The patient of today breathes and thrives in a digitally disruptive climate. Armed with apps and tele-services for all his needs including banking, airline check-in and taxis, they expect no less from their healthcare provider.
As their digital footprint grows, so too does their discontent with their healthcare providers’ lack of “value-adds”, which could result in the consumer deciding to flee to competitors.
Recent research by Accenture in the United States shows that approximately 7% of patients have switched healthcare providers due to poor customer experience.  This is the same level of customer dissatisfaction seen with hotels and home telephone service providers. Further market analysis reveals that switching between healthcare providers could translate to a loss of more than $100 million in annual revenue per hospital. As consumers bring their service expectations from other industries to healthcare, providers are likely to see even higher switching rates, on par with the mobile phone industry (9%), cable TV providers (11%) or even retail (30%). 
As healthcare providers compete for a greater market share and patient loyalty, they are much more likely to succeed by reviving their digital IT strategies, with a focus on these two key drivers for improving patient experience and loyalty:
- Patient service models
- Healthcare digital content strategy
Patient Service Models are built on patients’ expectations of convenience, choice and utility through digital channels. In a recent survey by Accenture, the three digital health capabilities that consumers want the most are: Access to electronic medical records (EMR); the ability to book, change or cancel appointments; and prescription refill requests.  These capabilities form the key ‘digital touch points’ in a patient’s journey that keep them more engaged and proactively involved in their own healthcare. Digital touch points are central to attracting new patients and empowering them.
In the pursuit of expanding its digital footprint, private healthcare providers must enable access to digital patient records while protecting the patient’s privacy. Comprehensive access control and auditing capabilities are required to meet the needs for privacy and confidentiality of patient information in this disruptive digital climate. The growing digital healthcare industry is still immature in providing sufficient regulations for protecting patient data which is a key driver is establishing a patient’s trust in the provider. The goal is to build a collaborative relationship between the private healthcare provider and the patient to support the patient’s health and well-being.
A Healthcare Digital Content Marketing Strategy generates more qualified leads and has a higher ROI than most forms of paid advertising.  Providing clear and digestible health related digital content to patients that is easily searchable (e.g. using SEO techniques) generates more page views and helps consumer retention. For larger hospitals, however, significant growth lies in becoming destinations for specialised care and focusing on building brand presence in a specific category.
As per the US Department of Health and Human Services, well-informed and engaged patients lead to better health outcomes.  Just as consumers search web content for retail purchases, patients attempt to educate themselves about their symptoms and selection of available healthcare providers. This trend is especially evident as consumers increasingly turn to Dr. Google, using the internet to find more information about symptoms before engaging with a medical professional.
As a part of their long term growth plans, large private healthcare providers must also invest in:
- Building dedicated leadership teams to lead patient focused change with digital investments
- Promoting telehealth, mobile strategies and wearable devices.
- Upgrading to wireless infrastructure and revision of device usage policies
Learn more about how private healthcare provider, VINMEC International Hospital has streamlined processes between multiple sites to improving the quality of healthcare services across its network.