Saturday, November 15, 2014

Is patient experience management more than a single touch point focus?

Customer Experience Management (CEM) first appeared  13 years ago in an article published by the Harvard Business Review authored by Pine and Gilmore. The concept proposes that by managing the entirety of the customer experience from first contact to purchase or use, that  you can move a customer from satisfied to loyal, and then from loyal to brand advocate by actively managing the experience. It is based on thoroughly understanding the customer. Essentially a beginning to end management of the chain of events that an individual experiences. Since that time CEM has grown and evolved to become an important business requirement.

This is a critically important topic for healthcare, especially in engagement activities. It is taking a consumer centric or patient centric viewpoint, that is all about the individual. It’s no longer about the healthcare enterprise at a single clinical service or entry point into the care system. Why? 

Two-thirds of an individual's interaction with a healthcare provider is as a customer pre and post treatment.  Only one-third of their encounter with you is as a patient during treatment.

A healthcare provider's ability to deliver an experience that sets it apart in the eyes of its payers, physicians and consumers/patients, from its competitors both traditional and non-traditional, serves to increase their in-network utilization of medical services and loyalty to the healthcare brand. Effective patient experience management not only reduces cost, but captures revenue as well, that could have been lost to out-of-network providers.

Marketing has an important role and it’s just not to make things look pretty. I know that most experience improvement efforts are clinically driven and not necessarily holistic in nature, that enhances the total healthcare enterprise experience.  But for the sake of the conversation, think about this for a moment, who or what department has more contact with the healthcare consumer or even the patient for the matter? 

Its marketing isn’t it?  Think about this statement. From the web site, call center, campaigns, social media, events, wellness programs and all the other marketing channels, the marketing department is constantly in touch with the healthcare consumer and patient.  And if they are establishing and managing the relationship correctly, then marketing should be involved and dare I say, leading the experience improvement process, as they should have a total understanding the customer's point of view.  That is, all touch points internally and externally that a customer comes in contact with which in turn creates the experience.  

With the dynamic change in healthcare evolving into a dynamic semi retail consumer  focus, experience management goes hand in hand with engagement.

It's time we started to focus on the totality of the healthcare consumer experience, their needs and expectations to grow profitably. Marketing needs to be involved beyond making things look pretty.  Growth is good.

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