The wave of disruptions brought on by COVID-19 has put considerable strain on our healthcare system, which has struggled to handle the uncertainty that follows in the wake of an increasingly prolonged pandemic. As with many of the systems that were in place pre-pandemic, we are finding that the current healthcare system is in many cases ill-suited to address and mitigate the sudden health crisis impacting the general population. This is an alarming issue, as many predict that similar pandemics could be on the horizon.

To address this, healthcare companies need a new dynamic approach to responding to these challenges: the Real Time Health System. The RTHS is a conceptual model and technology framework for the digitally transformed healthcare organization of the future. It serves as a roadmap for healthcare CIOs to strategize, plan, and initiate their health system vision. As the name implies, RTHS describes healthcare systems where stakeholders adopt and apply medical knowledge in real-time. This allows CIOs to quickly collect, analyze and deliver data to providers, enhancing efficiency, accelerating workflows, and streamlining business processes.

Along with streamlining the regular everyday processes of the healthcare system, the RTHS model can serve as an “early warning system,” leveraging real-time data to spot irregularities and track emerging disease data to get ahead of potential outbreaks. Rather than being forced to take a reactive approach to healthcare, CIOs and other healthcare leaders can be proactive, preparing for problems before they can take hold.

The RTHS model is also increasingly important to customers, who demand a quick response to their concerns and issues in real time. By collecting up to date customer data and using it to enhance decision making, it is possible to deliver changes and improvements suited to customers’ wants and needs. As Steven Peltzman writes, the customer experience “…is about a customers’ perceptions and emotions, not the company’s brand intentions or marketing messages. Those experiences and emotions happen in real-time and need to be addressed in real-time.”

Companies like Amazon were already busy changing the way consumers interact with their producers, but with the advent of COVID, digital channels are being brought to the forefront of how the customer engages with a given business. Creating a great CX/PX requires a customer-centric mindset. Customers now expect and easy and efficient experience – whereby they can easily access the product/service they’re looking for and/or receive the guidance/support they need from organizations they trust.

Companies that were classically “risk-averse” and/or “late-adopters” are now racing to meet these elevated expectations – especially as they compete with new organizations that were built from the ground up with a “cloud-first” mentality. Today, so much of the customer journey can be virtualized, and the various digital interactions over the course of the customer experience lifecycle (acquisition, engagement, execution, support) and critical for remaining competitive in today’s day in age.

Similar to many of DI’s modules, the CX/PX Optimization module starts with a deep understanding of the organization’s current vision, strategy, priorities and challenges. We then take our clients through a deep-dive into People, Process, Technology and Methodology across all departments that touch the Patient-Experience Lifecycle.

Some of the outcomes we’ve been creating include (but are not limited to):

  • Achieving consistency among different channels/business units.
  • Availability and providing prompt responses across platforms.
  • Measuring and improving one-call resolution, reduced hold times and other KPI’s.
  • AI-based Level-1 Interactions.
  • Embracing Omni-Channel, Social Media, other digital interactions.
  • Consolidated Operations (but not necessarily physical consolidation).
  • Build brand through exceptional CX/PX.
  • Integration into CRM, ERP, EHR or other business critical applications dramatically improves the employee’s ability to serve the customer.

Of course, implementing new systems and processes is never easy, especially during uncertain and chaotic times. However, this crisis has shown that we cannot afford to wait for the market to calm down. COVID-19 has proven to be resilient and it is difficult to confidently predict when it will truly end. Customers deserve a better healthcare experience now and the only way we can provide that is through innovating our systems.

So even if it means challenging times for all of us, now is when we need to start preparing the groundwork for the healthcare industry of the future!