Many leading healthcare systems still lag behind on digital access to patients, report says

Although the pandemic has accelerated digital initiatives by healthcare organizations, the race to track patient preferences continues to be difficult for many leading hospitals, according to new analysis from Kyruus.

The health technology company has rated the top 20 hospitals in the United States according to the latest US News & World Report rankings. He looked at four categories (consumer engagement tools, simple and modern search experience, consumer-centric filtering options, and self-service booking capabilities) to determine strengths and opportunities for improvement in the area. digital patient access and engagement.

Overall, hospitals need to focus more on the end-to-end customer experience, with the ability to find care online, book an appointment and prepare for it easily, according to the analysis.

According to Kyruus, only a quarter of healthcare systems have virtual assistants or chatbots, although they are considered very helpful to patients. More than half have clear, integrated calls to action that prompt consumers to do things like book appointments online or call a number to schedule one. While many also have mobile apps for existing patients, just over a third have apps through which new patients can find or schedule care without creating an account.

One reason is that healthcare organizations rely too heavily on their electronic medical records (EMRs), says Scott Andrews, general manager of healthcare systems at Kyruus. Because EMRs collect and compile data, they can naturally facilitate a portal for existing patients. But EMRs aren’t equipped to help with patients’ digital access preferences, Andrews told Fierce Healthcare.

“The world’s brightest software is useless if it isn’t implemented and deployed correctly,” Andrews said.

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Three quarters of health systems understand the concept of keyword research in their provider search systems. Most also offer predictive search results. However, only one provider offers the ability to filter search results by location, availability, and virtual care options. This is despite the fact that over 60% of consumers say virtual care options will have an impact on which provider they choose in the future, according to Kyruus’ findings from previous reports on consumer access. patients.

The majority of providers have included the ability to sort or filter by location. But only 5% indicated supplier availability, something more than 80% of consumers find very important, according to Kyruus.

Nearly half of consumers want to book medical appointments online, and more than half would switch providers just to have the option, the report notes. But less than half of healthcare systems offer this capability to new patients in their provider finder. Even fewer (just 10%) offer online scheduling for non-vendor services like imaging. And only about a third offer online scheduling for virtual visits to new patients within their research provider. Such flexibility is “a key differentiator for e-health systems,” Kyruus noted in his report.

Kyruus is a vendor data management platform, providing patient access solutions to healthcare systems, such as vendor research and scheduling. While services like Kyruus, who specialize in managing change in healthcare organizations, can be expensive, healthcare organizations can see a return on their investment, Andrews said.

Being able to translate Kyruus’ platform into another language, for example, reaches communities and leads patients to an organization that might otherwise go unnoticed. These types of solutions can also help reduce cost inefficiencies, said Andrews, such as when a patient calls an access center to get an answer to a question that could have been answered online. The technology can be harnessed to automate simple or redundant processes that would otherwise take time and resources for healthcare workers, he said.

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