Why Patient Experience Sucks With Most Healthcare Software

Departments think about how software impacts their workflows, not what matters to the patients.

September 10, 2020

In Ben Thompson’s write up about Apple and Epic he says it best:

"The business buyer, famously, does not care about the user experience. They are not the user, and so items that change how a product feels or that eliminate small annoyances simply don’t make it into their rational decision making process."

We were able to shatter our first customer’s online patient conversion rates by only caring about the user experience for our patients. 

We’ve learned along our own sales journey why healthcare providers often overlook the patient experience when they go through their software selection process. 

Departments think about how software impacts their workflows, not what matters to the patients

While our team has worked in the healthcare software space for over a decade now, Arriv is the first product we have taken to market ourselves. Since our launch last year, we have grown nationwide, deployed in a variety of facilities, and spoken to several healthcare providers to source issues. We have a much clearer picture of why most software in healthcare is a nightmare to use. - few people are advocating for the end user -- the patient and the hospital staff taking care of them.

The patient is quickly crowded out of consideration. Many groups inside an organization are consulted about any software decision. Internal group perspectives and priorities usually move to the front and the ultimate decision involves navigating complicated organizational politics, and not what is best for patient experience.

It is hard to evaluate the many small things that make a big difference in patient experience

We’ve found a good number of healthcare providers aren’t aware or don’t yet believe in the massive patient acquisition opportunities that patient-focused digital tools provide. While on-demand and in-the-moment search for healthcare rapidly grows, the online journey becomes a key factor in the patient decision. 

Increasingly, built-in loyalty to providers can no longer be taken for granted, especially when patients are deciding “where can I go right now.” The best online retailers spend millions getting every small thing right to move a customer from consideration to purchase. Digital experiences in healthcare, just as in retail, are playing a similar role in capturing patients.

If no one pushes for patient experience, companies will go with messy solutions that check boxes

Arriv does well with buyers who are focused on growing patient volume. When these patient volume focused decision-makers come to us, they ask their team to evaluate Arriv through this patient revenue-driving lens.  In this scenario, the patient viewpoint doesn’t get diluted or discarded when there is a strong, high-level advocate. 

The team’s buying questions also change from “how many capabilities does this tool have?” to “why do these experiences make a difference for the patient and whether they will show up at our facility?” For Arriv, our team can explain every interaction and pixel and show you data on the difference it makes in patient conversion rates.   


Hands-on is a much too rare of a request, when it should be the first

What is surprising to us is how few of the potential buyers we come across ask to get their hands on the product. Most are more focused on their own internal requirements and jump straight to questions about customizations, integrations, and specific features. 

One buyer famously met with us three times, having had their legal team, IT team, and ops team all provide us questions before ever seeing the product itself. While those are all valid teams to review a new product in healthcare, it was only at our insistence that they review and understand the patient experience of Arriv and how it could benefit everyone.

All the while, people’s use and expectations of digital tools have increased in the pandemic

The pandemic has forced more people to adopt mobile technologies like Amazon, Uber Eats, and DoorDash. More people know what a world class mobile experience should look and feel like. 

With this surge in digital, consumer expectations are constantly rising and they are now trained to infer that great digital experiences will likely mean great service experiences. You may not think you aren’t competing against such digital juggernauts as Amazon or Wal-Mart, but the world’s biggest retailers are invading new industries as never before. In fact, Wal-Mart is spinning up clinics again.

Digital experiences will be important to win new customers and take market share.  

There is an immense opportunity to develop a digital advantage and capture greater patient volume in healthcare 

All of this means there is a striking opportunity for healthcare providers to make the digital  patient experience the priority in decision making. 

So here’s our challenge to you: next time you are planning to implement a technology that your patients will use, use it yourself first. Ask the hard questions about the little steps of the experience that don’t quite make sense - because these seemingly small things are the biggest barriers to success. 

Even simple things such as the types of questions you ask, how you ask them, and the order in which you ask can have a major effect on whether or not a potential patient chooses your facility. All of the other IT, Legal, and operational concerns can be overcome much easier than a user experience that doesn’t inspire confidence in your patients.  

Finally, in their decision-making process, our customers all asked for very specific details on this question: “How do you, Arriv, focus on the end user?” 

At Arriv we obsess over the smallest details when it comes to improving patient experience. We run qualitative user testing on multiple versions of each new feature before a prototype ever makes it into development. We often find that small wording and layout changes lead to significant increases in user understanding. 

After we have qualified a new feature, we develop and Q/A test before running a split test with live traffic. Our data science team analyzes the data to understand how the new features affect user behavior before making a final decision on whether or not to release the feature to all users. To date, only one out of seven features ever makes it to production. The rest give us valuable feedback on our Healthcare UX and insights into the patient’s journey.

This is what we mean when we say we are a patient-first product. Providing better care for your patients in an increasingly digital world means paying attention to the details of their experience -- just like you do when they are in your direct care.

Guaranteed to increase online check-in patient volume.

Let us prove it. Try Arriv risk free.

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