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How a Big-Time Hospital Creates a Small-Town Patient Experience

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, September 5, 2012

Bigger isn't always better when it comes to healthcare organization size and the patient experience. When a local or independent hospital becomes part of a larger health system, patient experience can suffer, sometimes in subtle ways.

In Minnesota, 16 independent hospitals have become affiliated with health systems such as Mayo Clinic and Sanford Health since 2005. According to a Minnesota Public Radio audience panel, patients whose hospital joined a health system were pleased with the enhanced local access to medical services, but found less friendly atmospheres than before the mergers. For some patients, the loss of local control was a big deal.

Minnesota's circumstances are not unique—HealthLeaders Media's August Intelligence Report found that multi-facility health systems are more likely than individual hospitals to place patient experience outside of their top three priorities. Hospitals (60%) are also more inclined than health systems (46%) to place patient experience among their top two priorities.

So how can healthcare marketers bridge this patient experience gap? Does improved access have to come at the cost of experience? Nina Setia, chief experience officer for NYU Langone Medical Center, has some answers.

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