It Started With A Hernia
My Husband had double hernia surgery. While I'm sure he's thrilled I'm sharing that information, his experience was a fascinating in-the-field research study for me. Once his surgery was scheduled, all pre-surgical paperwork and registration occurred online, a week before the procedure. The payer coverage was confirmed, data was captured, and medical history was documented. The morning of the surgery we arrived at the hospital and were taken right back to the pre-op room where pre-op procedures began. With the exception of a few verification questions, no additional paperwork was required and everything in the hospital's system was accurate and up-to-date.
As they administered his IV and took vitals, a video played on the large TV in his room explaining the procedure, the process of administering the anesthesia, and what to expect after recovery. After he was wheeled back I could order his prescription from the same TV and have it delivered to the room. Throughout the procedure I would receive calls to my cell, from the surgery staff, providing updates. I could also watch a screen that would provide a status update (using a patient code) of where he was in pre-surgery, prep, operations, recovery, and post-op. Once released, we received discharge instructions in paper form that were also available on the portal. Over the next few days my Husband could log on to the portal, see test results, and post questions to his surgeon for follow-up.
But It Stopped With The Discharge
But that's where the seamless patient experience ended. Once we left the hospital, all proactive communications ended. My Husband had a series of side effects but when he posted his questions to the portal, he never heard back. His test results were never posted. He found out the results a week and a half later at a follow-up appointment. And at the follow-up appointment there were no FAQs provided, or a physician discussion guide offered, to help him get the most out of his visit.
Like most experiences, communication tends to falter in the "post-event" process. One industry is starting to improve on this experience.
A Lesson Learned From Sports Entertainment
Sports Entertainment has developed a focus on the "driveway to driveway fan experience". This is the experience a fan has from the time they leave home, to their time spent at the stadium, to their return home. Sports teams are driving engagement with fans through communications focused on a fan's favorite player, favorite opponent, birthday, or other personal data.
By leveraging the data on the fan these sports teams can send targeted promotions via SMS before the fan leaves for the game. Once at the game the stadium can send push communications based on personal preferences, stadium purchases, and game activity. As the fan leaves the stadium follow-up communications, surveys, offers, and game highlights can be shared with the fan through email, social media, and SMS. Many sports teams have noticed a marked improvement in ticket purchases, season ticket subscription renewals, and NPS improvements.
A Driveway-To-Driveway Experience
The hospital got the pre-surgery and procedure communications right. But they should've focused on the entire driveway-to-driveway experience. Noting that my Husband has a history of adverse reactions to anesthesia could've triggered a follow-up email about possible side effects, like back pain. Having a nurse call that evening or the next day could've alleviated concern over pain and side effects of the pain medication. Responding to the posted questions on the patient portal could've eliminated inbound calls to the nurse team and unnecessary follow-up visits.
While the hospital isn't looking for us to be "returning guests" like a sports team, they are concerned with re-admittance rates that can result from improper post-op care. The hospital does care about patient satisfaction scores, NPS, and developing advocates that can result in referrals and donations. Through a driveway-to-driveway program, hospitals can generated their desired results, and patients can experience the continued care and follow-up required after leaving the hospital.
How are you developing a driveway-to-driveway experience for your patients?