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Show, Don't Tell Patient Experience

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, August 10, 2011

"Consumer perception studies show that the larger the facility is, almost always is going to have a more positive perception than a smaller hospital," said Beth Wright, vice president of corporate communications & strategic marketing at Capella Healthcare. "It's the halo effect."

The challenge for JMC is to overcome this halo effect and market its high (99th percentile last quarter) satisfaction scores to draw a larger patient volume.

The medical center's first marketing attempt was a flop.

JMC produced billboards and ads with blue ribbons with the words "number one in patient satisfaction" but the message did not resonate with the local audience, explains Jim Edmonson, CEO of JMC.

For the second marketing attempt, JMC is showing (instead of telling) why it is   ranked high for patient satisfaction. JMC will soon launch video testimonials of 15 unpaid patients/families who have had telling patient experiences at the hospital.

One features Bill Meehan, president of Jacksonville State University, who suffered a heart attack and credits JMC with saving his life. Another features a soldier who was able to watch the birth of his child from overseas.

The powerful real life messages are expected to reach more potential patients, Edmonson says.

"Word of mouth is our strongest marketing tool. Now [patients] can see for themselves, it wasn't good enough that we were just saying that we're number one in patient satisfaction," he says.

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3 comments on "Show, Don't Tell Patient Experience"


stephen.mcclure (8/11/2011 at 10:58 AM)
HCAHPS presents an opportunity for improvement as well as a challenge. HealthStream helps many of our customers understand their HCAHPS scores and find ways to raise them. Learn more about our HCAHPS expertise at: http://www.healthstream.com/solutions/improve-your-HCAHPS-scores.aspx

Steve Wilkins (8/10/2011 at 7:16 PM)
The "patient experience" for most hospitals begins with patients visiting one of their employed or non-employed physicians. People visit their primary care physicians 10 times as often as they visit a hospital ER or Inpatient unit. So what kind of "experience" are patients having in your primary care physicians' offices? For a glimpse - download a free white paper on the subject at: http://healthecommunications.wordpress.com/white-paper/ Steve Wilkins

Beth Wright (8/10/2011 at 5:07 PM)
Thanks for including Jacksonville Medical Center in your column, Anna! The staff there does an outstanding job. While their initial marketing campaign efforts didn't immediately impact the community, it did have an immediate impact on both employee satisfaction and physician and staff recruitment. And as the hospital highlights patients' experiences in the second phase of their campaign, the communication will be even more effective. As you know, it takes a significant investment of time, energy and resources to change community perception.