The need to innovate on the in-office, patient health care journey is widely acknowledged, but few may be fully aware that a good solution is already here. COVID accelerated the urgency to make the experience far faster, safer and more contact-free. Yosi Health is a great case study in understanding the inter-related patient, operator, insurer pain points at each stage of the healthcare journey to find solutions. New software, unlike hardware, has the ability to relatively quickly and cost effectively implement improvements throughout the entire journey.
My entire life I’ve been amazed how universally and unnecessarily abysmal in-office doctor, dentist, and hospital visit experiences are. They’re repetitive, inefficient, unpleasant, and time-wasting. Several years ago I visited Estonia, widely considered “the most digital country in the world”. Sharing medical records there is streamlined and highly efficient. As a patient, you only need to input your personal healthcare information once in your life to a highly secure, government run data base. Thereafter, each citizen specifies who is authorized to receive it, and they’re notified who looked at the information, and exactly when. Billing is also streamlined and highly efficient.
If ever a process was ripe for disruption, it was the U.S. patient health care journey, where customer experience has rarely ever been a priority or even a seeming consideration. While electronic medical records helped make some progress, there’s still a very long way to go. COVID dramatically accelerated the urgency to create socially distanced, safer, faster waiting room experiences, and challenge previous system givens.
I interviewed, Harry Prasad, CEO and founder of Yosi Health, who studied how common practices with in-person health-care activities relating to data collection, insurance coverage and billing were negatively affecting the patient experience and adding unnecessary costs. His team visited hundreds of clinics to observe/learn at each stage of the medical care visit journey what was causing the pain points, and how the end-to-end experience could be made less duplicative, faster, more contactless, less labor intensive, and costly. While the team was familiar with the pain points, seeing it in action and understanding the frustration from the perspectives of both patients and administrators was vital for developing improved technology. As an example, they visited several clinics that used kiosks. Speaking to both patients and medical office workers highlighted the kiosks caused more even work and time to help patients use them.
Yosi Health developed a software system to change the experience for patients, medical providers, and insurance companies. It’s rapidly gaining acceptance and is already fairly widely used: serving 20 specialties in 38 states, in clinics, care centers, and community health centers. The software is secure and easy for patients to use, and its fully customizable for each practice’s needs using the SaaS platform, so clinics can achieve individual goals. It’s a more contemporary patient experience because it uses texting extensively to transmit vital information, with no need to create a portal account or download an app. With a smartphone, any patient can use a qr code, snap pictures of their id/insurance cards, fill out and sign forms, and pay with a credit card. They no longer need to do it in the office, thereby reducing contact with the staff, and clipboards, kiosks, tablets and credit card machines that other touch, and they can wait outside the office until it’s their turn to come in.
Below are the key steps in the new patient journey and how Yosi Health’s software is improving and expediting the experience for all parties involved. The before and after look makes it easier to see the differences. It’s followed by some key learning for other sectors.
1) Making An Appointment
· Patients call the doctor’s office
· Enormous call center burden
· Long delays/wait times
· Wasted appointment slots
· Available slots are displayed in real time
· Patients book online without phone calls
· Schedules are optimized to fill slots
2) Providing Insurance Information
· Big bottlenecks – waiting room “ambush”
· Patients came to waiting rooms and handed over their insurance card
· Staff scans them and enters info into the medical records
· If not covered by insurance, patient’s visit is wasted
· Patient uncertainly and anxiety
· Patients scan their card (similar to depositing a check) while pre-registering at home
· Staff runs all verification before patient’s appointment and calls them if needed
· Patient arrives confident knowing the visit will not be cancelled
· No need for staff to scan
3) The Waiting Room Experience
· Arrive and fill out a bunch of forms
· Hand your ID and insurance card
· Pay for the visit
· Wait with other sick patients
· Very little to no social distancing
· Patient pre-registers at home, scans id/insurance card, makes payment
· Patient arrives on time for appointment and can wait outside
· Patient notified via text it’s safe to come in
· No waiting time – Patients seeks care with no administrative work necessary
· Patient fills out their medical history and health conditions every visit on forms/clipboards
· Key screening assessments (mental health, anxiety) not conducted due to administrative burden – Thousands of dollars in lost revenue per day
· Visit is less effective as a result
· Doctors fill out a lot of things in the patient’s medical record (76% of those surveyed hate this)
· Barely a few minutes are spent with patient
· Patients update their health history and complete all clinical assessment at home
· All their information from prior visit is saved – so they do not have to keep repeating the same information
· Allows them the privacy, time and convenience to complete the health assessments well
· For Doctors: All information is securely transferred into the medical record eliminating unnecessary and error prone transcription from typing and clicks
· For Patients: A meaningful health visit with more accurate diagnoses and more time with providers
· Reduces claims that get denied for incorrect information
· Patients are often confused, unclear, feel over-billed and frustrated
· Clinics are often getting their claims rejected, not reimbursed
· Collecting patient-side payments are often challenging after the patient leaves
· Billing can come months after the visit
· Patients have the option to pay their past due balance and co-pays from their phone at home with a credit card
· Payment text notifications are sent – so no chasing after the patient is needed
Key Learning For Marketers
To envision an overall, better customer experience, products/services/brands/institutions must make the time and effort to:
· Thoroughly understand pain points, costs, and inefficiencies at each stage of the customer journey for all stakeholders involved
· Try and imagine the process with a clean slate and not make excuses based on legacy systems that can’t be changed. If your company won’t, a new competitor will.
· Take a customer centric point of view. As some providers dramatically improve the customer experience, it will become known, shared with others, and customers will increasingly make choices based on this new point of difference. It will no longer be a given that the experience will be bad wherever they go.
Improving interaction points along the customer journey doesn’t need to be more costly. It can be a win/win. Brands/retailers/service providers can save costs, have happier employees, and make more money in the long run from more loyal customers who market for them, spreading positive word-of-mouth.