Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Customer/Patient Experience Management Applied to Healthcare

Happy New Year everyone. Welcome to 2011 and a new decade!

There is an increasing amount of activity in what healthcare organizations are calling Patient Experience Management (PEM). Patient Experience Management is not a new concept. In reality, it is Customer Experience Management partially applied to healthcare.

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 end-to-end management of the chain of events that an individual experiences . Since that time CEM has grown and evolved to became an important business requirement.

This is a critically important topic for healthcare. And it's not just about reading an article, thinking you know all about it and start a program. I submit that it is time we begin thinking about individuals not as patients but as customers.

We need to look at CEM not PEM.

The reason for this?

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.

Let me repeat.......

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 - traditional and non-traditional - serves to increase their spending and loyalty to the brand.

CEM actively manages the customer experience in total by 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. PEM looks at only one aspect of the exchange and interaction. That which occurs internally when a customer is a patient. It does not consider all of a consumer/patient's cross channel exposure, interactions and transactions with the healthcare provider.

CEM requires you to see the "patient" as an individual customer with distinct needs and expectations that is developed across the organization externally and internally. It requires a complete and thorough understanding of all customers, their needs and expectations.

This is just the first in a series on Customer Experience Management. Healthcare namely hospitals and other direct care providers have done the Total Quality Management, Continuous Quality Improvement, Lean Management, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, Built to Last, In Search of Excellence, etc. All good systems, all good approaches but for one reason or another have come up short in healthcare. We still have the same cost and quality issues when this all started years ago.

Now maybe it's time we started to focus on the customer, their needs and expectations to grow profitably.

In the next posting we will look at some examples in other industries where CEM is being successfully deployed.

You can continue the conversation with me on:

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/krivich0707
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mkrivich

Michael Krivich is a senior healthcare marketing executive and internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger read daily in over 20 countries around the world. A Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives as well as a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association, he can be reached at michael@themichaeljgroup.com or 815-293-1471 for hiring as your senior marketing executive , for interim assignments in all aspects of healthcare marketing whether it be strategic or tactical market planning, customer experience management, rebuilding and revitalizing your existing marketing operation, integration of sales and marketing teams, media relations or service line revitalizations. Huthwaite SPIN selling trained and a Miller Heiman Strategic Selling alumni, both highly respected and successful international sales training organizations , I can lead your organization though the challenge of integrating sales and marketing.

4 comments:

Jim Watson said...

Michael, this is a great (and timely) topic for several reasons:

1. Customers have much higher expectations for quality service, regardless of the industry providing it.

2. 10,000 people a day will turn 65, for the next 15 years. That will dramatically increase the number of treatments and interactions between patient and health care organizations.

According to a study in the October, 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, “Patients’ ratings of hospital care are of interest, because they are in many ways “the bottom line.” “How the patient perceives the overall hospital experience has a significant impact on the success of the hospital in attracting more patients.” According to the article, the factors that contribute most to the patients’ ratings are things like communications with physicians and nurses, cleanliness of the rooms and noise levels.

So, to your point, the overall Patient Experience is, and will continue to be an increasingly huge factor on the bottom line for health care providers. Therefore, it warrants closer attention that what it's received in the past.

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