Sunday, November 4, 2012

How intertwined is patient experience & outcomes?


Or another way of asking that question is, can you have a high quality patient experience and not be transparent regarding outcomes? I believe the two go hand-in-hand and are not separate from each other. Yet, when a healthcare organizations begin the patient experience improvement process, seldom do they consider how outcomes transparency will drive that experience.

Sometimes the patient's first experience with you is through your marketing. Think your new movers welcome program, community direct mailings, facebook, social media, web site, advertisements, press coverage and such. Long before they ever experience a service or encounter an employee, they have already started the experience process.

And outcomes data is usually nowhere to be found. The patient aka healthcare consumer, considers your transparency about outcomes to be part of that experience. The buzz in the media and articles is that there needs to be more outcomes information, beside pricing, so consumers can make informed decisions, or at the very least, be able to participate in the healthcare decision-making process. This establishes a pretty strong expectation on an individual's part that you will provide at some point that data to support the experience claims.

Experience you see is just isn't the hotel services, fast check-in or staff being pleasant and nice. It's about your quality outcomes. If you're not talking about your outcomes, then once again, you are really focused on the patient experience in its totality.

Now this is a scary value proposition for any number of healthcare organizations. Not necessarily for bad outcomes, but from becoming the transparent organization that shares its outcomes data with the patient in the experience process. Healthcare organizations can be secretive places even to their own staffs. So how do you think the patient feels when you talk about the experience yet don't talk about the outcomes?

The patient experience and outcomes are very intertwined. Your challenge is changing the organization and become more global and inclusive by including outcomes in your patient experience process. It is also your challenge to look at patient experience in its totality and not just in the diagnostic or treatment encounter.

Patients are expecting quality experiences and access to outcomes data. Same expectation with employees, payers and the government.

No way around it anymore. Time for healthcare organizations to step up and provide a complete patient experience, not just what they think the experience should be.

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group. 

3 comments:

Rick Harris said...

Hi Michael
I certainly agree with the premise of your blogpost - that outcomes information should be an integral part of the patient experience.
However, healthcare professionals need to balance both population outcomes (e.g. "60 per cent of patients who have had this treatment at this hospital this year have had no recurrence of the disease") vs. individual assessment (e.g. "although this drug has a high success rate of 75%, given your other illnesses, I am less optimistic about its results")

My own research into patient experience of chronic conditions suggest that patients value an understanding of broader non-clinical outcomes and recommendations just as highly. This might include community and at-home care support, tips for dealing with mobility issues, or plugging into a network of other people living successfully with the condition.
This holistic view of the patient journey is less well known to the healthcare comity, as many parts of it go beyond their own direct responsibility. But from a joined-up-healthcare patient perspective, it's what the overall experience is all about.

Rick Harris said...

Hi Michael
I certainly agree with the premise of your blogpost - that outcomes information should be an integral part of the patient experience.
However, healthcare professionals need to balance both population outcomes (e.g. "60 per cent of patients who have had this treatment at this hospital this year have had no recurrence of the disease") vs. individual assessment (e.g. "although this drug has a high success rate of 75%, given your other illnesses, I am less optimistic about its results")

My own research into patient experience of chronic conditions suggest that patients value an understanding of broader non-clinical outcomes and recommendations just as highly. This might include community and at-home care support, tips for dealing with mobility issues, or plugging into a network of other people living successfully with the condition.
This holistic view of the patient journey is less well known to the healthcare comity, as many parts of it go beyond their own direct responsibility. But from a joined-up-healthcare patient perspective, it's what the overall experience is all about.

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