Healthcare and Life Sciences

3 issues that keep health providers from achieving patient experience nirvana

Lisa Leung

By Lisa Leung

0 min read

man in a meditating position with a happy icon and 5 star rating for healthcare patient experience

Healthcare providers are under pressure to deliver a great patient experience as patient expectations for service and convenience rise.

According to Talkdesk Research™, 75% of patients reported they are more loyal to providers that invest in improving patient experience. There is a clear payoff when providers make their patient experience a competitive advantage and leading health systems are working to build a patient journey that helps differentiate their care.

Recently, Bill Russell, a former CIO of a 16-hospital system and host of This Week in Health IT spoke with Jeff Sturman, Senior Vice President and CDO at Memorial Healthcare System, and Patty Hayward, Vice President of Healthcare Strategy at Talkdesk about transforming the patient experience in the contact center. The interview, held at the ViVE 2022 event in Miami, was a great overview of how an innovative health system builds a digital-first strategy for their patients and families.

We highlighted 3 key moments from the video interview below.

1. Deliver a convenient experience.

Large provider organizations—like Memorial Healthcare System—previously relied on multiple, separate, on-premise contact centers each with different owners and processes. Legacy call center tools were not easily integrated with other applications or synchronized across the patient journey. Patients can be left with gaps in understanding how to navigate the healthcare system, or frustrated with inefficient service when they’re placed on hold or routed during a call. Memorial Healthcare System unified their contact center approach to a single platform with Talkdesk to make communicating with patients easier across multiple touchpoints.

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“There is not a common (consumer) experience. It’s all over the place, so the experience has been less than good.”

Jeff Sturman, senior vice president and CDO at Memorial Healthcare System.

Patients should be able to reliably connect with their healthcare system and trust that their needs will be met. That means at least connecting on the channels that they prefer and making core channels—like voice—easier to navigate for routine interactions, such as scheduling appointments. This is part of a broader and strategic focus in leading health systems on improving their entire patient journey.

“We’re not just trying to fix the call center. We’re trying to fix access. Access is a big animal… it’s the wild west and we’re just nipping at this little by little right now.” Jeff Sturman says.

2. Personalize care delivery.

The healthcare industry has a reputation for being behind other industries when it comes to advanced analytics, data, automation, and AI. This can ultimately impact patient journeys—as patients can receive less personalized service than they do in other industries.

Improving the flow of information between channels and interactions is vital to personalizing patient experience. Health systems can also leverage conversational AI through pre-training chatbots to address common issues so that patients can quickly get an accurate answer, helping them solve issues in automated interactions.

Another powerful application of AI is through sentiment analysis, that can trigger a recommendation for a patient when detecting a keyword or stress level. Healthcare providers can use this information to route to the most appropriate resource and personalize their care delivery.

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“When you think about where healthcare is with the contact center versus other industries, we’re pretty far behind.“

Patty Hayward, vice president of healthcare strategy at Talkdesk.

3. Address siloed patient experiences.

Many of the most innovative providers have adopted digital engagement and experience tools as they became available or when they found a particularly strong specialized vendor. This best-of-breed approach can create the unintended consequence of fragmenting and siloing data, departments, and ultimately the patient journey.

“There’s been a lot of folks wanting to create different experiences. We have the unintentional consequences of creating communication silos versus having a unified platform for communication. We want there to be a journey that you can see,”  Patty says. “So if someone starts with a chat at a computer, then decides that they want to call, we have all that information, we can see what they were asking, and we’ll know who you are when you call because we’re integrated with EHRs, your phone number is part of that, we authenticate you to be HIPAA compliant and making sure that you’re not somebody else using your phone and trying to access your information. It’s important that you’re having all those aspects, being secure, and being able to show things like next best actions so you’re being proactive and not reactive.”

A single communication platform, that is deeply integrated with the EHR, can eliminate these silos within a broad healthcare system by connecting each patient’s experience between multiple facilities and care teams.

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“The whole omnichannel experience of integrating with our website, using it as a digital front door, thinking about this not just from a contact center and access point but, as you talked about, customer relationship management.”

Jeff Sturman, senior vice president and CDO at Memorial Healthcare System.

Technology that is deeply integrated with the EHR, CRM, and various other clinical and administrative systems will empower staff with patient context when addressing patient needs in real time. In the Talkdesk-Epic environment at Memorial Healthcare, HL7® FHIR standard-based APIs surface patient information and interaction context for agents to view in a single pane of glass.

“The nirvana of this is creating the experience that it is just easy and taking the friction out of healthcare and looking at how we can get to a more standard platform. We have I don’t know how many different vendor solutions in play right now, and everyone is trying to solve this conversation.” Jeff explains. “That issue of consolidation, standardization, simplification and I think at the end of the day for us, where we’re going from a development standpoint with Talkdesk, from an experience standpoint, it’s going to become a Talkdesk-Epic environment for us. There are a lot of other vendors at play, but the chatbot, the other solutions we’re doing, relative to texting, to appointment reminders, all of that, ultimately, is going to live in Epic or in Talkdesk.”

The solution.

Talkdesk Healthcare Experience Cloud™ is a purpose-built patient experience solution for providers’ needs. It comes pre-integrated with healthcare systems of record, pre-designed with provider-patient workflows and pre-trained with AI for healthcare expertise. Providers can realize value faster while positively impacting patient interactions.

As Patty says, “When we look at the provider side, the things that we’ve put together in that workspace are really tailored around it, and it is meant to not duplicate the EHR. We want to be able to recall the information and present it in an actionable way to the agents, but not duplicate.”

Beyond unifying data and communication solutions on a single platform, healthcare systems can also use Healthcare Experience Cloud to reimagine their entire patient journey. Pre-configured healthcare workflows deliver patient convenience and better staff efficiency across all key channels. Powerful UI views and AI assistance help turn agents into experts about the patients they serve.

Fallback Wistia

“We’re not just talking about technology. Fixing call centers and technology is a big part of it and it sets a foundation for us, but the operational piece of it and the way we’re consolidating resources from a people, process, and technology component is really how we’re pulling it all together.”

Jeff Sturman, senior vice president and CDO at Memorial Healthcare System.

Before you go.

A modern contact center helps provider organizations achieve patient experience nirvana by eliminating the fragmentary nature of the patient experience and offering cloud-based technology that is scalable and flexible.

If you’d like to learn more:


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.