Top Five Digital Trends and Their Healthcare Application

May 14th, 2021 - 10:00AM

The interesting thing about trends? They don’t have to be revolutionary to be impactful. While these top five trends may not necessarily be shiny and new, their ongoing influence continues to shape how healthcare organizations look to successfully navigate the labyrinth of digital transformation in 2021.

Trend 1: Mobilized Messages

  • The Trend: What’s the smallest place you can order a pizza, buy a house, or even do your taxes? The phone has become the new meeting ground, putting the world, literally, at the customer’s fingertips. And successful brands aren’t ignoring the goldmine of connection that this channel offers. Integrating mobile-first communications to stay connected at home, on the go, and wherever the customer happens to be.
  • The Healthcare Application: This trend has had profound implications on the healthcare industry, most acutely in the past 15 months as patients have been forced indoors and doctors have been forced to become telehealth experts. The telehealth ecosystem boomed in response to COVID-19, becoming the way to schedule appointments, receive critical updates, meet with your doctor, and pay your bill. Going forward, it will be critical for healthcare organizations to continually develop mobile-first strategies that enable patients to connect to their critical healthcare information with a tap of their finger.

Trend 2: The CX Factor

  • The Trend: Customers rule the (business) world. Accordingly, customer experience plays a very specific—and impactful—role in successful digital efforts, almost to the point which, in some cases, the customer is the defining factor for an organization’s digital direction.  Dictating everything from channel mixture, technology choice, and more. And in fact, with the ongoing impact of COVID-19, customer expectations have only increased, causing a further push for digitalization efforts across industries.
  • The Healthcare Application: On the surface, it may seem like customer engagement has no place in healthcare. Patients aren’t the “typical” customer, and therefore, it can be easy to assume customer engagement ideologies and business practices have no relevancy to the digital trends reshaping the healthcare field. But that would be a misguided understanding of Customer Engagement Management (CEM). Because the truth is, your patient is also a customer. They are individuals who engage with brands across industries and see the kind of experiences those brands can afford them. While your patient experience may not be comprised of such things as loyalty programs and discounts, it has its own sort of “customer cycle.” From booking their appointment to meeting with their healthcare professional and through to the final bill payment, your patient experiences a unique journey with your organization. And as patient expectations continue to rise, the onus is on healthcare organizations to provide the kind of digital engagements they experience in their everyday lives.

Trend 3: Defined by Data

  • The Trend: It is nearly impossible to talk to the functionality of digital transformation without speaking to the role of data. In nearly every facet of digital efforts, data plays the role of the guiding GPS. Defining where to go, for who, and when.
  • The Healthcare Application: Like any industry with heavy regulations—think HIPAA, HITrust—it is crucial for healthcare organizations to play by the rules when it comes to the use of patient data. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play. Things like patient payment preference offer a prime example of integrated data that allows you to present the patient with digital payment alternatives best suited their needs, whether it be mobile pay or payment plans. Simply put, data tells a story of your patient and their preferences. By integrating the right data into your transformation efforts, you ensure your digital story aligns with your patients’.

Trend 4: Connectivity in Hyperdrive

  • The Trend: From the customer’s POV, everything is connected, from the ad they see in a commercial through to the customer service call they make months later. It’s all connected. And to make it more complicated? Customers expect brands to be connected to their specific journey—every nuance and detail. Each interaction redefines the customer relationship by a fraction or by a mile.
  • The Healthcare Application: It’s not that a patient expects their healthcare organizations to be connected in the same way as their favorite retailer, but they do expect a seamless experience. And in that way, patient connectivity is actually very similar to that of Netflix or Amazon. It’s all about making sure the experience feels like one cohesive engagement, instead of multiple, disjointed endeavors. Connecting patient preferences throughout their journey with your organization ensures you deliver a seamless, integrated experience, from scheduling appointments through to final bill payments.

Trend 5: Rapid Expansion

  • The Trend: Digital transformation has itself undergone a transformation, shifting from a nice-to-have strategy—a focus of which was a top priority mainly for those organizations who branded themselves leaders in innovation—to a must-have for every organization, from billion-dollar corporations to mom-and-pop shops. COVID-19 has radically transformed how business is done, now and for the foreseeable future.
  • The Healthcare Application: Possibly no industry was as affected by COVID-19 as healthcare. And that transformation is not slowing down. Witnessing the rapid rate of transformation, patients have jumped on board the express train to digitalization. And having proven that healthcare is not as “transformation lite” as some may have thought, organizations must now continue set the course for ongoing innovation, listening to their patients (and their needs) and keeping pace with the trends at large.

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