Patients don’t need more stress. So why is the patient journey so complicated?
“The digital healthcare experience is often needlessly indirect, leaving patients frustrated and sometimes with poor impressions of the very healthcare organizations where they are seeking care,” Tara Becker, who serves as the director of digital health solutions at Perficient, said. “We help healthcare organizations and health plans remove those pain points.”
To deliver on the company’s mission, technologists at Perficient are tasked with building products that increase patient touch points and communication — while navigating privacy concerns, tight legal guidelines and building trust with care providers and patients. To keep up with those exacting parameters, Becker said the team relies heavily on market research, customer feedback and frequent town halls to share best practices.
“We have solved some of healthcare’s most difficult challenges and bring a depth and breadth of experience to tackle almost anything,” Becker said.
To learn more about what those challenges are, and how the team is overcoming them, Built In Boston spoke to Becker on how Perficient aims to build tech that brings some much-needed simplicity to what can be a confusing experience for patients.
What digital tools and tech does your team leverage?
The patient journey often starts with an online search, which leads to an appointment and sometimes advanced specialty care.
We develop tailored strategies for hospitals when they employ enterprise technologies like Sitecore, Acquia and Salesforce to help them acquire new patients, build trust and reduce friction along the patient journey and nurture clients over time.
For example, Acquia/Drupal is open-source and very flexible and adaptable for hospital digital teams. Sitecore is a robust platform that integrates automation and personalization. Each technology offers benefits and challenges. Our job is to help clients select the best solution and build a successful strategy around the technology. Our digital strategies may also include tools like chatbots to help people quickly and effortlessly navigate complex systems of care.
How is your team making things easier for healthcare practices?
There’s an inherent conflict in some cases between the consumers of healthcare and the systems that provide the content. Our clients are the experts in their business — we are experts on the needs and expectations of the healthcare consumer. Our strategies align both sets of goals in order to help our clients achieve their business objectives.
Our clients are the experts in their business — we are experts on the needs and expectations of the healthcare consumer.”
Each hospital has unique aspects but operationally, we understand the business of healthcare. Similarly, each patient journey is different, but we understand the common challenges and obstacles and have overcome them for our clients many times over. We have solved some of healthcare’s most difficult challenges and bring a depth and breadth of experience to tackle almost anything.
Whether healthcare consumers are looking for an oncology specialist, preparing to have a baby or everything in between, these moments can be very emotional. It’s our job to help make their journey seamless and to earn the trust of healthcare consumers through easy-to-navigate digital experiences.
What key considerations do you have to have when navigating the complex world of healthcare?
Privacy! Patients expect individualized, personal interactions with their healthcare providers. They also expect their data and privacy to be protected – that’s not optional. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, requires strong security standards and practices for patient data.
Data storage, protection and patient confidentiality are non-negotiable. When it comes to data capture on a website, we must capture only data that is safe to acquire. Perficient relies on personalization technologies that allow information to flow through disparate systems to facilitate relevant, valuable patient interactions without collecting personally identifiable information.
The process of handling patient information is incredibly complex, from online search to treatment to billing. We use orchestration tools with clients that allow us to keep data in their relevant systems while surfacing the necessary data essential to accomplishing our business strategies, all the while keeping information protected.
The Future of Perficient
How does Perficient keep its employees in the loop about changes in the market so they can build products that are compliant and usable?
As an organization, we hold town halls and informational sessions where we share success stories and best practices. We also have subgroups focused on evolving consumer, technology and industry best practices. These groups share new findings, features and benefits on a regular basis. We also have a great marketing team that regularly develops case studies after our project work is complete so we can demonstrate the thinking behind our solutions as well as measurable results to our customers.
How do you ensure your solutions are meeting the needs of patients and practices alike?
Our process starts with a series of discovery workshops with our clients so we can understand their business goals and their audiences. Then, we conduct audience research to understand the expectations and needs of their specific target audiences through one-on-one interviews and focus groups with healthcare consumers.
We consider the whole human, beyond their healthcare experience.”
We consider the whole human, beyond their healthcare experience. Healthcare consumers want to learn what services a health system offers and why they should choose a particular system for their care. On the other hand, health systems want consumers to make an appointment or take other actions relating to seeking care. Our job is to align these goals — to ensure the consumer has enough information to make the best healthcare decision possible and then help them take that next step in their journey when they are ready.
By immersing ourselves in both operational objectives and consumer expectations, we can ensure our clients are considering their patients’ needs when building their business plans. Healthcare consumers are more educated about their options than they were in the past: They will choose the options that make them feel well cared for, and an important part of that is guiding them through a journey that is effortless and delightful.