Digital Front Door is the key to online healthcare
Digital Front Door, an omnichannel customer engagement strategy in healthcare, looks set to open up a world of choice for patients.
As the trend for patients to become actively involved in their own health journey grows, a white paper produced b y L&T Technology Services Ltd (LTTS) has introduced the concept and benefits of ‘Digital Front Door’ (DFD), an omnichannel customer engagement strategy offering greater control and choice for the consumer.
Allowing patients easy access to a host of services, from booking appointments to virtual visits or accessing telehealth, DFD is an important development for modern healthcare providers.
Through the use of online tools, patients will be able to make informed choices that result in better outcomes and reduced costs. This is crucial as, following the impact of COVID-19, which has seen more patients booking virtual visits, managing healthcare often requires the same efficiency DFD as ecommerce or online banking.
Current trends among consumers include:
- Accepting more accountability for their own health
- A desire for convenient and personalised services
- Tracking daily health data with the use of wearables
- Seeking Value-Based Health Care (VBHC)
- Greater access to technology
What are the key trends driving consumers?
In an era of digital transformation, patients are looking for more control and choice, often through virtual, digital, and self-service channels. This enables them to not only interact with providers and healthcare organisations, but also to change the way in which services themselves are accessed.
Today, approximately 60% of healthcare consumers are sharing their feedback on the quality of health services received on social media (Facebook, Google etc.), placing the onus on providers to consistently ensure that they deliver optimal services.
In a survey conducted by Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement, 75% of consumers said online ratings and reviews influence their choice of provider. The top choice (57%) for sharing a physician/hospital experience was through Facebook, and a total of 48% are influenced by an online review when choosing a doctor.
Furthermore, according to an NTT DATA study, the majority (62%) of customers reported that they were unable to accomplish their healthcare goals online, including searching for a doctor, accessing health records, or paying bills. A PwC report recorded the gulf between customers’ service expectation and reality as 25%.
DFD offers the following benefits:
- Meet consumer expectations
- Engage patients
- Improve overall experience
- Build long-lasting relationships
- Increase retention and cross-selling potential
- Deliver value-based care
What are the potential benefits for:
Patients and providers: integrated omnichannel communication has the dual benefit of both convenience and more effective data management. This, in turn, allows providers to triage more effectively and further enhance the fluidity of the customer experience.
Life sciences: although the new provider-patient dynamic will still place life sciences companies (medtech, pharma, biotech, etc) as secondary entities, their ability to provide solutions and services aligned with client values will ensure they remain integral to creating a bespoke experience incorporating preferred communication methods.
Therefore, as we have shown, the successful implementation of DFD could be key for providers seeking to integrate patient care, reduce the burden on medical staff, help patients navigate their health journey, and effectively manage costs.
Find out more in LTTS' white paper: download here
Walmart, the next health tech giant - a timeline
Retail giant Walmart has been building its healthcare division for a number of years, but its recent acquisition of a telehealth firm and the slow down of its clinic expansion suggest its focus has now shifted to health tech. We look at key moments in Walmart's history in healthcare.
Walmart announces plans to provide "full primary care services" by 2020. The plans include opening clinics in underserved, urban areas, where the chain has many existing stores.
A series of “Healthcare Begins Here” events launch at Walmart stores, where consumers are given information on leading healthy lives, as well as free blood pressure, blood glucose and vision screenings, and access to vaccinations.
As part of the organisation's commitment to pursue a more data-centric approach to worker safety, Walmart partners with StrongArm, manufacturers of safety wearables. Staff begin wearing FUSE, a small sensor worn between their shoulder blades that detects injury risk. Within a year, ergonomic injuries decreased by 65%.
Walmart opens its first health centre in Dallas. The 10,000 square-foot "super centre" offers primary care, X-rays and ECG, counselling, dental, optical, hearing and community health services. Prices are affordable regardless of health insurance status.
The same year a partnership with Doctor on Demand is announced, a telehealth company offering mental health services. As part of the agreement Walmart employees are able to access these services for free.
The first health and wellness clinic opens in Springdale, Arkansas, providing primary care, dental care, vision and hearing services as well as behavioural health, fitness and wellness education classes.
Walmart acquires CareZone’s medication management technology. CareZone's app reminds users to take their medication and provides refill reminders. The acquisition complements Walmart's existing pharmacy service.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart is in talks with Verizon to implement 5G wireless service in select sites, to help boost digital health services.
As part of its COVID-19 response, drive-thru testing is offered at hundreds of Walmart Neighborhood Market drive-thru pharmacy sites, free of charge through Humana .
The retail giant teams up with the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer telehealth services to veterans at stores in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.
Walmart Mexico signs a deal with Jack Nathan Medical Corp, a Canadian tech-focused healthcare provider. This will see 153 new medical clinics open within stores across Mexico, taking the total in the country to 203.
Walmart announces it is acquiring MeMD, a multi-speciality telehealth provider. The acquisition will enable Walmart Health to provide access to virtual care across the US. At the same time it is reported that plans to open further clinics are deliberately slowing down.
"Today people expect omnichannel access to care, and adding telehealth to our Walmart Health care strategies allows us to provide in-person and digital care across our multiple assets and solutions" Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president for Health & Wellness said of the announcement.