Healthcare and Life Sciences

How digital transformation in healthcare improves patient experience

Lisa Leung

By Lisa Leung

0 min read

Happy man holding a mobile phone to interact with an agent supported by digital transformation in healthcare

Patients increasingly expect quality consumer experience from healthcare providers, but building and executing a patient-centered journey is easier said than done.

Patient demand remains the key driver of consumer experience (CX) in healthcare. Consumers have high expectations for great service in all areas of their lives—and healthcare is no exception. Throughout their healthcare journey, patients want to know that they’re more than just a number. They want their care personalized, and they want their healthcare provider to know their story. From the provider perspective, the ideal patient experience would be efficient and secure, while still meeting those expectations.

Patient experience outside the four walls becomes fragmented with legacy systems in key areas like healthcare contact centers.

The frustrations of being unable to reach providers directly, or having to call two separate numbers to pay a bill and schedule an appointment are persistent problems. In the eyes of a patient, the healthcare provider is one system, even if the same system is both their payer and provider, the patient wants to call one number and not have to re-explain their situation in every interaction. Patchwork tech solutions that don’t share data and context between patient interactions lead to fragmented and frustrated experiences.

Provider staff and administrators face roadblocks in delivering a better way. Many healthcare organizations have unique groups or areas that have great ideas and projects to address frustrations in the patient journey, but never see them implemented across the wider organization. How can they deliver an end-to-end seamless patient experience?

If consumer experience is a strategic priority for the healthcare industry, then why do only 20% of organizations have a digital strategy—and of those, even fewer manage to implement their strategy? Ed Marx, CEO for Divurgent,  and  Patty Hayward, Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences Strategy at Talkdesk shared best practices in this webinar.

Digital Acceleration Healthcare Success Strategies


Digital acceleration: Strategies for success in healthcare

Ed Marx, CEO at Divurgent

Three best practices for accelerating digitization in the patient journey.

By keeping the patient at the center of the process, healthcare organizations can build a strategy that provides personalization that consumers have come to expect after benefitting from it in other industries.

Healthcare providers can achieve excellent CX with a multipronged approach: develop a digital strategy, align the organization, and establish governance.

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“Even when we have our own consumer experiences, (or) patient experiences, it’s not the same as someone who has net new no healthcare experience.”

Ed Marx, CEO at Divurgent

1. Digital transformation in healthcare  should start with developing an executive level strategy and include the patient’s perspective.

Human-centered design should be a high priority in developing a digital strategy. For health system management executives, Ed recommends including a patient from their target patient demographic in their committee for guiding their digital strategy. To remove bias, the selected patient should not have a technical background nor be self-selected. This way, they can offer truly balanced guidance for the digital strategy from a patient’s perspective.

Ed also recommends starting with the C-suite in making the strategy and implementation a collaborative and effective process. Explain to executive leadership “what” and “why”—before and throughout the strategy development process. In this way, you can reduce the risk of leadership disapproval and loss of traction after the strategic work is already completed.

Developing a digital strategy also doesn’t have to be a prolonged or cost-prohibitive process. Disruptive, overly-complicated strategies are much less likely to be implemented. Even complex organizations can create an effective digital strategy that doesn’t break the bank or cost employees an excessive amount of time. Indeed, the long-term goals almost always include improved staff efficiency and cost savings over the status quo.

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“With aligning the organization, you then make sure that you get the right individuals involved…”

2. Achieving a transformative digital strategy requires organizational alignment.

Digital strategy needs to align with and enable the company’s vision. Ed shares his perspective that digital strategy shouldn’t merely react to the business or clinical side of the organization. Some people believe that technology initiatives are driven by the business unit leaders, but digital innovation must be a strategic part of the overall operational strategy. How can the IT leader be left to digitize other functions of the organization, when they don’t head those functions? Successful digital transformation in healthcare happens through organizational alignment, not leaving IT to do it alone.

Effective leadership creates a transformative vision with a few objectives that are a part of that vision, and engages stakeholders in the vision. Patient experience can be an example for an objective. Digital leaders work to secure buy-in across their organization and secure executive sponsorship as they establish objectives and plan their digital transformation efforts to meet them.

Another lesson learned is to make sure to have support of key players by directly addressing the concerns of those who disagree with the digital strategy efforts. Converting naysayers into champions will help with gaining organizational alignment needed for effective implementation of the digital transformation in healthcare.

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“…everything’s going to start and end at the c-suite.”

Ed Marx, CEO at Divurgent

3. Establish governance—and find your allies.

The executive pitch for a digital strategy should focus on productivity and business impact. Detail the amount of time spent on governance, and the time that will be saved when digital strategy fuels better and more efficient decision-making.

Other important allies in establishing governance are financial decision-makers. One of the most deflating endings for a patient experience strategy is a ‘no’ from the CFO. Bringing finance leadership into the conversation early-on can help to avoid the sting of bureaucracy farther down the road.

Ed recommends 360-degree report back, guaranteeing transparency and accountability. The reporting should include expected outcomes and metrics that will result from the digital strategy, and results after implementation. With the example of patient experience, outcomes and results can be measured with improved quality scores, net promoter score, or other patient satisfaction feedback.

This not only saves time in governance as an organization, but it also builds trust with the finance team because they will remember the follow-through and delivery. This also helps to build a lasting rapport through proven and metric-driven results for the next request for resources.

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“It can’t just be an IT thing or a digital thing…what I would look for is a shared vision (and) shared values.”

Ed Marx, CEO at Divurgent

Finding the right partner for digital transformation in healthcare.

After developing a digital strategy and securing support from leadership, it is time to build the solution. “If you want to do something meaningful, you probably need someone to help you,” Ed explains. A strong partner is vital for helping resource-constrained organizations turn strategy into outcomes.

Look for a strategic partner with a shared vision and values, and seek out those who are passionate about healthcare—and willing to invest in it. Draw on their experiences with other clients, even in other industries, to apply a wide range of CX best practices.

Just as when developing strategy, don’t treat the process as solely an IT or digital process. Work with others in the organization, like nursing or clinical staff, to ensure the partnership is suitable for implementing your strategy.

Developing strategy, aligning the organization, and establishing governance are necessary steps for delivering great patient experiences through accelerated digitization. Talkdesk Healthcare Experience Cloud™ is a contact center platform deeply integrated with the EHR and built to help provider organizations enhance patient experience on digital and voice channels.

Request a demo if you’d like to learn how Talkdesk can align with your patient experience strategy.

Talkdesk Healthcare Experience Cloud is powered by AWS. Learn more about our partnership with AWS here.

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Lisa Leung

Lisa Leung

Lisa Leung is the manager of industry marketing for healthcare and life sciences at Talkdesk. With a professional background in medtech marketing, Lisa is passionate about delivering technology solutions that can make a positive impact on healthcare organizations. Based in Southern California, Lisa is energized by long-distance running in sunny weather.