Re-Imagining the Patient Experience

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Thanks to tech-enabled consumer experiences, we live in a world of on-demand, personalized experiences. From booking and checking into flights to ride requests to on-demand valets to food delivery, consumers expect to be in control and have easy access to information. Yet this experience doesn’t cross over to the the doctor’s visit experience, and patients accept it. Patients are consumers too, and it’s time for the health care experience to match the consumer-grade experience.

What makes an experience meaningful, memorable and even enjoyable? A thoughtful combination of people-first design thinking, technology and communication. For businesses to be successful, they must shift to reflect the people they serve — the same goes for doctor’s offices because the stakes are high when it comes to a customer’s health and well being. Without doubt, changing the doctor visit experience involves many elements and is no small feat. To establish a foundation of insight , Sequence set out to explore the fundamental patient patterns, needs and stress points.

We conducted a survey recently of 2,000 consumers, over 80 percent of whom had visited or accompanied someone else to doctor’s office, lab or clinic in the past year. The resulting survey report, No Room For Waiting, revealed that 88 percent of doctor’s appointments are still scheduled by phone, subject to wait times and potential back-and-forth. Seventy percent of respondents explain their appointment purpose over the phone to the receptionist, hoping that their information is accurately captured and communicated to their doctor. And when you arrive, 85 percent reported waiting between 10 and 30 minutes to see their doctor.

These little inconveniences add up to peripheral stress — stress beyond the actual ailment for patients. In fact, 63 percent reported the time spent waiting in the lobby of the doctor’s office was their biggest stressor. Other issues, such as not knowing how much you need to pay after the appointment, also indexed fairly high.

Our survey confirmed that the simple visit to the doctor’s office lags in meeting consumer expectations and creates avoidable stress for the patient. So, what can be done about it? The creative minds at Sequence tackled this challenge to re-imagine the doctor’s appointment.

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Design Thinking: “On Call” Prototype

Is it possible to re-envision the doctor’s appointment experience, take the stress of waiting at the doctor’s office and improve communication?

We think so. Our team has envisioned a conceptual service named “On Call”, a mix of convenient, real world service offering and powerful digital tools. On Call re-imagines the average doctor’s visit by replacing the typical waiting room experience with the living room. This design concept, showcased in this video, provides digital tools, mobile app and in-person experience that connects all the information needed for a more comfortable doctor-patient experience.

This experience could be developed in whole, or parts could be implemented by health care providers to take initial steps to improve the patient experience. There are a number of digital tools like ZocDoc or Heal and providers like One Medical Group or Dignity Health that are beginning to introduce some of these capabilities.

The key to a more comforting and confidence-inspiring experience for the patient is threading together these different experiences – from online symptom capture and appointment scheduling to on-demand information about your appointment to secure portals for patient follow-up.

Download the full survey, “No Room for Waiting” and learn about our prototype design concept showcased in the short “On Call” video here. You can learn more about other Sequence studies at Sequence.com/perspectives.

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