By Derek Strauss, Co-founder and COO, Tellescope.
In 2021 patients expect a digital health experience that is on par with their favorite consumer brand. While COVID has forced many healthcare services to rapidly adopt digital services, we’re still a long way from giving patients and the organizations managing these new services a good experience.
From a patient’s, perspective being able to text, email, or video chat with their doctor is increasingly becoming a must-have for the “modern patient experiencet”. In 2019 alone, 91% of patients survey by DrFirst wanted the ability to text a care team member. 
While some organizations have either built or bought tools that allow them to meet their patient’s expectations, the result has largely resulted in an inefficient workflow for care team members given the number of tools required to complete the job. In addition to that, it provides care team members with an incomplete view of a patient given that data is often being stored in separate places.
What do patients want?
Patients want care to be convenient and personalized to them. As the common saying goes “no two people are alike”. Whether it’s their preference of how they receive care such as in-person, video, text, etc, or how thorough of an explanation they want about a diagnosis, the saying holds true.
The 2019 NRC Health Healthcare Consumer Trends report found that 51.3% of patients value convenient access to care more than anything when deciding whether or not to stay with a provider.  To meet the demand from their patients, companies have had to scramble to find viable options that make care convenient. However, this additional convenience comes at a cost for care team members managing the process.
How do companies typically manage the patient experience?
From speaking to hundreds of small digital health companies and clinics the short answer is that from their end the process is very fragmented. We’ve found that some companies use as many as 10 different services to manage their patients for things such as texting, email, video, phone calls, task management, scheduling, etc. and that doesn’t even include EMRs.
Because of the “lift” required to monitor and manage these services, companies will likely revert to chatbots or automated messages that aren’t as personalized. This downstream effect typically results in worse outcomes for patients. This is largely based on the fact that consumers trust their doctor and more than a robot, as found in a 2019 report by Usertesting. 
Why does it matter?
There are a few reasons. The most obvious is that any patient that is lost results in lost revenue for the health system or practice. Digging deeper, however, is that if the healthcare organization doesn’t improve their service it can severely impact their patient satisfaction scores.
While losing one patient may not be the end of the world, having a lower rating will reduce future patients from joining. It’s like evaluating whether or not to go to a restaurant on Yelp. Most people wouldn’t pay their hard-earned money for a 2/5 star meal, let alone to have someone provide them care.
How will the patient experience and management process be improved?
Consolidation and collaboration. Care teams need to be working on one platform talking to each other and with the patient. Instead of making the patient relay information to disconnected care givers, necessary parties should be able to view new information and previous patient interactions.
This would allow for there to be fewer lapses in care and allow team members to be proactive rather than reactive. Additionally, if patient information and management were in one place, it would make managaing the process easier for the patients team.
In short – not only would it be easier to offer the patient more options for receiving care, but through an integrated platform it wouldn’t make managing the process a hassle.
www.healthcareitnews.com/news/how-patients-really-want-communicate-doctors  medcitynews.com/2019/01/consumers-healthcare-chatbots/ 
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