Q&A: Improving Healthcare Experiences Through Collaboration

In an era of quick, frictionless service from online retailers and delivery services, today’s healthcare patients want more convenience and less hassle. In response, providers are implementing patient-centered access tools, from online scheduling and registration to the automated release of test results. But when these initiatives fail to take diverse perspectives into account, they can backfire, frustrating everyone involved.

According to Tegria’s Dr. Ray Gensinger, CMO, and Peter Bonamici, VP of Revenue Cycle + Experience, organizations can achieve a more integrated, efficient system and improve ROI by prioritizing people and process during any new technology implementation. This Q&A explores practical steps and offers actionable advice to guide healthcare leaders toward a balanced, inclusive approach to improving healthcare experiences and performance.

Could you define what a truly ideal patient experience looks like in healthcare?

Peter Bonamici: While there’s no perfect definition, we aim for a model where patient care is efficient, accessible, and seamless across all touchpoints. Though it’s ambitious, aligning our goals toward this vision helps us focus our improvement efforts.

From your observations, how far has the industry come toward achieving this ideal patient experience?

Dr. Ray Gensinger: Frankly, we’re not very far—perhaps about 25% of the way there. Despite advancements, many patients still face significant hurdles in accessing and receiving care, as evidenced by dissatisfaction in various surveys.

What are some common myths that hinder the improvement of patient experiences?

Peter Bonamici: One major myth is that if patients like our clinicians, they will stay with our healthcare organization for life. However, modern patients prioritize convenience and efficiency over loyalty. Another myth is believing that technology alone can resolve all our challenges without aligning it with effective processes and real human needs.

How can journey mapping improve patient and provider experiences?

Peter Bonamici: Journey mapping helps us understand the patient’s entire experience, from finding a provider to managing care post-visit. By identifying pain points and opportunities at each step, we can create more tailored services that genuinely meet our patients’ needs and improve their overall satisfaction.

What are some practical steps healthcare organizations can take to balance the needs of patients and providers?

Dr. Ray Gensinger: It’s crucial to integrate feedback from both patients and providers in the planning process. For instance, when considering new policies or technologies, both perspectives should inform the decision-making to avoid unintended consequences that might benefit one group at the expense of the other.

Can you share an example of how focusing on one group (patients or providers) can backfire?

Peter Bonamici: Absolutely. For example, a health system launched a new process meant to improve patient experience, automating the communication of test results directly to patients. This shift led to a scenario in which physicians didn’t have the time needed to communicate results directly with patients, and as a result, a patient received a result without proper emotional support. In response, the organization quickly adapted its policy and process, and the outcome was a thoughtful solution that achieved the intended result and improved experiences for patients and providers. This instance highlighted the need to consider the emotional and practical impacts on all parties involved.

What role does change management play in implementing new healthcare practices?

Dr. Ray Gensinger: Change management is vital. It’s about preparing and supporting individuals to successfully adopt new methods and technologies. Without it, even the best-intended initiatives can fail or cause significant disruption within the organization.

Finally, what would you say is the key to improving both patient and provider experiences in the long run?

Dr. Ray Gensinger: The key lies in continuous communication, thorough change management, and genuine collaboration among all stakeholders. By fostering an environment where feedback is actively sought and valued, we can create more effective and sustainable healthcare practices.

Ready to learn more about improving patient and provider experiences?