As seen firsthand from Thomas’s perspective, navigating the hospital experience as a new patient could be fraught with concerns. Hospital systems could ease many of these concerns by building experiences from a patient-centric perspective. But the IT systems that need to work together to create a cohesive experience is a patchwork of different integrations. Let us understand what goes on behind the scenes today to bring the experience to life.
Receive a prescription from a Primary Care Physician (PCP)
Thomas receives a prescription from his doctor or PCP to get an MRI scan to identify any issues in his pancreatic duct without any referrals. The patient has to search for facilities available in their health plan network voluntarily. It does not help that health plans do not make it any easier to personalize the availability and pay options to the individual to show the network and out-of-network options, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs upfront. Patients usually find out these details by following up with their health plan organization over the phone or their website.
Evaluate potential hospitals and schedules appointment via phone call
Searching and scheduling medical checks within hospitals are still complicated in an age where booking a cab is available with a couple of taps on an app. Although many options have come up in recent times to order medicines online, very few options exist to determine hospital lab availability and schedule a medical checkup online as quickly as ordering coffee.
Check-in to the hospital and arrive at the waiting room
With the COVID-19 crisis toll rising, hospitals have to take special care that inpatient traffic is not exposed to risk. Unfortunately, not all hospital centers are equipped to forecast and stagger patient footfall during the day. This could lead to inevitable contact with frontline workers if the hospital front desk is swamped with ad hoc calls throughout the day.
Undergo medical procedure
First-time patients always go through a stressful period for their first medical checkup. An MRI scan during a pandemic can turn this into a nightmare. In ordinary circumstances, hospital staff and doctors can care for first-time patients by walking through how these procedures are harmless and safe. But with hospital staff stretched thin during these situations, they might not provide adequate attention and care.
Pay the bill and travel back home
Patients leaving the hospital post-treatment might not be in the best situation to settle bills and commute back home. The billing experience post-treatment can be the most influential aspect of the patient experience, determining if the patient would refer the hospital to similar patients. Informing patients about the bill in simple language would go a long way in establishing trust in the patient-hospital equation and increasing the hospital service’s lifetime value.