Complex Made Simple

Digitalising healthcare for a stronger patient experience

Consumers across the GCC expect more from healthcare providers than just meeting their basic physical needs; 69 per cent of respondents in the EY Report ‘What is the cure for a better patient experience in the GCC?’ believe that digital and mobile healthcare is the future; with 78 per cent eager to use new health technologies to empower themselves in making health decisions. A further 83 per cent of respondents believe there should be a greater investment in healthcare technology.

The patient experience is comprised of the various interactions that patients have with a healthcare system and is a critical component of overall healthcare quality. A positive patient experience focuses on the whole delivery of an interaction, from booking timely appointments to having their medical history easily accessible to healthcare staff across clinics.

However, according to EY report findings, 85 per cent of respondents feel that not enough is being done to improve patient experience. Furthermore, 38 per cent of those surveyed have trust in their local healthcare system and most patients reported they would opt to get care for serious conditions outside the GCC region.

From regulatory bodies to providers, many healthcare organizations in the GCC region lack a mature patient experience management function despite 82 per cent of healthcare professionals indicating that patient experience is a priority in their organization. In the same survey, 51 per cent of the healthcare professionals rate overall healthcare quality as inconsistent.

Andrea Longhi, EY MENA Healthcare Advisory Services Leader, says: “Inconsistent quality of care has been a uniform challenge across the GCC. Establishing a patient experience management function will help improve accessibility to patients, quality of service, consistency and affinity. It will help patients appreciate the value of what they are paying for, improve loyalty and medical outcomes as healthcare providers recognize the importance of going beyond exemplary medical care to engage with patients.”

The absence of a comprehensive patient experience management function also leaves patients frustrated when clinical staff have no prior knowledge of their medical history, which is linked to a slower resolution time and inconsistent diagnosis. Limited engagement with clinical staff and the lack of consistency has only 40 per cent of respondents believing that they were being adequately informed about their health. Furthermore, only 34 per cent of patients are relying on their physician for healthcare information above any other source.

Mohammad Sear, Executive Director, Advisory, EY, says: “Patient centricity is the key to sustainably delivering better experiences. To achieve this, stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem must make patient experience a top priority at all times.

Healthcare needs to go digital

With the digital revolution, patients are becoming more aware, expectations are rising and demand to be involved in every step of the treatment is increasing.

Dr. Fadi Al-Buhairan, EY MENA Digital Healthcare Leader, says: Although advances in the digital space are being made at a national level in some countries, data is currently collected, owned, and managed by different healthcare provider functions, resulting in a lack of consistent information. In addition, methods of public reporting of quality, patient satisfaction data, and other indicators of patient experience are not standardized, creating a gray area for regulatory authorities to redesign the health delivery system and improve patient experience. Potential solutions for the GCC healthcare system include the digitization of electronic medical records, mobile applications, remote patient monitoring, and the automation of medical centers.”