The world is becoming increasingly connected. Not only people connecting to each other, but the touch-points with which people can connect with services is rapidly increasing.
For example, today Starbucks customers can reload their rewards card on the website, order and pay for their coffee via the app, and collect the drink in-store. This type of marketing with several touch-points is called an “omnichannel experience”.
While Starbucks are currently considered at the top of the omnichannel game, that’s just one example. And it doesn’t only apply to traditional B2C-services, such as food and beverage. Increasingly, people are expecting this level of service and availability across the spectrum — including healthcare.
Although healthcare isn’t quite there yet, the industry is making moves in that general direction. And it’ll change the way healthcare is perceived and delivered in a major way. But before we dig into that, let’s get or terminology straight and get clear about what we’re talking about.
What Is Omnichannel
At its core, omnichannel is defined as a multichannel sales approach that offers an integrated customer experience. The difference between an omni- and a multichannel experience comes to the level of integration: An omnichannel experience is unified and seamless across channels. The channels have to work together for it to be considered an omni-experience. So all omnichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multichannel experiences are omnichannel.
Do you follow?
Companies are using the omnichannel approach to align their strategy and delivery across each channel and device, ultimately forming a smooth and cohesive customer experience. And for any organization looking to take their customer experience to the next level, omni is the way to go.
Examples of Omnichannel Experiences
Most examples of omnichannel experiences come from B2C products and services. For years, healthcare has resisted the trend toward omnichannel and maintained a fragmented ecosystem. But that’s slowly changing.
For instance, today a patient can look at physician-reviews on their laptop, book an appointment on their phone and provide the necessary information via an app. Later, the doctor can upload the medical record online, and the patient can use a smart-watch to monitor their health and follow a prescribed regimen.
The Mayo Clinic, for example, offers a healthcare app that stores patient data, making it possible for the clinic to provide more personalized care based on the information in the app.
In essence, omnichannel is a natural reflection of the way consumers find the information they need. With the rise of highly user-friendly applications on the B2C-side, customers are expecting a better user experience across the board.
Today, a patient likes to access healthcare wherever they are, at any time, through any device. Be it via their phone or their laptop, at work or on vacation.
In short, patients insist on healthcare providers to offer more user-friendly services that break cost- and reach-barriers, while supporting engagement and availability. A tall order for many healthcare systems that are forced to re-think their traditional methods of patient engagements. But this comes with multiple benefits for both sides.
On the healthcare side, this can play a momentous role for providers and payers alike. Providers can streamline their experience, both for the doctor- and the patient-side, while insurers can offer things like reduced premiums based on adherence to medicine regimens.
In essence, it will provide a vast opportunity for healthcare players to personalize their experiences and increase customer acquisition and retention on the one hand, and boost revenue and reduce costs on the other.
To do this, healthcare systems need to understand the patient journey, establish a foundation of data, and optimize the content for each channel and device. This aligns with how healthcare systems are transitioning from treatment to proactive wellness. A change that has an impact on the rise of non-communicable diseases, as well as on the omnichannel experience.
By harnessing physician and facility data in a more effective way, healthcare systems can provide more personalized care to patients regardless of location or device. For example, personalized diet recommendations based on a patient’s health condition.
Here’s also a massive opportunity for wearables, which will play a key role in the healthcare omnichannel ecosystem. By finding an efficient and non-invasive way to collect data, we can expect customized care-plans and better patient outcomes.
Among other things, an omnichannel approach allows providers the opportunity to reduce missed appointments, boost acquisition, and drive adherence. On the payer-side, insurance companies can benefit from increased patient data and offer discounted premiums based on adherence to exercise or medical regimens.
For many healthcare systems, moving to omnichannel constitutes a major project. Updating legacy systems takes time and resources. But the benefits are there for both sides, and for those that invest in creating a seamless experience early on, there are plenty of opportunities to increase both patient acquisition and retention.
The train is about to leave the station, and for those who are looking to stay relevant, now is the time to get on board.