Let citizen experiences drive your decision making
In healthcare, citizen needs, expectations, and priorities can change quickly and with little warning. There’s no better example of this than the way COVID-19 immediately affected how organizations serve their customers and how healthcare providers prioritize patients, with many elective surgeries postponed.
As federal healthcare agencies update their business models and operating procedures in the COVID-19 era, they must continue to be patient-centric. They have to understand how citizens and patients want to interact with government agencies and providers and address concerns throughout the lifecycle of services. With government-mandated stay-at-home restrictions starting to lift and the hiatus on non-emergency surgeries ending, federal agencies that provide services for soldiers, their families, veterans, citizens, and others need to be prepared to meet rapidly evolving needs.
Most agencies and providers won’t be able to resume business as usual once restrictions end. They’ll have to enact best practices for in-office safety, develop a strategy for meeting and to prioritize customer needs, and if they’re delivering care, determine if they have essential products and materials like personal protective equipment.
Federal health services provided by VA and military hospitals will need to be more agile than ever to meet changing healthcare requirements. HHS research facilities will need to be mindful of government mandates that differ by state and business or clinical procedures that may need to be updated as new best practices emerge. This means agencies must have a modern platform that can meet current and future needs, including giving organizations the ability to pivot if focus areas shift quickly.
Meeting citizens in their digital space
In today’s Digital Age, government healthcare recipients expect agencies to interact and communicate with them across their preferred devices, from any location and at any time. It’s no longer enough for agencies to talk about digital strategies or implement digital technologies that offer only partial capabilities. They must deliver modern digital experiences, like appointment scheduling, that provide real-time responses and self-service access to medical information.
Citizens have high expectations for service. They’re used to dealing with private-sector companies that have had digital processes in place for years. Innovative companies combine these processes with data analytics to proactively meet citizens’ needs and solve problems before the customer has to ask.
As a result, citizens expect a similar focus on customer experience from the government, too. They expect agencies that provide healthcare services will keep them up-to-date on procedures they may need, share information that can improve their health and wellness, and maybe even arrange virtual visits with providers.
Agencies are well on their way. For example, in the middle of the pandemic, HHS launched a new home page on March 17. “The new home page will be the beginning of a continuous improvement project that will create a more useful, consistent, faster, simpler, and possibly even a fun digital experience for the American public.” quotes a blog on hhs.com. DHA and VA have similar efforts. They aren’t just doing the bare minimum to meet government mandates, and they want to provide that extra something to engage users and provide a truly positive, perhaps even fun, experience.
Digitalization achieves mandates, improves citizen interactions
Of course, there are still government mandates to be met. The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) has digital requirements for government agencies to deliver better experiences to citizens. In my blog earlier this year, I mention the great workflows that will define our 21st-century digital government and the pillars on which they rely.
ServiceNow’s digital, cloud-based platform allows agencies access to a single solution for these workflows, which enable modern health IT services. Each interaction is consistent, transparent, and relevant across federal healthcare agencies and organizations dealing with health services. It also integrates with other technologies to provide one centralized location for citizens and healthcare information.
The Now Platform can also help agencies stay current with government regulations and best practices relating to COVID-19 and Return to Work procedures, such as contact tracing and employee health screenings. This gives agencies the ability to keep employees safe and compliant with changing regulations and each state’s restrictions.
Keeping up with the times
With so much information and misinformation about COVID-19, effective communication from healthcare service providers is essential. Citizens and their family members probably have questions about how the coronavirus could affect their care, especially if they have a procedure scheduled or need to visit their provider. They need to be able to easily ask questions and access reliable information related to their care.
Communication must be consistent across all digital channels, regardless of the device being used. Those channels must be responsive, high quality, connect to the appropriate service, and enable self-service capabilities.
The information brief “Improve health services through better citizen experiences” explains how transforming digital channels leads to better citizen experiences, which leads to better care. With the right platform, agencies can achieve higher satisfaction and better outcomes with less effort while building a truly digital government.
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