Download a PDF of Patient Experience/New Solutions Now.

NEW YORK—The challenging business and cultural climate of the past couple of years have brought on many new definitions of what constitutes an excellent customer or patient experience. That’s because the pandemic shutdown was such an initial shock to the normal interactions between patients and doctors, customers and retailers that everything underwent a reassessment and rethinking, even as the situation improved.

But in 2022, as we’ve entered the current phase of the pandemic’s impact on the consumer and patient mindsets, it’s crystal clear that their expectations have changed—even toward their tried-and-true heath care providers and to retailers with whom they’ve had consistent and solid relationships.

It’s against this backdrop that technology and new digital tools are coming into play to help both providers and retailers gain some efficiencies—particularly at a time when staffing concerns and pressures are intensifying and they are facing patients and customers who’ve developed a new set of expectations and priorities about what comprises modern service, more convenient or engaging interactions for themselves and their families.

Embracing change, adjusting internal practice processes and rethinking how a practice is perceived by longtime and new-prospect customers and patients can pose what seems like overwhelming choices among practice owners and managers. But many agree it’s time to take steps toward these new options.

A recent Microsoft report, “Personalizing Healthcare, Engaging Patients in a Digital Age,” illuminates this. Engaging individuals, leveraging data that already is there among EHR systems, expanding the role of the website and mobile access via smartphone can point the way toward the individualized services patients are seeking now. Today, as many as 65 percent of patients use a digital device to manage their health, and they expect the experience to be as seamless as one they might find in the retail space, Microsoft pointed out.

The implications are as high for eyecare practices and optical retailers as they are for other health care specialists and general provider systems. In this special feature, VM once again examines some of the options available to ECPs today.