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3 key takeaways from Forrester’s 2021 report on data and CX optimization in healthcare

August 13, 2021
Reading time: 
5 minutes
Daniel Boltinsky
Daniel Boltinsky
Kameleoon, Managing Editor, North America

While healthcare organizations (HCO) collect mountains of data, most fail to fully translate it into better digital experiences for their users.

That's what research firm Forrester found in their report, Data Apprehension Stifles Patient Experience Optimization.

Surveying 107 healthcare managers and directors, the research shows why so many HCOs fail to progressively improve patient experience on their digital apps and platforms.

Only 36% of companies view their data and optimization strategy as "very mature," despite 85% expecting "digital customer experience to be important or critical for the business in the near future."

Are HCOs afraid of change? Of regulations? Are they slower to implement data technology than other industries?

The answer is surprising.

HCOs report obstacles across the board—from legal risk to poor data standards to an overflow of information—which are all exacerbated by a general misunderstanding about how to work with large quantities of data.

However, the report makes clear that some HCOs are well-positioned to pull ahead.

"In a world where empowered, self-educating healthcare customers turn to digital touchpoints first, the quality and CX of HCOs' digital interactions become all-important," said the report.

"Currently, digital-first HCOs are winning the race to improve CX over traditional HCOs."

Here are the top 3 key takeaways that HCOs need to know about the state of customer experience optimization in their industry.

1 Only 31% of HCOs run A/B tests all the time

Testing controls against variables in controlled experiments is the foundation for gaining meaningful patient insights. A/B tests are the most basic level of customer experience optimization, and HCOs who do not run A/B tests all the time are falling behind those that do.

This painful stat ties into another finding:

Most surveyed managers responsible for marketing and customer experience at healthcare organizations do not describe their organization's approach to analytics as very mature.

"About one in seven leaders said their organization's [data] strategy is either immature or nonexistent," said the report.

Clearly, HCOs have too much data they do not know how to use. Advanced methods like omni-feature optimization, algorithmic personalization, and multivariate testing are the kinds of tactics that leverage vast amounts of information at scale.

But, HCOs must first crawl before they can run, and A/B testing is the first order of business they can fully apply their data.

2 A third of HCOs don’t act on their insights

While most marketing and CX managers collect CX data on 70% or more of their digital interactions, only 67% say they act on it.

I.e., about 1 out of 3 HCOs either don't know how to process insights or don't have the proper optimization tools to apply them.

"Becoming a CX organization is more than ticking the A/B testing box," said [x]. "HCOs need to develop a larger experimentation culture to leverage the enormous amounts of data they have. That's going to be the difference-maker from now on."

Clearly, the amount of data outweighs the manpower available to handle it effectively, and the report supports that HCOs are not investing enough into customer optimization across their companies. Only 41% of respondents said they have a data governance program that involves defining, executing, training, and overseeing compliance.

"This indicates that there's a bright opportunity for many teams," said Forrester.

3 HCOs that discover and apply customer insights are 5x more likely to grow revenue

Forrester reiterated their previous findings that organizations with advanced abilities to develop and apply customer insights are five times more likely to grow revenue at more than 20% year-over-year.

HCOs are in a unique position where they collect enough data to optimize their customers' experience considerably. Yet, they also exist in an industry that is lagging in its optimization practices.

For the 22% of HCOs that continue to believe that even first-party data is risky or extremely risky, the future looks troubling. Healthcare leaders use HIPAA-compliant tools and conduct advanced testing using various kinds of data aggressively—they're the ones set to grow by being experimentation-led organizations.

Download Forrester's report on data and CX optimization for healthcare in 2021 to see how your HCO can grow with A/B testing:

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Daniel Boltinsky
Daniel Boltinsky
Kameleoon, Managing Editor, North America