Need a dinner reservation for Saturday night? You simply go to OpenTable and a few clicks later you’ve got a table—and the restaurant knows if it’s a special occasion, or that you prefer to sit by the window. Need a ride to the restaurant? Simple. Open the Uber app, request a car and you will know exactly where that car is and how long it will take to get to you. After dinner, you want to watch a movie or binge-watch your favorite show? Just stream it on Netflix. Hungry again later and want a pizza? Order from Domino’s online—in fact 60% of their orders now come in that way.
Such changing customer relationships and technology are now starting to impact healthcare. With the shift in cost to the patient, those patients are making provider choices with more of a consumer mindset. Therefore, health systems need to provide positive, consistent patient experiences to retain their current patients and attract new ones. When patients have a pleasant experience—ease of appointment scheduling, care update notifications, low wait time—they perceive their actual care to be better. The flip side is true too—when patients have to wait, it’s hard to get appointments, and they are not well informed—they may perceive their care to be poor, regardless of the skill of their providers.