How do we know whether or not a new technology will actually improve our healthcare experience?

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

The Healthcare Leadership Chat on Tuesdays on Twitter is one of my favorite Twitter chats. On May 23, 2017, the topic covers technology in healthcare. That’s like three important and favorite topics of mine in one: Twitter (social media), technology and also customer/patient experience. I’ll try to participate live – as always – but also wanted to address one of the chat’s four questions more in-depth here for you.

To participate in the chat follow the HCLDR handle here and the #hcldr hashtag here.

My tips on how to participate in a Twitter chat go here.

One of the questions is: 

How could healthcare leaders better determine if a technology will actually improve patient experience?

This question – in healthcare and in customer service in general – really comes back to the main things that we should ask ourselves in all digital marketing, digital transformation or organizational storytelling projects:

  • How is whatever we are doing helping our customers or patients?
  • How do we know there are problems that need to be fixed?
  • How do we know the solution will work OR are we willing to experiment?

In my organizational storytelling projects on the content marketing side, we should always ask ourselves similar questions before publishing content. We shouldn’t overthink things by being deliberate but there’s a difference between publishing a blog post or a few tweets that didn’t go viral and developing a new technology that gets rolled out system-wide. It does all come back to: How does this help our audience/patient/customer?

Content creation takes time and costs money, but developing technological tools usually ends up being a bit more expensive. I remember when I first was developing apps and actually helped United Way create and launch its first volunteer app.

The app – which is still available in the app store years after I left United Way, aimed to make geo-location based volunteering easier. Some people wanted to volunteer, but close to their home or place of work. The app made that easier for them.

Things to think about before creating new technology solutions

To determine whether or not a new technology solutions actually will make customer or patient experience better, consider these steps:

  • What are their current and and perceived pain points in a process?
  • What adds unnecessary pain points to the process?
  • What are people complaining about in reviews?
  • What are people complaining about to staff?

To solve patient problems, we need to actually talk to them and listen to them. From there we can determine how some new technology can actually help them have a better patient experience and also if it’s worth it. Some technology solutions cost so much they don’t pay for themselves.

Two other things to consider:

  • Patient experience is highly subjective. My good patient experience might not be acceptable by you or vice versa. Not a healthcare example, but I was complaining to my mother about how inconvenient a service is. Her response was that that’s just how it is and that it may even be improved from 30 years ago.
  • Will people actually use the technology?

Technology seems to come and go. Some of it takes off. Some of it comes out with a big bang and then disappears. Remember Google Glass? That’s a picture of me wearing them in 2014. That lasted about 24 seconds.


Three years ago I tried Google Glass. That lasted about 21 seconds. Throwback Sunday. #technology

A post shared by Christoph Trappe (@christophtrappe) on

Google Glass were used by some physicians and they had potential. But they just didn’t take off for a number of reasons and then Google discontinued the project. Certainly, something like it likely will emerge at some point, but new technology takes off when:

  • it solves an actual problem that is also perceived
  • it’s easy to use
  • the value is clear

Healthcare leaders could simply empower front-line staff to document pain points and then report them back. For example, how is this process efficient and a good experience:

Patient enters office and is asked to fill out by hand three pages of forms. The office team then takes those forms and types them into the computer. Given that i have terrible handwriting, they will likely ask me what one thing or another says. You know, so they can type it into the system.

Why can’t I fill it out online OR better yet auto-populate my profile from pre-saved information. Think when people apply for jobs and simply do that by adding their LinkedIn profile. Easy breezy.

It’s so simple in theory, but the implementation is harder and takes longer. And of course there are always improvements and new players in the field for anything. Somebody might come out with technology that is slightly better than what you currently have OR have started implementing.

Ultimately, the only way to have a chance to improve the patient (or customer) experience through technology is by listening to and watching the current patient experience and using those observations to fix things that could be improved through technology.

Book time with me here if you need help with documenting your current patient experience stories and to look for ways to improve the patient experience.