I live in a densely populated and incredibly diverse neighborhood, deliberately designed with sidewalks and front porches. It’s autumn in the US, so we are transitioning from flowers and comfy, colorful seating by the front door to harvest, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza décor to welcome visitors and brighten the streets.
Yet some of our nearby front doors are barren, and uninviting – maybe the residents are just busy. But the message they send is, at the least, “I’m not interested in chatting with you.” At worst, they say “go away.”
Which makes me think – what message is your digital front door sending, and to whom?
The digital front door concept is a hot topic in healthcare circles these days, spurred on by consumerism and the need for a better end-to-end patient and member experience. As traditional healthcare providers are challenged by big box, big tech, and retail market entrants on the one hand, and digital health startups on the other, the digital front door tends to manifest itself in features like virtual care and communications, integrated scheduling and bill-paying, and in products like CRM, remote monitoring, and wayfinding, etc. Less obvious are the data underpinnings – things like having an up-to-date provider directory, a reliable master patient identifier, and all the information about a patient available in one place, to everyone who needs to interact with that patient.
Having a terrific looking digital front door without the proper data infrastructure is a little like have a front porch with holes in the floorboards – the net result is not a great welcome!
Similarly, it isn’t enough just to welcome consumers through your digital front door. In a world where caregivers are battling burnout, and many clinicians practice in more than one locale, the digital front door needs to be equally welcoming to clinical team members. That includes providing a great user experience, providing relevant decision support, and making it easy to find everything about a patient in one system, even when care has been delivered and documented in many others.
Finally, that digital front door needs to be welcoming to long-time and prospective business partners. The more of those partners there are, the more important it is that a single data platform can bring together all the relevant information to manage and measure care, payment, and experience.
Does your digital front door say “Welcome! Come on in – we are glad to see you!” or “Here be dragons?”