Patient Experience Technologies

Thanks in part to health care reform, competition amongst medical care and insurance providers has hit an all time high. With added options available to patients, the power has shifted to those seeking medical care, rather than those providing it. This shift has resulted in significantly altered patient expectations; patients once focused solely on obtaining quality medical treatment now expect a more robust and effective experience whenever dealing with a medical provider.

Understanding the demands of your patients is simply the first step in creating a holistic approach to meeting their needs. To create a truly effective patient experience, it is important to explore all available technologies, best practices and strategies across the healthcare industry and beyond. Only by utilizing the wide range of technology and strategy available can you support patients to their expectations.

Patient Experience Technologies

Medical providers have a wide range of technologies from which to choose when attempting to create an effective patient experience. Today’s medical provider can build a patient experience on:

Contact center platforms

The modern contact center involves a great deal more than telephony, including chat capabilities, behavioral analytics and interactive voice response. Arming your employees with the technology and support they need to serve patients is vital to the quality of each and every interaction. It is important to choose a platform that meets your needs and is flexible enough to evolve with your business.

Customer Relationship Management platforms

Obtaining, managing and utilizing patient data is key to their overall experience with your organization. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, make the task of compiling and using patient data much more manageable. Tracking patient medical history, past communications and their preferences streamlines future interactions and provides a more enjoyable experience.

Custom access portals

The modern patient expects the ability to access personalized information via a customized web portal on your website. Offering patients the opportunity to make or change appointments, view test results or contact a provider via a web portal encourages interactions and promotes self-service. As your access portal becomes more robust, patients are offered a deeper level of engagement – the more tasks a patient can accomplish on their own, the less strain is placed on your contact center.

Mobile applications

The creation of custom mobile applications has become an affordable and manageable prospect for many medical providers. Arming patients with mobile access to your practice offers yet another opportunity for engagement. By creating a robust mobile app, you can arm your patients and prospective patients with the information they need to make treatment decisions, schedule appointments, track test results and much more.

By selecting one for a combination of these technologies, medical providers may be able to create an experience that attracts and retains loyal patients.

For more information on patient experience, download our free whitepaper Exploring the Fundamentals of Patient Experience.

An Introduction to Microsoft Teams

For the last year or so, my team has been utilizing Slack as a productivity and team engagement tool since most the team works remotely and we rarely can all be in once place at the same time for team building.  With the introduction of Microsoft Teams, we are looking at how this may be able to replace Slack with an application that is integrated with the rest of our productivity solutions in Office 365.  So far, after about a week of use, there are a LOT of pros and cons about the solution in regards to how my team might be able to utilize in our day to day work lives.  Here is a short listing that our team has come up with in regards to this new productivity tool:

Pros Cons
Included with Office 365 E1,3 and 5 plans In Preview
Integrates with existing Office 365 group Logging in and out has been buggy for a few
Allows for multiple channels of real-time collaboration No Integrated Teams / Skype status
Mobile apps for all needed platforms No “slash” commands
Mobile app doesn’t require “live sign-in” for notifications Inconsistent app experience with external videos / images
Integration with Planner, Power BI, Connectors No external user participation available yet
Mention Individual, Channel or Team No hashtag support

For those that haven’t played with it yet, to enable Microsoft Teams for your existing Office 365 tenant, you need to have a Global Administrator go to Settings > Services & add-ins > Microsoft Teams.  From here simply turn on Microsoft teams and choose to enable or disable the other associated settings related to your Organizational Chart, Video and Screen sharing in Meetings, Dealing with images in messaging and extensibility features with tabs and bots.  There currently are no PowerShell commands to modify Microsoft Teams settings.

Enable Microsoft Teams in Office 365

Enable Microsoft Teams in Office 365

After Microsoft Teams, has been enabled in your tenant, you will notice there is no new tile in the App launcher so you may wonder how do I get started?  Teams is available through the web browser (https://teams.microsoft.com) and through apps available across multiple platforms for use either on a full desktop or mobile.  Here are the following app links:

From the desktop or web client you will notice a few separate tabs on the left:

Profile

From the profile tab, you can quickly change your picture (which is the same picture used throughout the rest of Office 365 services), change your Teams status and view your personal activity or saved messaged to jump back to a specific point in a conversation.

Profile Tab

Profile Tab

Activity

This tab will show you all notifications such as replies, likes and mentions as well as recent activity across your team channels and personal chats.

Activity Tab

Activity Tab

Chat

These are private chat conversations with individuals or bots that have been enabled for your environment.  When looking at a chat with an individual or group of individuals there are separate tabs at the top.  The main Conversation tab will show the entire conversation with that individual.  The Files tab accesses all files shared with the individual through Microsoft Teams which are saved to OneDrive and automatically shared with the individual or group of individuals from the Microsoft Teams Chat Files folder.  The Notes tab is supposed to provision a shared OneNote notebook which I haven’t successfully been able to get working yet.  The Organization tab will show information about the individual such as Title, Department, Location, and Phone Number in addition to where they are in your organizational chart based on information published to Office 365.  Lastly the Activity tab shows all their activity in teams that you both belong to.  Remember, chats don’t just have to be with a single individual, you also can add others to the conversation, start a video and an audio call as well.  If you are chatting with a Bot, such as T-Bot, that will surface separate tabs for other reasons specific for that bot (e.g. Help, FAQ, etc.).

Chat Tab

Chat Tab

Teams

Now for the fun part of the tool Teams.  Teams are directly linked to Office 365 groups.  If you already have an Office 365 group, and you are the owner, you can create a team hooked up to that group, otherwise when you provision a new Team it will also create an associated Office 365 group.  If you are creating a new team based on an Office 365 group, all members from that existing group will automatically be added to the team and receive an email notification letting them know it’s ready.  As soon as your team is provisioned you will notice a “General” channel, but additional channels can be created to segment activity.  In each channel, there are three tabs out of the box Conversations, Files and Notes.  Conversations is mostly self-explanatory with one main exception; these conversations are NOT integrated into the main conversation stream in your Office 365 group.  You will notice per conversation you can Like and Save any part of the conversation or utilize the mention functionality for an individual, the channel or the entire team. 

Teams Tab

Teams Tab

The Files tab accesses files that are automatically uploaded to the Office 365 group library in a sub folder named for the channel.  The Notes tab accesses OneNote Online notebook which creates a section in the Office 365 group notebook named for the channel.  Additionally, you can also add other tabs for Planner, Power BI, SharePoint and more.  Currently during the preview, you cannot add the out of the box Plan that comes with your Office 365 group, however when you do create a new Plan, it looks like a “minimal” plan as the tasks created don’t look to be able to have conversations, files, or links attached.  When adding a Power BI tab, you can only specify an existing workspace instead of creating a new one.  While adding a SharePoint tab, you can only link to a SharePoint Online library to browse its content.

Much like Office 365 Groups, another great feature integrated into each channel are Connectors.  Connectors can add information to your channel through external systems / processes.  Some sample connectors our team has integrated into channels are Twitter, RSS Feeds, and the Incoming Webhooks which creates an endpoint that you can send information to the channel through this endpoint.  One great example of this is through your automated PowerShell scripts or a Microsoft Flow by utilizing an HTTP Post command.  For more information on the Webhook connector with Microsoft Teams view the following MSDN article https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/connectors.

Meetings

The meetings interface is very intriguing for its direct integration with Exchange and Skype as it will show you all upcoming meetings with the meeting details, attendees and even a Join button for those that are Skype meetings.  In addition to existing meetings available through Outlook, you can also create singular Microsoft Teams online meetings (no recurrence).  This will post the meeting in a channel of your choosing and the conversations going on inside the meeting are available in that channel.  Additionally, while the meeting is in progress you can see the individuals currently in the meeting and join directly from the channel regardless if you were invited or not as there is a video icon next to the channel where the meeting is taking place.  After the meeting has completed, the channel will show all members who attended the meeting as well as the duration.  One word of warning, when you join a Teams meeting video will be enabled by default and you may need to adjust your audio and video settings as they picked up different devices than we were expecting during our testing.

Teams Meeting

Teams Meeting

Files

By integrating with the rest of Office 365 the Files tab brings much more information to life than just files throughout Teams.  It allows you to access all files that you have recently accessed through Teams, OneDrive and your Office clients regardless of their location if you are using Office Pro Plus from installed as part of your Office 365 subscription.  Specifically, it also lets you directly access OneDrive and interact by creating, moving and editing content on the fly.

OneDrive File Access

OneDrive File Access

Microsoft is already starting to throw a lot of good information out on about this new productivity solution and Microsoft Virtual Academy has already posted a few videos to get people up to speed on Microsoft Teams where they provide a high-level overview on some features and guidance on management and deployment of the new feature.  The two-part course is available at http://aka.ms/microsoft-teams/readiness.  The Tech community has already been setup for ongoing support and questions for the platform at https://aka.ms/msteamscommunity.

After a week with working with this new product, I’m starting to like where it’s going, and am looking for even more improvements in the future.  What are your initial thoughts of Microsoft Teams?

[“Brian”]

CX Musings

Last week I had the honor and pleasure of guest teaching at USC’s consumer psychology graduate program, and I’m pretty sure the students had as much fun as I did teaching as they did learning and being entertained. And I’m happy to report that the students were not only sharp, but they were also fascinated by customer experience. Not so much the idea of CX, but how it’s taken a business discipline such as CX to help companies purposely design experiences. In other words, they were a little surprised that CX isn’t a standard practice, and I couldn’t agree more!

They are growing up to expect that their favorite brands will take time to understand them, all the way from their unexpressed hidden desires to the way in which they as customers want to communicate. And they as consumers shouldn’t have to explicitly say that – it’s assumed their favorite brands will just know them. Know how to chat, use emoticons, and predict needs.

As anticipated, the younger generation, and many consumers for that matter, are constantly increasing expectations. With the rise of Amazon’s Mayday, instant rides from Lyft and Uber, to the endless flow of updates from news outlets, Facebook, and Twitter overflows our mental capacity to absorb information. Our persistent data snacking has stimulated our minds so much that we subconsciously hunt for the next hit (the number of likes from our Facebook status update, affirmation from our boss, acknowledgement from our favorite brand that a problem is being fixed, or notification from Amazon that the book you ordered during lunch has already shipped).

A student asked, “What is a key driving factor for doing CX well?” Great question.

My answer: Compassion.
It is rare for us let alone companies to actively engage with intention. To actively sit and feel what it is like to be our spouses, our friends, our children, parents, neighbors, and specifically customers. Truly understanding what their values are and each of the emotions that they feel. So I argue the most powerful business strategy that can elevate a company’s CX is without a doubt compassion. Which is proactive-intentional-empathy with our customers.

Sounds simple enough, then why don’t more companies do this? Well a few are, but it’s slow to catch on, plus it’s not easy for executives to get behind until they can see the results, and sometimes that means turning the mirror inward.

Truly imagining what it is like to be another person, and keep practicing it means that we can no longer blame them as we being to empathize with their situation. We can no longer make them wrong in our heads and we stop being upset at them. We can then see ourselves in their shoes and can understand how maybe we could have made same mistake or come to the same conclusion. When we imagine what it’s like to be another person for too long it threatens our ego a bit.

But if we can get over our selfish ego side we can dive deeper into compassion for our customers and start to feel the same feelings as they feel will we be on the road to creating differentiated customer experiences. Until then we’re unplugged from doing so.

I believe that if we truly carve out the time to empathize with intention that we can help massive amounts of people, and even make a little money as a result.

Where can we remove friction from their journey? What is our customer’s reality… where is their pain coming from and what frustrates them? What is it that THEY think they need to relieve their pain and frustration, not what we interpret it to be with our own biases.

Or as Clayton Christensen puts it, what are the customers’ jobs? Where can we save them time and make a process easier?

What monsters are our customers trying to avoid and what treasures are they trying to get?

What are our customers not sharing with us on surveys… what are they secretly not telling anyone? Too many times surveys only capture the extremes: “You guys are awesome – keep it up!” or “Horrible experience!” As CX professionals I think it is our job to do our best to try to answer the questions above. Furthermore, I’d even argue that it is within any businesses best interest to understand their customers’ desires because most businesses fail because they choose not to invest in understanding their changing desires.

I’ll leave with a quote from fellow CX practitioner, Brian Solis:

One of the biggest problems with CX today is that it’s too closely tied to legacy philosophies, processes, and systems, which were crafted for a different time for a different type of customer. Without understanding customers and how behaviors and values are changing, without aligning our teams around a bigger and bolder vision of what we want to offer – something that is going to truly matter to people – we are just managing the business the way we always have… and for some that means scraping by until disruption.