If you’ve ever spent any time on a river — particularly a river where there is a rapid current or white water — you have likely witnessed an eddy. An eddy is a circular movement of water, counter to a main current, causing a small whirlpool. It looks something like this:

A river eddy occurs when there is an object interrupting the main current or water flow. This could be a large boulder or a downed tree. The water that enters an eddy cycles in a circular motion and smaller objects can get stuck inside the ever-spinning whirlpool.

In our work, we at AuthentiCx have been observing a similar phenomenon experienced by many patients in their interactions with companies and their brands. This negative patient experience occurs when the ideal patient journey flow is obstructed due to a barrier, such as insurance coverage limitations, numerous approval hoops or poor service. In these situations, patients are not able to obtain the care they need, creating a cycle effect of trying to resolve the barrier.

At AuthentiCx, we call this “The Eddy Effect.” And it is very, very common.

How Common is the Eddy Effect for Patients?

Have you ever been prescribed a treatment or prescription that wasn’t covered by your insurance? Or, perhaps, you’ve been told by a front office administration to “check back tomorrow” for your test results?  Or maybe you have attempted to set up your online patient account but weren’t able to get access to the documents you needed, so you had to call in to ask again for the records?

These are all examples of being caught in the Eddy Effect.

At AuthentiCx, this is often one of the first, and biggest, problems we tackle with our clients. Almost every company we’ve worked with has a few eddies, and some have a lot. We’ve seen it be responsible for as much as 40% of inbound customer contacts. That means that these eddies are a huge driver of bad customer interactions.

If you haven’t explored the depths of your own patient interaction data to uncover potential eddies, try the following first 2 steps:

  • Identify the average number of non-new appointment related inbound contacts per patient and the average length of time in between contacts from the same patient.
  • Perform listening and analysis to understand the patients’ reasons for these contacts. Explore beyond the system’s standard call reason code reports. You need to truly uncover the root cause, from the patient’s perspective.

From here, you can begin to formulate themes and diagnose what is causing your eddies: ineffective patient hand-off processes, gaps in coordination, technology errors, etc.

Why Does the Eddy Effect Matter?

Preventing eddies in your patient experience is worthy work, and not only because it immensely improves your patients’ impressions of your brand. The effort also tackles drains on your company’s profitability. After all, correcting them impacts your team’s time, effort and energy. If eddy-related inbound contacts comprise as much as 40% of your inbound traffic, imagine what fixing them could do for your budget.

Worried you have eddies, but don’t have the infrastructure to discover them? Let AuthentiCx help. We’re experts in finding the insights hiding among your patient interactions.

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