Recently I came across Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail on TV – a movie that I watched repeatedly as a teenager but haven’t seen for years. I started watching as it was getting to my favorite scene, in which the holy book of armaments is consulted on the proper usage of the holy hand grenade. The book advises, “…shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out!”
This got me to thinking about conversations that I’ve been having recently with organizations about portal strategies. Yes, it’s a leap. Stick with me here for a moment.
I think within healthcare, a similar proclamation is needed. “Thou shalt have one portal login on thy website. One shall be the number of portal logins and the number of portal logins shall be one. Two thou shalt not have. Three is right out!”
While attending the HIMSS Annual Meeting last month, there were 254 exhibiting vendors who claim some sort of portal solution. 254! And they did all have…something. And this is where we find that slippery slope.
Call center solution? You can buy a portal for consumers. Scheduling? It has a portal. Billing? Yep, a portal there too. Clinic EMR? Portal. Hospital EMR? Portal. Wayfinding? Portal.
So in an effort to create great online user experiences and build patient loyalty through great self-service tools, we instead end up with an ocean of islands. Sure, some of those little islands are quite nice, but getting from island to island is tough and sometimes finding the island that you’re looking for is nearly impossible. Just rolling out all of those little islands of personalization is clearly the easy road, but ultimately counterproductive.
Personalized experiences are inherently patient-centric. We need to let patients step through a single virtual door and allow the resources that they need come to them, not the other way around. The expectation is set by the best sites out there – do you need a new login to Amazon.com if you want to buy furniture? No. The same login that you used to buy books gets you what you need. What do furniture and books have in common? Amazon.com is what they have in common and they take responsibility for the consumer experience.
Regardless of how you’re going to get there, start with a rule – “Thou shalt have one portal login on thy website.”
And good luck with the rabbits*.
* If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can watch the classic scene on YouTube or read the transcript. If you’ve never seen it before – go with the video.