Uncommonly Practical Tips for Transforming the Digital Patient Experience

A lot of focus in the healthcare industry surrounds the word “transformation.” At its core, transformation signifies change—in form, structure, or appearance—but it doesn’t impart the how or why. In considering the digital patient experience across the entire journey from diagnosis, to treatment to recovery, most everyone agrees that there needs to be a dramatic change. But transformation alone does not mean progress. To deliver improved capabilities that actually increase levels of care and engagement, pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations should focus on the following five tips to design and engineer the best digital solutions possible.

1. Talk Directly to a Patient: Take an hour and have a real conversation with a patient to understand their current experiences. Ask questions, share stories, and get to know the positives and negatives. This will help organizations better understand how to approach and design improved experiences.

2. Adopt Three Key Partners: When working to improve the overall patient experience, there are three key partners that organizations must employ: Why, What if, and How. These three vital characters are at the heart of every successful digital transformation.

  • Why: Ask “why?” for each aspect of the current patient experience in order to uncover the goals, behavior, and emotion behind it. Use feedback gathered from patient meetings to determine if any of these aspects are not needed or hindering their overall engagement and satisfaction.
  • What if: Ask “what if?” as your organization continues to push programs, content, partnerships, and services forward and help accomplish the impossible. “What if” is a powerful catalyst for solving short-term problems, as well as for setting the bar higher.
  • How: Finally, ask “how?” to make new features a reality while thinking about the next steps it will take to successfully deliver these items to patients.

3. Fix the Little Things: Quite often, the digital patient experience breaks down on a micro level. For example, millions of dollars are spent on paid search—yet few landing experiences are tailored to the searcher’s experience. Pharma and healthcare organizations must follow the terms from search to landing, for the end result to yield significant improvements.

4. Stop Something: Often times, organizations perpetuate elements of the patient experience because they already exist, or because other brands have them in place. As the number of digital channels increases, the overall experience becomes overgrown. Brand websites, email campaigns, and keywords all have a way of accumulating over time, to the point where they are consuming attention—but not enhancing the patient experience. Organizations need to let analytics guide these cuts, and then reinvest the time and focus into higher value assets identified through the three previous steps.

5. Put Mobile in its Place: Many healthcare and pharma organizations may focus on the term “mobile first.” However, the reality is that mobile isn’t just about patient start, but rather about giving context all the way through the experience. When designing mobile tools, start with context first and choose the right vehicles, content, and partners accordingly.

By focusing on these five uncommon, yet practical tips, healthcare organizations will be able to reinvent the patient experience, resulting in positive changes in patient behavior and outcomes overall. This is transformation that will drive true progress for brands and patients alike!

  • Will Reese

    Will Reese is President and Chief Innovation Officer at Cadient, a Cognizant Company. Will helps clients identify strategic opportunities within the healthcare space to drive deeper relationships with professionals, consumers, and payers.


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