In the October 2012 issue of HealthLeaders, the article "Placing your Bets" contained a chart that caught my eye regarding the ranking of the top issues that are CEO priorities over the next three years. No surprise as improving patient experience and satisfaction is the No.2 priority over the next 3 years. Just like it has been for the past couple of years.
Which led me to wonder, are you out of time to start the process and do you really have three years?
Don't take me wrong, there has been some total patient experience improvement activity especially by some notable and prestigious healthcare organizations. For the rest of the healthcare industry, the majority of patient experience activities have focused on one or two clinical or diagnostic services isolated from the entire patient experience first touch-point to last.
Patient experience is built from the first time an individual comes in contact with you to the very last contact with all of the individual touch-points along the way playing a significant role. Satisfaction is a measure of part of that journey that focuses on the care experience. Which if you think about it, only cover one-third of the time that an individual is really a "patient".
Improving the patient experience and satisfaction is as much about changing the culture of the organization as it is improving the touch-points and process. And to change an organizational culture to improve the patient experience to bring the experience into alignment with satisfaction takes at least five years.
If you want to improve the patient experience and satisfaction scores, you have to focus on the organizational culture as much as the touch-points and processes of experience and satisfaction.
I started writing about patient experience management in January 2011. Even back then it was always listed in various CEO surveys has a high priority. You can search the blog for the whole series if you wish too. Make sure that you use the term customer experience as well.
Improving the patient experience or satisfaction scores is not like flipping a switch that when the time comes. It takes time, effort, market research by talking to your patients, process and touch-point improvement and change. And that takes time; a lot of it.
No red easy button here.
Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group.