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It’s been two months since business executives across industries and geographies gathered in Orlando for Microsoft’s Envision conference. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, outlined how new initiatives in four key areas (Modern Workplace, Business Applications, Apps & Infrastructure, and Data & AI) would give leaders a useful framework for managing the fundamental shifts brought about by digital transformation. For the health industry, one of these fundamental shifts has been in the consumerization of the patient experience.

Consumerization has been impacting the health industry since the first patient began looking up their symptoms on the internet. As the smartphone and app revolutions took place and the Triple Aim brought much needed focus to patient experience, this has again brought consumerization to the forefront. In a world where your smartphone brings you streaming entertainment, on-demand car service, and shopping and meals delivered to your door, the bar for consumer mobile interactions is understandably high. As patients bring these expectations to the doors of the hospital or clinic, providers are realizing more than ever, that there is a need to deliver tailored interaction and engagement at scale. This is especially important as the system shifts to target expensive chronic diseases with more complex care plans that require high coordination of care and even greater patient engagement.

The good news for healthcare providers is that these are not necessarily completely new or unique problems to solve. In learning how to best enhance patient engagement and satisfaction, lessons from retail, financial services, and hospitality are a natural fit. In these industries, two key messages have stood out:

  • Build as comprehensive a picture of each individual customer as you can
  • Use this picture to deliver information, products, and service through the channel that the customer is most receptive

For each of these, the healthcare industry typically looks to the EHR and existing health IT infrastructure. While this might be the ideal system of record for demographic information, medical history, lab results, and the like, there is obviously much more to a patient than this. Communication preferences, family relationships, education level, access to transportation and even social media activity are all examples of data points that might not exist in the EHR but could play a vital role in deciding how care coordination is managed. Many providers are looking at tools such as CRM (customer relationship management) systems to tackle this.

At Envision, I had the wonderful opportunity to host two provider organizations that are at the forefront of this customer and patient-centric approach. The first, AiR (Assistance in Recovery) is leveraging a care coordination solution to better understand their behavioral health patients to build and deliver care plans uniquely tailored to each individual. Their results to date are phenomenal and an amazing step in tackling an area of healthcare that does not always receive the attention it needs. The second organization, Silver Chain Group, is leveraging a mobile care worker solution coupled with HoloLens to deliver virtual care in the patient’s home. This approach saves money, increases access, and is a huge satisfaction driver for patients who can receive quality care without having to leave the comfort of their home. I would highly encourage you to watch the session below to learn more about these two amazing organizations. They are great exemplars of how attaching a customer-centric mentality to a patient-focused one can lead to increased patient engagement, better outcomes, and higher satisfaction scores that modern health systems demand.