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4 Strategies to Improve the Patient Experience

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, May 9, 2012

4.Improve patient communication
Yes, cultivating informed patients can improve the patient experience. Providing patients with friendly, uncomplicated, and practical information about what to expect from their hospital stay will help the patients feel more at ease even before they step foot in your facility.

This virtual or paper first point of contact can be just as important in making a positive impression as the physical first point of contact.

It's also important to "examine and improve all aspects of communications with patients from initial contact with the physician referral line through episodes of care to interactions around insurance and billing," DeStanto says.

Much like how the patient experience can begin before the patient enters the hospital grounds, it can continue long after the patient leaves.

In order to stay competitive in today's healthcare environment, marketers must be responsible for much more than advertising and public relations. Not only must marketers communicate the brand, they must create and sustain the brand.

"If marketing is ever to evolve into the important strategic discipline in healthcare that it is in other industries, then the marketing department must take the lead role in orchestrating the patient experience," Adamson says.

"For those marketers who choose not to leap across this chasm with excitement, however, they will be dooming themselves and the departments they lead to more of the same frustration that has been vocalized since the advent of healthcare marketing."

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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