Better patient satisfaction: How these healthcare companies did it [Report]

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The following key points are discussed regarding the findings from a recent customer success study conducted with 140 RingCentral healthcare customers:

  1. Cloud-based communications improve access to resources & productivity
  2. Clinicians want one communications device with integrated functionality
  3. Staff satisfaction is as critical to providers as patient satisfaction
  4. Point-of-care productivity improved with mobile cloud communication tools

Deploying cloud communications, collaboration, and contact center solutions is not just good for improving connections; it is excellent for driving value across the enterprise. Tapping into our global customer community, RingCentral recently surveyed customers to gain insights into key metrics and business value they realized from their deployment and utilization of RingCentral solutions.


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Top 4 benefits of RingCentral cited by healthcare customers

Our participating healthcare customers’ improvements with the increase in resource access, patient and staff satisfaction, care team productivity, and faster workflow deployment were all top of mind.

1. Increase in resource access

Among survey respondents, 56% indicated that they achieved a significant point-of-care workflow efficiency with RingCentral solutions deployed. Why? Their teams need fast access to one another via an integrated communications solution. Clinical teams require agility at the point of care to coordinate care planning—including the complex transition of care workflows between acute and specialty referrals.

How do clinicians traditionally collaborate at the point of care?

Many healthcare organizations’ communication and collaboration tools include separate components from multiple providers. For instance, the organization may use one provider for video meetings, another for messaging, and another for phone services. This approach creates numerous points of entry around the security risk of ePHI with each point solution. Additionally, many providers utilize these multi-point solutions as adjuncts to their legacy facility phone systems—perhaps aiming to improve communication but creating siloed collaboration environments.

How do clinicians want to collaborate at the point of care?

Clinicians want to use integrated collaboration tools to support care coordination across dispersed stakeholders. Specifically, they need modern capabilities characterized by:

  • One device with integrated functionality
  • Visibility to other dispersed stakeholders
  • Control over how they communicate their availability

Alternatively, providers could incorporate messaging, calling, video meetings, and contact center technology into one integrated platform. Comprehensive communication and collaboration solutions enable healthcare teams to use the communication modes their patients—and colleagues—want. An integrated all-in-one solution also allows healthcare providers to switch seamlessly from one mode of communication to another, all within one app. As a result, an integrated communications solution can dramatically streamline point-of-care workflows—which means better, faster patient care, fewer readmissions, and lower costs for providers.

How does improved point of care workflow translate to operational ROI?

According to a published analysis by CMS, the cost of hospital readmissions is enormous, estimated to be in the vicinity of $26 billion annually. Furthermore, according to research by the Advisory Board, in FY 2019, 82% of hospitals participating in CMS programs received readmissions penalties. The implication can be a multi-million dollar financial impact for each acute provider.

Drive real value in healthcare with cloud communications

Based on a 2022 survey of 140 RingCentral customers

46%

Increase in employee productivity

42%

Increase in patient satisfaction

38%

Revenue growth

2. Patient and staff satisfaction and experience

The healthcare industry pays more attention to the concept of patient and staff experience and satisfaction today than ever before. 53% of surveyed clients did as well. They see the value in a positive patient experience and how it leads to better outcomes for patients and increased revenue over the long term. Yet, many other healthcare organizations still don’t know what steps to take to create an ideal patient experience.
   
The term patient experience refers to all of a patient’s interactions with a healthcare provider. A patient’s experience with a healthcare provider starts long before they walk into the office; the clock starts ticking when a patient picks up the phone to schedule an appointment or performs an online search for a healthcare provider.

Though the concept of what constitutes an ideal patient experience varies from one patient to another, some general principles always apply. For example, patients want their providers to understand and value their input. Patients also desire accessible scheduling experiences and want to communicate with their providers when needed seamlessly.

When issues and challenges arise, patients appreciate a quick, professional resolution to problems. Digitally savvy patients also value the ability to schedule appointments, communicate with their providers, and coordinate care via their mobile device of choice. All these things fall under the umbrella of providing an ideal patient experience.

Improving patient satisfaction and experience with cloud communications

One investment that can help you improve the patient experience (as well as boost your organization’s revenue) is an integrated healthcare communications platform, which includes a suite of collaboration tools, including voice, video meetings, secure messaging, and contact center technologies.

How can an integrated healthcare communications platform affect the ideal patient experience? For a start, it enhances scheduling. A healthcare communications platform routes the patient’s call to the right person at the healthcare facility. Additionally, the platform sends automated reminders, increasing the chances that the patient will miss up. An integrated healthcare communications platform also includes tools to facilitate care coordination, thereby providing a superior patient experience.

What’s the business case for patient satisfaction and experience?

One key metric that all providers track is appointment abandonment rates. When you improve the patient experience, patients are more likely to build their provider loyalty and show up for appointments, which reduces revenue-killing no-show rates. No-shows to appointments are costly; the provider isn’t making money whenever someone doesn’t show up. Moreover, improving the patient experience can make it easier for your patients to book appointments in the first place. An increase in appointments ensures your organization remains profitable and sustainable.

communication in healthcare
How healthcare payers can ease prior authorization provider pains with cloud communications

3. Increase in staff productivity

As part of the broader strategy to reform how healthcare is delivered, how do healthcare leaders weigh communications and collaboration improvements against staff productivity? 46% of survey respondents weighed it heavily and leveraged RingCentral to make it easy and faster for their care teams to connect and work together securely. Effective collaboration can improve staff productivity and satisfaction, but substandard collaboration detracts.

So, how can providers maximize staff productivity? Many turn to technology as a potential solution. One technology overlooked is the facility’s phone system. Why? Generally, because the healthcare facility’s very old, the outdated phone system is used only for basic phone features, such as calls or voicemails. In contrast, providers can unify their clinical communications to improve staff productivity with today’s cloud communications systems. An all-in-one cloud communications platform helps providers accomplish this in four main ways:

  • Build consistent patient scheduling workflows
  • Support patients with first-call resolution
  • Provide easy, efficient patient-to-provider access
  • Connect staff across secure, integrated collaboration tools

Why is it imperative to solve healthcare staff productivity challenges?

Healthcare faces a massive staffing shortage in the coming years. By 2030, staffing experts predict a deficit of almost 105,000 doctors in the US. Two-thirds of executives at hospitals with over 1,000 employees currently deal with a shortage of nurses or expect to within the next three years. There are simply not enough qualified candidates to fill the gaps.

4. The value of improving workflow deployment

Another staff productivity challenge is the lack of a streamlined workflow deployment. Most all clinical workflows require staff collaboration and communication processes. The most critical workflows occur during patient care coordination transitions (i.e., patient discharges and transfers). Within larger provider organizations, poor communications technology costs valuable hours as staff members struggle to coordinate care across dispersed stakeholders within the healthcare system.  Over 25% of healthcare customer survey respondents cited workflow improvement from using RingCentral solutions.

How a cloud communications system improves healthcare staff productivity

A unified healthcare communications system facilitates accessible real-time staff communication and collaboration, utilizing any device they prefer to connect securely with cloud technology. This seamless engagement leads to faster care coordination, maximized staff utilization, improved patient (and staff) satisfaction, and ultimately, cost savings for your practice.

How does improved staff productivity translate to operational ROI?

When healthcare leaders improve staff productivity, patients get discharged faster, and the average length of stay (ALOS) is optimized. Even if the reduction is 30 minutes per patient, an acute provider can realize hundreds of thousands of dollars more in annual patient revenues. The same productivity gains enable ambulatory providers to see 1-3 more patients per physician / per day and realize the same revenue-side operational ROI.

Originally published Aug 26, 2022

Put connection at the center of care

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