The Patient Customer 2

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President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act

Clinical quality is obviously extremely important to a hospitalized patient, however there are many clinical specific quality indicators that are difficult for them to understand. Clinical quality is often measured in terms of outcomes, but these metrics do not reflect the actual patient experience while in the hospital. There is a prominent opinion by those focused on the clinical aspects of healthcare that believes “We are here to save their behinds, not kiss them”. Although patients are concerned about clinical quality, they are equally concerned about the more personal aspects relating to their care, therefore a clearer definition of this anecdotal peck on the cheek is worth exploring. Hospitals that prioritize the patient perspective and engage their staff to minimize factors that may create biased views are rewarded today more than ever for their respect to the patient’s journey. These organizations are the ones that will benefit from a commitment to patient experience improvement, and display a type of organizational culture that manifests into increased reimbursements and the elevation of the hospitals brand.

In my previous blog I charted the path to our current HCAHPS, Pay For Performance, Star Rating universe citing the evolution of Medicare. Evolution “the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form” is uniquely descriptive in this context. In fact let’s cast a wider net beyond patients to all consumers and cite a recent survey by PwC aptly named “Experience Is Everything”, where they drew their findings from an international survey of 15,000 consumers in 12 countries. PwC found that while price and quality remain primary drivers in purchasing decisions, 73 percent of the survey’s respondents say a positive experience is among the key factors that influence their brand loyalties. Furthermore, they said they would pay up to 16 percent more on products and services for better customer service. Specifically, the survey found what matters most to consumers in their customer experience is; speed and efficiency (80 percent), knowledgeable and helpful employees (78 percent) and convenience (77 percent). The palpable similarities to the patient perspective and how it relates to HCAHPS cannot be ignored.

The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science article "Customer Positivity and Participation in Services: An Empirical Test in a Health Care Context" states the focus on patient satisfaction alone is “short-sighted” and that best practices from other industries should be adopted into health care to move beyond satisfaction to deliver a more “complete patient experience.” In other words while many in the healthcare industry are dedicating incredible time and resources developing a new wheel, corporate America is selling them for pennies on the dollar. Please continue to follow this blog as we explore the challenges and solutions in the rapidly changing world of the patient experience.

Author: Patrick Quan CEO Artisan Marketing Group