A few months ago, the 10-Year Challenge was taking over social media. The popular posts involved people placing two photos side-by-side — one from 10 years ago and a current one. The pictures were normally followed by a clever or funny caption commenting on how much the person had changed over the past decade. This challenge made me think about what it would be like to compare the patient experience from 10 years ago to the patient experience of today. Below, are a few key ways in which the patient experience has been dramatically improved.
10 years ago: Patients waited in line to sign in on a paper list before sitting down in a crowded waiting room.
Today: Patients can use their mobile device to scan the reservation app appointment code at the kiosk located in the waiting room.
10 years ago: Patients waited for their name to get to the top of the list and to be called up to check-in at the front desk. From there, someone would gather all their information and check them in, and they would then be asked to wait in a crowded waiting room.
Today: Patients are typically escorted immediately to the procedure room after check-in and then are sent quickly on their way.
10 years ago: Patients were required to call their doctor office to schedule and confirm an appointment.
Today: Patients can schedule appointments online and confirm them via text.
10 years ago: Patients had long wait times in crowded waiting rooms.
Today: Patients are called immediately to the check-in desk where their digital information is received and confirmed before they are escorted directly to the procedure room.
I think that it is clear to say that the patient experience has gone from disconnected to digitalized. With technologies like self-serve kiosks, online scheduling, and appointment reminders via text, more healthcare providers have been able to streamline the patient experience process and better engage with their patients.
The biggest impact to the patient experience was the implementation of electronic health records (EHR). By allowing patients to digitally access their medical records, healthcare providers are encouraging their patients to take ownership of their health and manage it accordingly. With this, patients have become more informed on their own health, which in turn promotes a healthier lifestyle for continuing generations.