In healthcare there is, rightly so, a considerable focus on the patient journey. The patient journey is “the experience from admission to discharge in a healthcare setting”. As users of healthcare services, it can be sometimes difficult to appreciate the amount of effort and touchpoints that go into ensuring the journey goes as smooth as possible.
To make that journey happen we must consider another experience; that of the healthcare employee. To enable optimal patient care, the employee of the healthcare provider needs their own journey of ensuring the most efficient use of the organisations toolsets. That’s where the Digital Employee Experience comes in, as we evolve from a technology-centric approach to a human-centric one.
The significance of the Digital Employee Experience in Healthcare
Healthcare environments today are fast-paced and technology-driven. Providers end up relying on a suite of digital tools from various vendors to deliver quality care. However, if these tools are difficult to use or are inefficient, they can hinder productivity and contribute to employee frustration which can ultimately impact the quality of care. This is especially important in an organisation potentially dealing with millions of appointments or services; marginal gains can drive significant savings and revenues, plus; minutes saved through efficiencies can literally save lives. Prioritising a frustration free digital employee experience ensures that skilled clinical employees can focus on delivering their critical services.
Proactive monitoring is vital to ensure that the end user experience is as painless as possible and that any issues are turned into actionable insights that can be mitigated quickly.
As the journey moves towards a human-centric approach, it’s important that all areas that impact an employee are represented. While this can be a huge change for many departments, HR collaboration is fundamental to ensuring an inclusive, engaging, and productive work environment.
Reducing the Administrative Burden
A single patient engagement may drive multiple service interactions including new appointments, correspondence and cross team communication. By optimising and integrating the employees’ digital tools, healthcare providers can focus more on the patient journey and less on administrative tasks. IT can then use the data provided to efficiently measure, correlate, and remediate any experience issues.
Enhancing Communication and Collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration among teams is critical for delivering coordinated and patient-centred care. The use of digital toolsets such as secure messaging platforms, video conferencing and shared document repositories allows healthcare providers to facilitate seamless communication, enables vital real-time collaboration and bridges geographical gaps. Enabling this frustration free communication can improve care coordination, allow access to key resources out of region, enhance decision-making, and foster an even greater sense of teamwork and engagement.
Empowering Mobile and Remote Work
It is important we recognise the changed healthcare workspace landscape since the Covid-19 pandemic with its huge impact on the rise of mobile and remote work arrangements. Necessity drove considerable use of secure remote access solutions, new use of cloud and mobile applications, and home workspaces. While this enabled healthcare employees to access secure patient information, to communicate remotely and to perform critical tasks regardless of their physical location, it did come with its own pain points for the employee as well as management headaches for the IT department. While it can be challenging for IT, providing employees with the flexibility to work remotely enhances work-life balance, improves job satisfaction, and enabled a continuity of care during the pandemic that would not have been possible otherwise. The proliferation of remote working within the sector has also driven development and expanded use of additional services particularly in areas such as telemedicine consultations and home healthcare visits.
A prime of example of these new service capabilities is Imaging Anywhere. This is the ability to present medical images requiring assessment to radiologists in any location, not just inside the hospital network. This enables trusts to recruit radiologists not just from their local geography, but from anywhere in the UK, or indeed anywhere in the world, helping with what is currently an acute recruitment shortage. We have customers where MRI scans are taken during the day, assessed overnight from radiologists in Australia, and are ready to be presented back to the patient the next day.
Training and support for Digital Competency
We must remember that the end-users of our IT are highly skilled healthcare professionals and often not IT experts. To maximise the benefits of the digital tools, comprehensive training and support is key. A well thought-out Digital Employee Experience should look to simplify the experience of the toolsets wherever possible. However, it is inevitable that some education need will remain. Training programs should look to encompass not only system use but also security guidance, data privacy, and any department specific best practices. Establishing support channels, either through IT helpdesks, knowledge bases, or collaboration spaces should help to address user questions and concerns promptly.
In organisations where the ease of access to information and the ability to communicate seamlessly can materially impact someone’s health, the DEX plays a pivotal role in ensuring efficient, effective, and patient-centred care. Implementing processes that streamline workflows, enable enhanced collaboration and support remote work means that healthcare providers can empower their employees to deliver an optimal patient journey, while tapping into a much larger talent pool for recruitment. By leveraging the right partners, healthcare providers can focus on what they do best: caring for patients.