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.

The article notes that “facilities that deliver disappointing patient experiences are four times more likely to have poor reputations” than those that deliver good experiences. It’s important to remember: the patient perception is built on the totality of experiences a patient has at multiple touch points along the patient journey. So smart organizations are going to actively manage those steps within their control, to ensure a positive patient experience.

While there are many areas to focus on regarding patient experience, I want to highlight logistics.  A single delivery delay, mishandled specimen or missed delivery may not seem especially significant. But the truth is, missteps like these are costly—not only in terms of actual dollars, but ultimately, they impact patient experience and market reputation.

It is more important than ever for healthcare executives to focus on the true costs of logistical errors. Sure, there are the short-term costs of cancelled procedures or admission bottlenecks, but more importantly those errors impact patient trust and loyalty.

The future belongs to healthcare organizations that can deliver high-value care that concentrates on the patient experience. Those that take every step they can to create positive patient experiences will be more attractive and competitive than those that don’t.

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