While patients in a hospital or doctor’s office aren’t typically thought of as customers, that’s precisely what they are. To that point, there’s been enough of a shift in the way healthcare organizations see their patients that the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recently began seeking public comment regarding the standards for patient experience.
As reported in Healthcare Finance News, NCQA is exploring instituting a system that will publicly recognize superior patient experience in patient-centered medical homes, or healthcare organizations that integrate patients as active participants in their own health and well-being.
This is especially interesting when I consider the work we did with the National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K. nearly eight years ago. Beyond Philosophy helped the NHS to evaluate patient experience and establish a patient experience statement on a national level. The final NHS definition of patient experience can be found here.
The most surprising thing about the NCQA proposal is that it took so long for it to get to the United States. Although this process is very much in the preliminary stages, the news indicates that healthcare providers are well on their way to recognizing the value added by providing an excellent patient experience – a concept we’ve clearly been advocating for years.
Houston-based Memorial Hermann Hospital is an excellent example of a healthcare organization that went out of its way to focus on improving patient experience. Working with the hospital, we helped to implement a culture-shifting program that led to a Press Ganey 2007 Compass Award for outstanding achievement in customer service performance, among other awards.
Karen Haney, system executive in charge of Customer Experience, and Rhonda Dishongh, director of CRM for Memorial Hermann Hospital, led the organization’s charge into improving its Customer Experience. Part of the process was to take them through our Moment Mapping® training regimen, which accredited them to design emotionally engaging experiences throughout the system.
Through implementation of this CE, or PE, program, the hospital was able to determine where it needed to improve the patient experience in order to drive the most value across the board.
To learn more about the work we did with Memorial Hermann Hospital, you are encouraged to register here our free case study webinar on Thursday, July 21. Co-presented by Rhonda Dishongh, attendees will learn what it takes to achieve outstanding patient satisfaction results, what works and what doesn’t, and what the key elements are for a successful patient experience program.
Taking a holistic approach to customer experience is, of course, good for customer retention and positive word-of-mouth referrals, which improves the bottom line for a healthcare organization or any other business. But this approach does more: there are operational cost savings to be had by implementing the kind of customer experience culture we advocate.
For example, by empowering employees to take care of a customer’s needs or complaints anywhere along the service chain, the whole operation becomes more efficient, and more costly management time can be spent on resolving higher-value issues. In healthcare, high patient satisfaction levels attract the best doctors and administrators and help to build overall excellence around all parts of the organization.
Most importantly, more than half the typical customer experience is emotional. Whether in healthcare or any other setting, it’s important to know which emotions you are evoking in your customers. We identify this Emotional Signature® by applying methods we developed with the London Business School.
A healthcare setting offers perhaps the best possible illustration of the role emotions can play. If you’ve ever seen a doctor who lacks any semblance of bedside manner, you will easily understand just how important the right patient experience can be to your emotional well-being.