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Are You Measuring Patient Experience All Wrong?

MedTouch Marketing

MedTouch recently contributed this article to Strategic Health Care Marketing. This excerpt is shared with the publisher’s kind permission; please visit their website for the complete version.

(Thanks to Craig Kartchner of HonorHealth; Suzanne Hendery of Renown Health; Jared Johnson of Phoenix Children’s Hospital; Jeremy Rogers of IU Health; Chad Mallory, Brian Gresh, and Kate Madden-Jones of Loyal; Matt Gove of Piedmont Health; and Emily Kagan Trenchard and Joseph Narvaez of Northwell Health for their support and suggestions.)

What if you and your hospital were measuring patient satisfaction incorrectly? Worse, what if you were focused on improving things that didn’t really matter — and overlooking things that did?

In a health care setting, satisfaction focuses on the gap between patients’ expectations and their experiences. Importantly, patient experience includes everything from your physical facility and clinical team to your food service and website.

Doctors with Patient

And yet, many health care marketers rely on narrow satisfaction measurement tools. The two most common tools — satisfaction surveys and federal HCAHPS data — while helpful to a degree, both have deficiencies that can confuse your improvement efforts.

The Net Promoter Score® (NPS) framework is built on the better idea of measuring advocacy, not just satisfaction: how many fans you have, how fanatical they are, and why they feel that way.

It asks two simple questions: On a scale of 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely), how likely is it that you would recommend this hospital to a friend or colleague? Why do you say that?

NPS Score

Craig KartchnerCraig Kartchner from HonorHealth in Arizona likes the NPS system’s universality. “Like it or not, our system’s customers compare us to Starbucks and Apple, so we should, too,” he says. The system recently made NPS part of its larger management scoreboard and believes that the focus on advocacy will prove helpful.

Joseph NarvaezAt New York’s Northwell Health, Joseph Narvaez of its office of patient & customer experience is exploring how artificial intelligence could programmatically interpret open-ended HCAHPS and NPS comments at scale. “This could supplement the limitations of our quantitative data in a really interesting way,” he notes. Like HonorHealth, Northwell also uses NPS as a key part of its patient experience measurement system.

Turning patients into fans is easier said than done, but research suggests a few especially impactful levers. Nurse and physician empathy, open lines of communication, positive clinical outcomes, and physical environment top the list.

If improved patient experience is your goal, find your “North Star” by focusing on things that matter and going beyond satisfaction to measure advocacy.

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