Sunday, October 20, 2013

Does your patient experience fail the test?

True story.  "Well, you can always bring her back to the hospital if she still has trouble breathing", said the home health care nurse sent from the hospital less than 2 hours after a patient had been discharged.  Oh, and did I tell you that her eye was infected, almost fell going to the bathroom in the hospital and informed the nurse, had slurred speech and could barley ambulate?  That patient had been cleared by all to be discharged from the hospital.

And then the family hears or sees an ad about all the wonderful quality care awards from third parties that they receive, and how many lives would be saved if everyone was as good as them.
What do you think the now healthcare consumer, formally the patient thought?

Countless times every day, the patient experience goes fails the test.  Big things and small things alike that take place in the healthcare encounter all add up to one patient experience, good or bad. 
When healthcare executives are surveyed, the majority say that customer/patient experience management is a critical business success factor along with patient safety and cost reduction.  But at the same time, the majority of healthcare CEOs admit that they really don't know where to start on successfully managing the experience.

Experience management is about changing the way you interact with the individual or family from start to finish.  Not just managing the experience at isolated points along the care continuum. It's not about just focusing on service recovery like something was wrong with a hotel stay.  Managing the experience requires a complete understanding of what the patients expectations are, not yours. Experience management is culturally and organizationally uncomfortable. And that is because it's not about you anymore.

So when the patient experience fails, your reputation, your brand and your future in a risk or value-based payment environment fails as well. And then there are those readmissions penalties you face when a patient like this comes back in less than 30 days.

You should see what's being said on facebook and in social media circles from others that chime about how bad their experience was at that particular hospital. Do you still think social media is nothing more than a billboard?

Yep, the chuckle factor is really high when those quality award ads are heard and seen.  Pay attention to the patient experience, and pay attention to the marketing. They are not separated, but closely related.

The newly insured healthcare consumer is paying close attention now. It costing them money, they have too.

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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