Tuesday, Dec 19, 2023

Putting Women at The Heart of Healthcare Journeys

Katy AllenEVP, Managing Director of Healthcare, Bounteous


For generations, women have assumed the vital role of caregiver for their families. Today, not much has changed. 80% of us juggle healthcare decisions for spouses, children, aging parents, and ourselves. Even among women without a spouse or child, 60% are the primary caretaker for a loved one. 

It’s a taxing responsibility – even for a healthcare expert.

Each week, I find myself navigating an intricate web of health-related decisions for both my family and my parents. I invest hours scheduling appointments with specialists, navigating the maze of out-of-network claims, and diligently following up with doctors – often without much help from insurers and other intermediaries. Like many, I manage these commitments while balancing a full-time job.

It’s a challenge, but, for me, an instructive one. It clarifies the need for seamless, self-service, consumer-centric experiences in healthcare. Our journey deserves attention and improvement. Yet, despite the urgent need to prioritize and improve the healthcare experience of (overwhelmingly female) caregivers, many organizations are merely scratching the surface of what's possible.

One Size Does Not Fit All

It’s easy to throw caregivers into one big group, but the reality is everyone is different. At HLTH ‘23, I divided caregivers into two broad, but meaningful, categories: the always-on caregiver and the crisis caregiver. As a starting point, organizations must be attuned to this distinction.

I live the role of an always-on caregiver. I make the medical decisions for my family, coordinate appointments, and ensure we follow-up with doctors. Crisis caregivers typically assist during specific moments. When a loved one faces a serious illness or requires hospitalization, these caregivers step in to provide immediate care and make decisions the patient is unable to.

The Right RX? A Better Digital CX

Thoughtful, empathetic digital customer journeys can significantly alleviate the burden on all caregivers. The high-level use cases are straightforward; easy access to essential information, enabling self-service, and facilitating a deeper understanding of the care they and their loved ones are receiving. Such experiences will not only give women greater confidence in the care they and their loved ones are receiving – but instill greater trust in the organizations who are providing it. 

The stakes for health organizations are high. 60% of individuals express a willingness to switch healthcare providers if they receive a poor digital experience. As the effective healthcare CEOs within their families, women are the decision-makers, determining whether to remain with a particular health plan or provider. Ensuring their satisfaction is paramount.

For example, my children have seen the same pediatrician since they were born. Although we receive great care, the total experience is analog and needlessly time intensive. I’m still writing checks and calling to make appointments. It’s, in short, a hassle. The extra friction is slowly pushing us towards exploring other care options. A new care team would be an adjustment but the ease of managing our care would be a much needed relief.

MeasureWhat Matters

The path to improvement begins with smarter, more holistic measurement. There is a huge opportunity for organizations to adopt a more comprehensive approach to customer satisfaction. By assessing caregiver satisfaction alongside overall member and patient satisfaction, providers will develop a deeper and more nuanced understanding of how their services impact families. 

While satisfaction has a significant influence on health organization acquisition and retention, there are other opportunities to measure and demonstrate value from your investments in caregiver experiences. Introducing self-service, simplified and journey focused touchpoints and decision support will drive efficiencies and savings across high volume operational functions such as your telesales and contact centers. Measuring impact on current KPIs can be a powerful narrative for further investment in the caregiver experiences. 

Ultimately, this integrated measurement strategy would allow healthcare organizations to make informed decisions and improve the overall healthcare experience for both caregivers and those under their care.

Raise The Bar

By understanding the diverse needs of caregivers and implementing practical, digital, solutions, we can make a significant impact. It's not just about recognizing challenges; it's about empowering caregivers, easing their burdens, and ensuring they receive the support they need.

As Managing Director of Healthcare at Bounteous I’m passionate about helping healthcare organizations align on digital initiatives that boost caregiver engagement and satisfaction, ultimately bringing these organizations closer to the people they serve. 

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