This September, Cedar convened a special panel discussion for New England healthcare leaders to share strategies on optimizing patient engagement with modern technologies and approaches.
In the hour-long discussion moderated by Cedar President Seth Cohen, MaineHealth CIO Daniel Nigrin and Yale New Haven Health System Vice President of Patient Financial Services Sharlene Seidman spoke at length about accelerating digital transformation, removing friction in the healthcare consumer experience, meeting the needs of their regions they serve and much more.
Highlights are below. To watch the full discussion, click here.
Meeting modern consumer healthcare expectations: “No longer optional”
Kicking off the conversation on the question of digital transformation, Seidman and Nigrin converged on the word “requirement” when it comes to meeting 21st century consumer expectations. But they were quick to point out that healthcare leaders must focus every part of the patient journey to truly simplify the digital experience.
“We’ve really been focused the last several years on consolidating our bills,” Seidman said. “We’re a large organization which creates complexity for our patients’ understanding [of] who’s who and why they’re getting separate bills for one encounter they have within a health system. So we’ve focused on not only the front end experience, but also the back end [to integrate all relevant patient financial data].”
Want to hear more about how healthcare leaders are rising to the task of providing world-class digital experience–and how Yale has increased adoption of QR codes on their paper statements? Check out 6:50.
Using technology to foster healthcare equity and access
The conversation also focused on how healthcare leaders can use technology and partnerships to make sure no patient groups get left out. For Nigrin and MaineHealth, working in the state with the oldest overall population poses unique challenges.
According to Nigrin, those who have access to modern technology are very satisfied with tele-health and other services–the key is expanding access to those without it, which is where partnership is invaluable.
“In particular, there’s the National Digital Equity Center that provides no or low cost devices and a digital literacy program where they educate folks who have not had as much experience using these tools and technologies to get them up to speed. We try to give as much support as we can using the technologies that we’ve got, recognizing that they’re not always going to be met with a person on the other end who knows how to use them.”
Seidman agreed and added that first impressions are also absolutely critical when introducing new technologies to tentative patients—so they rolled out a new digital adoption program at Yale.
“You really only have one chance, so you have to make it easy from the beginning,” she added. “Otherwise someone will try it and if it’s not easy they may abandon it and then say, ‘Oh, I’ve tried that in the past. It’s not going to work. It’s too cumbersome and difficult.”
Want to know MaineHealth and Yale are working to create ideal first impressions while expanding access? Click here and go to 16:07.
Integrating high tech and high touch
Both panelists pointed out that digital solutions are not a replacement for a human touch. For Nigrin, MaineHealth wanted to make sure that when “high tech” didn’t work for a given patient, “high touch” shouldn’t be more than a phone call away. Taking a cue from “the Amazons of the world,” as he put it, they’ve sought to put other contact methods front and center.
“So in as many places as we’ve been able, we’ve tried to publish that phone number to say ‘if you’re having trouble or if you prefer to contact us in person, don’t hide.’ There are going to be folks who just prefer that.”
Want to know how MaineHealth handles it when digital experiences don’t go right? Navigate to 50:53 here.
To hear more from our panelists on their digital wishlists, fostering digital adoption and implementation in a clinical environment, adding transparency to bill pay and much more, click here to watch the full discussion.
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