Northwell Health, a network of 21 hospitals in based in New York, recently shared how the healthcare system is making a move toward providing omnichannel care. As reported in Internet Health Management, Northwell Health is developing a portal that will give patients telehealth services ranging from management of personal records to physician booking. Internet Health Management describes the portal as providing “omnichannel care” because the healthcare system is combining the offline experience (going to a hospital) with online (using the portal).

Our take: the article demonstrates how much progress healthcare systems need to make in order to become omnichannel. Being omnichannel means that a business provides a connected experience across the entire consumer journey, from awareness to becoming a customer. Doing so requires delivering the right content in the right touchpoint, ranging from mobile to social.

Leading-edge retailers have built omnichannel experiences that have influenced patient expectations of healthcare providers. As discussed The Healthcare Guide to Omnichannel Discovery, recently published by SIM Partners, patients live in a world where they can reasonably expect to order a shirt from and pick up the product in store, with the sales clerk having knowledge not only of the transaction but also of the customer’s purchase history. That expectation transfers to healthcare.

Patients expect healthcare systems to travel across devices and channels with them. They want accurate and complete information about physicians, their specialties, and insurance covered, and essential data such as hours of operation whether they’re visiting a healthcare system’s website, researching a ratings/reviews site, or calling a physician’s office. They want to book an appointment online and offline through any device or channel. When patients arrive at the physician’s office, they expect the physician to possess complete knowledge not only of the appointment details but also of the patient’s history.

A patient portal like the one being developed by Northwell Health is technically not a completely omnichannel experience, but it is an important building block. And kudos to Northwell Health. You don’t create an omnichannel experience by waving a magic wand. You build one piece by piece, by harnessing data, content, and experiences across multiple devices and channels. Healthcare systems like Northwell Health are building an omnichannel future.

Contact SIM Partners to discuss how we can help you develop an omnichannel patient access and experience strategy.

Brian Westrick

Author Brian Westrick

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