Sunday, September 22, 2013

Can patient experience and satisfaction drive healthcare marketing?

Patient experience and satisfaction is no longer a nice too have, but a got to have in the evolving consumer-centric healthcare market place.  Consumers are paying more out of pocket and when consumers pay more they expect more.  A better healthcare consumer and patient experience in the end means a more compliant patient pre and post treatment.  Higher level of service and medical process satisfaction brings the healthcare consumer back in a sea of providers who all offer the sameness. 

It is one of the primary drivers for a reason to return. And when all things are equal and undifferentiated, experience and satisfaction become a major determination of return and for their recommendations of you.

Difficult to achieve and tough to competitively beat once you have it, experience and satisfaction with your medical products, clinical services and processes regardless of the vertical, be it specialty pharmacy, medical device,  pharma, hospitals, doctors etc., will drive revenue.  Revenue from the standpoint of Pay-for-Performance (P4P) programs and volume from healthcare consumers aka patients, selecting you in a very commoditized and provider undifferentiated healthcare market place is at stake.

Not everyone will be in an ACO or risk-sharing agreements.  Some will choose narrow networks to save a buck on premium. Fee-for-service will still be around for awhile.  The opening of public insurance exchanges in October, 2013, Medicaid expansion in some states and the now becoming ever more popular the private insurance exchange where companies are moving to defined contribution (see Walgreens, Sears and others in recent times), means that you have a direct to consumer opportunity along very different dimensions then in the past.

The healthcare consumer of today will view your services as: value= f(cost, quality, satisfaction) as compared to the near past where value= f(cost, quality). Value as described by the healthcare consumer here is the result of the function of cost, quality and satisfaction with you.

Why is it important:
  • High levels of experience and satisfaction are a powerful differentiator in your market.
  • Done correctly, your experience improvement and satisfaction program becomes the ongoing Voice of the Customer (VoC) program to drive real organizational change.
  •  It is a strategic and tactical edge for your brand and your marketing communication efforts. 
  • Think customer evangelization.
  • Think of the power of a high-quality experience and exemplary satisfaction and what that can do for your organization. Think of what it can do in your effort to differentiate.
The choice is yours.  Make it before others make it for you.

Michael J. Krivich, MHA, FACHE, PCM, is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views read in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. These views are my own. He is founder of the michael J group, a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.  Like us on  facebook at the michael J group, and connect with me on LinkedIn and  Twitter.

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