The Digital Front Door: The Gateway to Empathetic Patient Navigation

Stefan Behrens, CEO, GYANT The healthcare experience can often feel lonely. Lengthy surveys, unnecessary appointments, long waiting times and tedious, paperwork all contribute to this potentially confusing and isolating patient experience. Now, amidst a global health crisis, any barriers or obstacles to care could be detrimental beyond loneliness and could be fatal. These impeding components should not define a patient’s journey. Fair access to quality care, accurate record-keeping, and empathy should be at the core of our healthcare system’s reality.

Pitfalls in today’s system

Entering the healthcare system, whether for a normal office visit or something more intimidating like testing or a surgical procedure, can be overwhelming even for the most health-literate patient. Patients may not know when to turn to their primary care provider, an urgent care center, or the emergency room. They also may not understand why certain tests are being performed, or why a particular post-discharge treatment plan has been given. Additionally, different patients have different care needs. Caring for patients demanding differing levels of care quickly and efficiently has become especially top-of-mind in light of the current, global healthcare crisis. It’s not surprising that providing seamless care and making this care accessible has become even more of a necessity for healthcare providers.

In general, with industry-wide disruption and rampant mergers and acquisitions, health systems are also experiencing costly challenges including facing patient leakage, revenue loss, and misuse of care teams. These concerns have become even more salient as healthcare organizations combat the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, hospitals and health systems are changing the way they operate to avoid a dire strain on resources and low revenues. They are also trying to keep essential staff employed/healthy while serving unique patient populations with complex expectations/needs. With new challenges emerging every day, health systems need to take a critical eye to improve care team efficiencies and tackling operational concerns in order to enhance overall care and patient navigation.

Historically, healthcare is an unenjoyable and confusing experience for most patients. For healthcare systems and hospitals, it’s important to consider how fine-tuning triage can help with improving patient retention, care and simultaneously reducing overhead costs. Subsequently, it’s vital for health systems to acknowledge patient satisfaction upfront. Over triaging a low-risk patient costing emergency departments nearly 12 times as much money as care would cost for said patient in a physician’s office.

Additionally, high-risk patients could wait for adequate care during this time – resulting in feelings of frustration and potentially negative health effects. Offering options for remote/ on-demand care while helping patients...