Not so Good to Worse
Approaches to applying new digital innovation with healthcare delivery must evaluate the entire end-end user experience and supporting IT/infrastructure (legacy and newly commissioned). Existing points of care and patient engagement may not currently be ideal, but could get must worse if not done correctly. Companies too often focus on applying new technologies to an area of their workflow, but fail to assess the impact on the patient experience or other required components to ensure adoption, retention or accelerated abandonment. Digital health innovation affords organizations with new opportunities to improve things and streamline their business process. Many only focus on certain aspects or other siloed parts of their organization that are not equally transformed. I had 2 real bad experiences recently that highlights this challenge as healthcare organizations tip their toes into digital health.
Too Many Minutes at CVS Minute Clinic
After being on a Shingles vaccine waiting list with my PCP for over 6 months, I decided to take things into my own hands. I confirmed that my local CVS Minute Clinic had the vaccine in short supply elsewhere. I was unable to attend my second scheduled dose administration and tried to contact them to change my appointment. 4-5 call attempts later after navigating through a myriad of IVR menus, I reached the peak of my frustration with not being able to either cancel, reschedule my appointment, or be connected to someone at my local Minute Clinic. Thus, I did not feel bad about missing my appointment. I got a call several weeks later more interested if they should keep the 2nd dose vs. reschedule an appointment.
The second time I just did a walk-in visit where they may be more optimized around. Bad news again, I went online to cvs.com to confirm my local Minute Clinic was open during my planned visit. Unfortunately, when I showed up I saw a paper note over the kiosk indicating their Nurse Practitioner called in sick today and to try back again tomorrow. Sure, I don't mind getting in my car and driving down to check to see if someone called in sick the following day (really?). This is not a digital experience.
Aside from getting sick with my second Shingrix dose (flu like symptoms except for a normal temperature, but still better than getting Shingles), my 2nd bad experience with Minute Clinic stemmed from receiving a bill for my vaccine since they did not have my correct insurance info. It took me close to 25 minutes to speak with someone eager to remedy a payment inquiry and then finally reconciled the issue on the call after 31 minutes. They have cute little kiosks in their clinic that help with self-service check-ins. I can only image how much they invested in this kiosk development, but failed to consider the dead end with patient engagement around corner cases like rescheduling or questions that they should realize will arise. With each of my 4-5 call attempts to their Minute Clinic customer service phone number, I tried to navigate to both my local clinic or talk with a live person. I got a horrid generic voice message often times providing absolutely no value to me as a patient and customer. During both of my visits, they were training young Nurse Practitioner to feed their attempt at a low cost delivery model that likely is a key workable business model determinant.
Lesson to be Learned: Examine the end-end Minute Clinic user experience including calls to action, entry, exit points, required service operations to address certain workflow, and invest in a meaningful customer pilot to uncover dead-ends and poor customer satisfaction points. These warts were not hard to find.
On a Quest for my Diagnostics Test
I received a paper order for a diagnostic test after a visit to a healthcare specialist in Boston. This was a familiar test I had done before so I thought it would be a breeze to do the test at a more local Quest Diagnostics near my home. Cautious me, I went online to confirm I could do this test at my local Quest office. The super generic info I obtained did not instill confidence this would be achieve without issue. I decided to give Quest a call to confirm they had this test at this select location before trekking it over to their office. Again, I traversed through multiple levels of the Quest IVR customer service phone support trying to connect with the local Quest office and only got a general call center support staff member. I was pleasantly informed by the customer service representative that all Quest facilities have the necessary testing capabilities for any order that can be placed with Quest.
I took my paper order form to my local office, saw the cute little Quest kiosk tablet at the office for me to check in (devoid of any Quest staff in plain view) and waited for my test. A woman popped out of a door to have me come in to only find out they were wrong and do not have my test my doctor ordered. They said I could come back after they order the test and I was super happy with the opportunity to traverse through 2 neighboring towns back to their office. When I asked if I could call them to check on the status of my test, they indicated they do not allow direct calls. They said they would order the test, but not sure when it would come in. Putting my name down on a Post-It note to call me did not instill confidence in their process.
Lesson to be Learned: Don't focus exclusively on sexy new digital engagement tools and opportunities to cut cost from your workflow or operations. Think about customer touch points and points of automation and required person-person engagement in some scenarios. Make sure all digital points of patient ingress are connected from a data and integration perspective.