Patient Experience: Not understanding UX and UI is killing Patient Experience

UI and UX seem to be two terms that have yet to make their way into healthcare. One way I like to think of the application of design thinking in hospitals is to compare the hospital’s lobby to its website.

Millions were spent to make the lobby user friendly, to create a remarkable first impression.  There is a receptionist and maybe a sign or two pointing to the ER or the Lab.

The website is a different matter–as is the call center.  The website’s homepage offers the ‘kitchen-sink’ to visitors, patients and prospective patients. Dozens of links, Flash, every phone number you may ever need.  Users can learn about the board and make a donation. They can do everything except find the link they wanted. 

Ninety-nine percent of visitors are either patients, people trying to decide if they are going to seek a second opinion–from some hospital other than yours, or prospective patients trying to make a healthcare purchase decision. The average person spends seven seconds on a web page looking for what they want.

What that tells me is the average person is leaving the average hospital’s website unsatisfied and with a poor experience. Why is nobody interested in improving that experience?

An Open Letter to Hospital Executives

To whom it may concern,

I am passionate about improving the experience patients and prospective patients have with hospitals, from prior to be admitted and through post-discharge interactions.  HCAHPs only address a fraction of an individual’s experience, and surveying what happened months ago will not help retain or refer patients. The same are true regarding hiring coaches and purchasing patient satisfaction data.

I have improved customer experience and customer interactions for firms who have a combined customer base of more than two hundred million.  More people probable visit the hospital each day via the web and by phone than walk through its doors, yet the satisfaction of those interactions is unknown. This becomes even more important as the business model moves from heads in beds to population health. 

Below are links two documents for your consideration. One looks at defining a global patient experience strategy for the organization, the second lists twenty-seven questions about patient satisfaction left unasked.

Please let me know if we may meet or schedule a call.


Paul Roemer

Chief Patient Experience Officer