“Not a lot of people like going to the doctor. Not a lot of people like going to the hospital for a procedure, even when COVID wasn’t a concern. It’s a neutral experience at best. If we can make the experience better by interacting with people as individuals — and avoiding one-size-fits-all strategies — we can treat our patients with the dignity we believe they deserve.” — Ken Kellogg, Vice President, Brand and Digital Experience.
It’s a hectic time to be in healthcare. The first worldwide pandemic in recent memory has put extra pressure on every medical establishment. COVID-19 is all over the news. Part of every conversation. And changing the way people live, work, and interact. At the center of the crisis are hospitals, our most precious resource for treating coronavirus patients.
To say that hospitals are under a microscope right now would be an understatement.
But there’s another factor adding tumult to the situation. The relationship between healthcare organizations and patients is changing. As a result of the global trend towards digital transformation, consumers are holding all types of organizations to new standards. Like having a customer-friendly website that parallels the retail experience, complete with relevant content, intuitive navigation, easy-to-service, and capabilities like Online scheduling and purchasing. The extra-high expectations that were once only associated with the retail and hospitality industries now seem to apply across the board, from government to manufacturing to healthcare. Between the pandemic and the consumerization of healthcare, hospitals have had to undergo a lot of change in a relatively short period of time.
Mercy Health, however, was already ahead of the personalization and consumerization trend. Established as a ministry of the Catholic church in 1827, Mercy has always centered itself around treating patients as unique individuals made in the image of God, which has acted as the foundation of their high-caliber patient experiences for the past century-and-a-half. “The principle of treating people with dignity — that is, as individuals — that's been in Mercy’s DNA since long before I started serving here,” said Ken Kellogg, Mercy’s vice president of brand and digital experience. For Mercy, providing highly personal experiences isn’t just another business tactic. It’s part of their core identity.
Since 2016, Kellogg has worked to bring Mercy’s values to life in the digital realm. With a history of leading the digital transformations for some of the world’s biggest brands, he came to Mercy with all the necessary tools to elevate their digital experience. But the pandemic required something more of Kellogg and team — to move faster than they’d ever moved before, all while staying true to their values.
Better experiences lead to better health
“Healthcare is full of friction. It’s full of trap doors. It’s full of waiting on hold and then getting redirected ten minutes later. We want to get rid of that,” said Kellogg.
When Kellogg first joined Mercy, the healthcare industry’s bar for digital experiences was not set very high. Although Mercy’s in-person experiences were rooted in dignity and individual care, their values hadn’t yet been translated into their web experience. Like many healthcare organizations at the time, Mercy had a website that covered the basics, like searching for a provider and offering up contact information. But they were missing the functionalities they needed to put their online experiences on par with their in-person ones.
“We had no way to analyze, track, or convert anything,” Kellogg reminisced.
Mercy’s team of digital marketers were well aware of the friction that most patients experience with their healthcare providers, especially online. In other industries like retail and hospitality, consumers had become used to website features like online appointment booking, bill paying, and live chats. But even just a few years ago, these conveniences were few and far between in the healthcare industry. Mercy saw this as a major opportunity to put their values into practice — and differentiate themselves from other organizations. As Kellogg said, “We wanted to build and deliver a healthcare experience that was on par with the retail and travel experience.”
So the organization set a goal for themselves — to build a measurable, ubiquitous, one-to-one experience across their digital presence, emerging channels, and the physical space. With Kellogg’s research-driven approach and dedication to digital transformation, Mercy was in good hands. Together with his team, he sought a solution that would help them build next-level personal experiences.