Technology-enabled listening strategies: A key to delivering compassionate, personalized care for all

By Marie Judd, National VP Patient, Family, and Care Team Experience, Ascension

Central to who we are and how we serve at Ascension is our ability to listen and fully understand what matters most to our patients, care teams, and communities so we may deliver compassionate, personalized care for all.

As technology and consumer expectations evolve, listening for meaningful connections and targeted actions remains paramount. Mobile solutions that collect real-time feedback and platforms to automatically integrate the disparate voice of the customer (VOC) data with improved artificial intelligence and natural language processing all contribute to more effective and efficient listening strategies – helping us better serve our communities.

We must improve how we listen in real-time and learn from feedback for the consumer-facing needs such as choosing a provider, scheduling an appointment, finding a location and/or understanding a bill.

Across our national health system, we operate more than 2,600 sites of care – including 145 hospitals and more than 40 senior living facilities – in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Therefore, improved technology enabled listening strategies, for both large scale insights and targeted, person-specific expectations, allow us to better: 

  • deliver an experience that is more seamless, reducing friction and pain points throughout various parts of the consumer journey
  • know the person we are serving, as a unique individual, for holistic and personalized care
  • serve our communities more inclusively by proactively addressing social determinants of health, language barriers, and other access concerns
  • integrate qualitative and quantitative feedback for actionable insights
  • identify and scale wins and best practices for faster cycles of improvement
  • address gaps and opportunities in both leading and lagging measures
  • pivot and remain flexible in addressing what is working and what is not through the eyes of those we serve and
  • tailor experiences based on what matters most to those we serve

As we expand technology-enabled listening strategies, including mobile and virtual solutions to intake point of care/point of service feedback, we transition from primarily reactive, lagging measures via post-clinical encounter surveys (like CAHPS) to more proactive and leading indicators.

This broad approach to real-time feedback combined with more traditional outcome measures allows for faster insights and targeted actions. We also know that by only listening for feedback on clinical care, we miss a tremendous amount of key insights to understand how our consumers review and choose our system and providers. We must improve how we listen in real-time and learn from feedback for the consumer-facing needs such as choosing a provider, scheduling an appointment, finding a location and/or understanding a bill. We also must consider matching our listening strategies with evolving ways of delivering care, including virtual, home, senior living, etc. By more comprehensively listening to feedback from across the entire journey, we can better understand, anticipate and exceed expectations. 

While the point of care/point of service feedback is essential, we also stay acutely mindful of the care team and provider workflow in collecting patient and consumer feedback. Addressing the user experience needs for those associates and providers at the point of care/point of service also ensures we contribute to workforce engagement, reduction of non-value-added processes, and streamlined workflow.  

Likewise, our listening strategies and front-end intake platforms are only as good as the insights we derive on the backend to drive targeted action at both a macro and micro level. Gone are the days when the disparate voice of the customer (VOC) feedback, living in various places and spaces is effective, efficient, or meaningful. Manual aggregation and analysis from various survey vendors, platforms, and VOC modalities has historically been an industry-wide barrier to more effectively and efficiently understanding and subsequently using key VOC insights, especially at a large scale. Moving to integrated platforms that aggregate feedback – qualitative and quantitative –  allows us to better understand our consumers and better serve our communities.  

The use of technology with improved Voice of the Customer data analytics allows us to dig more deeply into the patient, family, and consumer sentiment to better tailor experiences that are more seamless, inclusive, and flexible to their needs. We continue on our journey to drive technology-enabled listening strategies that provide meaningful and real-time insights in a way that makes it easier to complete intake, analysis, and understanding of what our patients and consumers are telling us. Through improved artificial intelligence and natural language processing for our qualitative feedback, we can more effectively understand consumer sentiment and overlay that with quantitative data –  highlighting wins to spread while pin-pointing experience gaps and opportunities.

Taking a both/and approach to understanding consumer sentiment broadly and truly understanding our patients’ needs as unique persons requires more sophisticated technology for both intake and analysis of feedback. As we continue to gather feedback from our consumers, using technology with aligned platforms for both the intake and analysis processes of our Voice of the Consumer listening strategies remains critical to more effectively and comprehensively understanding how to best deliver on our promise of compassionate, personalized care for all.


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