An online patient portal for people in need of medical help abroad

Imagine you are on a holiday with your loved ones and all of a sudden an accident happens. You are in need of medical help in this foreign country, a highly stressful and emotional situation in an unfamiliar environment. So what do you do? The answer is: You call Eurocross. Every year, Eurocross offers assistance to over 40.000 Dutch patients with medical issues abroad. They assess their medical situation, arrange the payment of their treatment and even transport them back home when needed.

Optimizing an A+ customer experience

So far so good, right? With an NPS most companies will be jealous of, Eurocross already delivers an excellent customer experience to its patients. So why did Eurocross contact us for a project? Well, the problem is that their entire service takes place over the phone. This causes multiple problems, the biggest of which are unnecessary phone calls. Eurocross noticed that they spent a lot of time updating their patients about all sorts of things through a phone call. They were busy simply relaying information, while they would rather focus on what lies at the heart of their company. Arranging everything needed to help patients abroad, while offering them reassurance and a listening ear.

Empathizing with ex-patients

So how do you improve a service that is already highly valued by its users? Well, first of all, you have to listen to them to figure out what you can do. So we started off with in-depth interviews with people who dealt with a medical emergency while abroad in the last six months. The insights were transformed into a customer journey map, including the most important pains, gains and activities. 

The main problem voiced by patients was that they were experiencing communication overload due to the sheer amount of phone calls with different parties. Furthermore, a lack of transparency and overview caused patients to feel insecure. The vast majority of patients never needed medical help abroad before and therefore didn’t know what to expect. Eurocross does a good job in offering them reassurance in the first place. However, since communication takes place over the phone it’s easy for patients to lose track of the process. Understandably, this leads to insecurity, confusion and ultimately even more phone calls.

These key insights were the starting point of the design of a digital patient portal aimed at supporting the service provided by Eurocross.

The design of a digital patient portal

We created a digital application that helps patients to stay up to date about the progress of their casefile at Eurocross. The application aims to make the process more transparent and less confusing by creating a single source of truth. Furthermore, it serves to decrease the number of unnecessary phone calls and mitigate the communication overload experienced by patients.

A single source of truth

Assistance coördinators from Eurocross can send messages to the digital casefile of patients. This way, the communication between Eurocross and the patient is logged, creating a single source of truth. Moreover, patients can be asked to send certain information using specific message templates. Patients can for example communicate the date they were discharged from the hospital, saving them a pointless phone call.

A digital yet personal experience

Throughout the design of the platform, the need for personal contact with Eurocross has been taken into account. One of the key requirements was that phone calls should never be discouraged by the application. Therefore, contact information for Eurocross is always within reach of the user. Furthermore, the message templates are editable, allowing assistance coördinators to add a personal touch to the messages they send.

Complete transparency

We increased the transparency of the medical casefile by displaying the actions Eurocross is currently undertaking and the ones they have already fulfilled. The information is triggered automatically by certain actions conducted by assistance coördinators in the back-end system of Eurocross. By doing so, patients always know what is going on in the background while assistance coördinators don’t have to spend extra time updating them.

An optimal experience for every device

Throughout the design process, all types of devices have been taken into account to ensure an optimal experience for every user. Therefore, the patient portal is developed as a progressive web app by our development partner 7Lab.

Measuring impact

After several months of development, the digital patient portal was released at the beginning of 2021. The launch was postponed several times because people were not allowed to travel due to Covid-restrictions. The impact of the tool is measured using various methods, like Google Analytics and customer satisfaction surveys. The goal is to continuously keep improving the tool with use of this feedback loop. Therefore, further development of the patient portal is planned to take place later this year.