yet-impactful changes will increase patient engagement and satisfaction, boosting patient retention and ultimately improving treatment outcomes.

Read the State of Customer Experience 2023 Report to discover three other trends to guide CX improvement efforts, plus four CX enhancements to implement this year.

Headshot of CSG marketing director Robin Opperlee.

Robin Opperlee

Executive Director, Digital Marketing