Partner PerspectivesAs the COVID pandemic continues to impact today’s economy, one thing is clear — digital experiences and the relationships they foster are the key to success. But when it comes to the healthcare industry, companies are faced with a unique set of challenges that can make it difficult for firms to deliver a seamless digital experience across every touchpoint.



Companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%.
"50 Stats that Prove the Value of Customer Experience" Forbes, September 24, 2019


During a recent "Better healthcare experiences" webinar, Dave Michela, VP of Digital Solutions at Horizontal and a Sitecore Digital Strategy MVP, shared a negative customer experience he had with a healthcare provider. Dave went on to discuss why these common pain points exist and how companies can harness the Sitecore Experience Platform to solve them.

According to Dave, a key culprit causing disjointed customer experiences in the healthcare industry are third-party portals. To comply with HIPAA regulations and efficiently move sensitive data, companies will often outsource their portal experiences. And while these third-party systems are effective behind the scenes, they don’t deliver a seamless front-end interaction. As a result, there’s little connection between the data that powers engagements — and the public-facing web experience often looks and feels completely different from the logged-in member portal and app experience.

Here are some key takeaways from the webinar on how healthcare companies can shift to an experience-forward approach:

Understanding the customer journey and friction points

The healthcare consumer journey can be simplified into three major stages: explore care, access care, and pay for care. During the initial “explore care” stage, members and patients shop and compare plans, locate their nearest provider, and review educational resources. In the “access care” step, consumers enroll in a plan, schedule appointments, and use telehealth services. In the third “pay for care” step, members and patients check claims, pay bills, and review their explanation of benefits.

From a marketing and IT perspective, the “explore care” stage typically entails several technology tools: an experience engine, CMS, analytics, locations database, CRM, authentication, and more. Consumers interact with these platforms prior to logging in — they browse the public website and read emails as they pick a plan and register for it.

However, once consumers create their account and login to the portal, they encounter an entirely new experience across enrollment, appointment scheduling, and bill payment. In many cases, the different stages of the consumer lifecycle are owned by different teams who work in siloes and don’t communicate to each other — leading to disconnected data and customer experiences that are tedious at best, impossible to navigate at worst. Oftentimes, the consumer will give up and dial their provider’s call center instead.

Leveraging Sitecore to power the end-to-end journey

With Sitecore Experience Platform, healthcare companies can power and personalize the entire user experience across all three customer journey stages. This platform makes it easy to provide a consistent look and feel on the front-end, which reduces confusion and empowers consumers to accomplish their tasks online.

On the back-end, Sitecore’s headless technology enables marketers and technologists to sync their corporate site with their Medicare portal, broker portal, member portal, and mobile app.

Personalized experiences benefits users and healthcare firms

When companies take back control of their healthcare experience, they can start anticipating what happens before and after a user logs into a screen as if they were milestones along a journey instead of disconnected interactions that happen within a vacuum.

Organizations are more empowered to create personalized experiences that meet their patients’ needs by tracking their user progress to see where they’re getting stuck and where they’re getting the most value. Ultimately, they learn about the user as a living and breathing healthcare consumer rather than a collection of disconnected data points swimming around in siloed systems.

Reducing reliance on call centers

When members and patients can perform tasks quickly and easily via website, portals, and app, healthcare providers can rely less on their call centers. This enables companies to optimize their costs for best-of-breed resources.

At Horizontal, we have a healthcare client who transformed their digital experience and enjoyed a 300% uptick in portal engagement after launch. This means users went online to schedule appointments, ask questions, and pay their bills instead of relying on over-the-phone interactions to accomplish those tasks.

Thriving in a post-COVID world

Now, more than ever, digital experiences and the relationships they create are critical. The ultimate goal is to take the stress out of these interactions and use them as the foundation for productive, lifetime relationships.

To learn more, watch an on-demand recording of the "Better healthcare experiences" webinar.

Horizontal Digital is a Platinum Sitecore Solutions Partner. Learn more about Horizontal Digital