Improve the Patient Experience; Improve the Bottom Line

Patient experience is at the top of the “to do” list for healthcare organizations, and of course, with good reason. Not only because it’s part of the Triple Aim, but also because as patients see themselves more and more as consumers, when they make healthcare choices, they are going to choose people and places that prioritize them.

Recently, I read “Why Improving the Patient Experience Is Vital for the Health Care Industry” in Harvard Business Review. According to the article, estimates show that in the U.S., active patient choices can impact more than 60 percent of health care spending. And with U.S. healthcare spending in the trillions of dollars, that’s a lot of money riding on patient choice.

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What Patient Consumer Research and Intra-company Logistics Have in Common

Earning the respect of the Healthcare C-Suite

A recent article in Modern Healthcare got me thinking. At first blush “Health systems ramp up consumer research to improve care experience,” doesn’t seem to have much to do with healthcare intra-company logistics, but actually the benefits (and struggles) healthcare organizations have experienced related to consumer research are very similar to what we’ve seen with our own customers.

The article says, “A growing number of health systems are amping up their consumer research investment to enhance patient satisfaction and establish brand loyalty as consumerism takes hold in the industry.”

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Supply Chain: The surprising—or maybe not so-surprising—link to customer satisfaction

According to recent research from Gartner, only 27% of companies believe they offer superior service to their competitors, even though improving the customer experience is a priority for many CEOs. So where are CEOs looking for improved customer service?

The supply chain.

“The supply chain organization typically plays a secondary role to marketing in driving customer experience strategy,” according to Gartner research director Lisa Callinan.  And while marketing certainly has a leading role, it is one that doesn’t supersede substance. The supply chain is all about substance, which is leading to change in forward-thinking organizations, “because the supply chain is uniquely placed to identify customers’ needs and drive better customer experiences,” Callinan continued.

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Hospitals Up the Ante with Hospitality-Style Customer Service

Customer service—long a leading indicator of success in the hospitality industry—is becoming increasingly important in healthcare, and with good reason. Competition for patient loyalty is serious business.

Increased referrals to family and friends can lead to more utilization of hospital services, and inherent in those word of mouth referrals are brand and reputation building opportunities for hospitals and health systems.

In fact, a Deloitte report found that hospitals with “excellent” ratings on CMS’ Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems patient satisfaction survey had a net profit margin of 4.7%, on average, compared with just 1.8% for hospitals with “low” ratings during the period from 2008-2014. Those “likes” can really add up.

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