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At a meeting of the Healthcare Planning and Marketing Society of New Jersey, I spoke about the intersection of patient experience and marketing and why they are tied at the hip. When all is said and done, word of mouth (WOM) is your most important marketing tool.
"In many cases, WOM isn't actually "marketing" at all. It's great customer service that earns customer respect," according to Andy Sernovitz, author of "Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking."
Change customer to patient, or better yet "person," and respect to loyalty and you have the essence of the connection. The experience of care is the marketing.
I and other authors here on Hospital Impact spend a lot of time preaching about the experience of care and how we should approach it and why we need to pay attention to it. Perhaps there is a simpler way to get both leadership and front-line staff engaged. Tell them they are both chief experience officer and chief marketing officer for the organization. Because you know what, they are.
Working on both sides of the aisle so to speak, I get to see the best and the worst of both the hospital world and the long-term care world. And recently long-term care has gotten beaten up, more so than usual.
Hospital folks you need to take note because increasingly you are looking for partners in skilled nursing, rehabilitation and assisted living who can provide high-quality care while reducing readmissions.
When doing your homework, you may want to get a primer on what has been happening lately. First there was a scathing Frontline report on life and death in assisted living. And the largest assisted living chain was severely thrown under the bus.
That is important to note for a few reasons. As the largest chain, there was an expectation of quality and a perception of quality. Those positive perceptions would typically make it easier for hospital administrators to choose partners. Yet with one airing of a television program, those perceptions and warm and fuzzy feelings went bye-bye.
In September, I attended a local American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) event around customer service. The two-behemoth health systems were represented as well as one other local competitor. However, the person who stole the show was the local franchise owner from Chick-fil-a, Rob Rogers. While others droned on about evidence-based patient experience and role-playing, he got to the fundamentals.
Rogers definitely impressed me because he boiled employee and customer experience down to basic human values. (Although you may not agree with the corporation's values, keep in mind he was speaking as a franchise owner with his own views and values.)
So what was this franchise owner squawking about? Here goes.
I may be late to the game in reacting to the research report "The State of Patient Experience in American Hospitals." The biannual survey was conducted by The Beryl Institute and Catalyst Healthcare Research and included 1,072 respondents from 672 unique organizations.
In the research announcement my friend, colleague and fellow Hospital Impact blogger Jason Wolf, president at The Beryl Institute noted:
"The bottom line is clear, patient experience remains a top priority among American hospitals and continues to be a key issue for hospital leaders. This reinforces the point that the patient and their experience--the quality of their outcomes, the safety of their environment, the service they are provided--must be and should remain central to our healthcare conversation."
So what is the state of patient experience?
Time to revisit my take on a term I put forth several years ago, the chief experience officer (CXO).
On my first go-around, it was simple enough. I was a marketer. One of the biggest marketing tools you have is word of mouth. And word of mouth comes down to the experience of care. Therefore, if it is that important shouldn't we have a CXO? Evidently the Cleveland Clinic thought so.
On my second go-around, I actually filled out roles for this position--chief context setter, chief healing officer, chief promise keeper.
So here is the third go-around, which gets to where healthcare in general is moving--out of the provider setting.
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