Your “Would Recommend” score on the CMS data (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service) tells the story of whether your clinical volumes will increase – no matter how much money you spend on branding.
Beside traditional marketing, one of the most important things you should be managing is the patient experience.
You must remember that patients are not comparing you to other hospitals. They are comparing you to their other retail experiences.
Best practice organizations are asking marketing to develop the “voice” of the organizational contact. Marketing people are asking to be involved in places they have never previously thought of being influential.
What are some examples where marketing can influence patient experience?
- The call center: Usually the first place a patient interfaces with the hospital. Are your phone operators customer service trained like they work at a Ritz-Carleton?
- Wayfinding in the hospital: Especially large academic medical center faculties, but every hospital needs friendly images and signage
- The greeters and public-facing volunteers: Talk about the need for customer service training, these people can do more to make or break your brand than any advertising.
- Revenue Cycle Contact: The check-in/registration; what the bills look like; the call center to resolve billing questions- all these are opportunities to build your brand and volumes
- Concierge Services: How can we help our families and patients? What needs to be arranged while
someone is in the hospital? I have seen examples of everything from finding hotel rooms for out-of-town family to finding dog walking services for those unexpected in-patients. Whatever, it is all part of managing the hospitality experience.
There are of course many ways to manage the in-patient and out-patient experience; this is just a short list to get you started thinking about it. What we do know is that when your CMS “would recommend” score is low, no amount of marketing and advertising can make up for it.