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4 Strategies to Improve the Patient Experience

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, May 9, 2012

Picture this. One day while watching TV you see an engaging hospital commercial, depicting smiling providers who whisk a patient through the continuum of care. The end of the spot directs you to a website, which has a fresh design and smartly describes the organization's many service lines and resources.

A few weeks down the line you need to schedule an elective procedure, and, based on your positive memories of the ad and website, you choose this hospital. But upon arrival, the parking lot is confusing. When you finally stumble across the waiting room, the desk worker passes you some forms to fill out without raising his head. Your procedure goes well, but afterward it's unclear how to schedule a follow-up.

Unfortunately, scenarios like this one happen all too often at well-meaning hospitals. Often the problem lies in the marketing department's detachment from operations, which—like it or not—controls the patient experience.

For the marketing chief to be considered a key leader within the hospital hierarchy, marketers must bridge this gap and take full responsibility for the patient experience.

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3 comments on "4 Strategies to Improve the Patient Experience"


Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA (5/17/2012 at 8:53 PM)
I agree that marketers should be involved, but they are often kept at arm's length from operations. Some of the most patient-centric organizations I've worked with have marketers taking the lead on the patient experience. Savvy marketers have seen the light and realize the strong connection between marketing and the patient experience. In fact, some forward-thinking healthcare marketers are insisting on conducting mystery shopping on service lines prior to launching any advertising campaigns. The rationale being that if the product (service) is not truly ready for market, they won't spend advertising dollars promoting a service line that doesn't live up to the promise.

Margaret Fleming (5/10/2012 at 1:26 PM)
Educating the patient is not communication. Harper's List once stated that 18 seconds! is the average time a patient may speak without being interrupted by a doctor. The patient's felt needs, unanswered requests, and real complaints are the other half of the equation. On my very worst days at the local hospital, NO ONE asked me how I was doing. By contrast, my primary doctor is an ongoing source of focused, effective care based on listening.

Erick Kinuthia (5/9/2012 at 3:22 PM)
Interesting topic. Every department in an organization has an obligation and a role to play in the organization. This is the same case for marketing staff in a hospital. They should aid the hospital to attain its targets through social media. Erick Kinuthia Team MDwebpro