Healthcare systems are messy. Think about the growing number of different facilities and the departmental divisions that aren’t meaningful to patients but very meaningful internally. Consider the various groups battling with one another over the same patients, or the lack of a consistent philosophy and approach for a given service or procedure. It’s easy in the day-to-day operations of a health system to ignore the complexity of our organizations. I find that when we work on the website we’re pulling off the band-aid and exposing all of that mess.
A few years ago Alicia Jansen, associate vice president at MD Anderson Cancer Center had a problem on her hands. As she explained at the SHSMD Annual Conference, potential patients were having a hard time getting that first appointment. In addition to being scared and emotional with a new cancer diagnosis, they had to jump through a lot of hoops to get something scheduled. There was a lot of back and forth as well as repeated paperwork. So Jansen decided to take on the project and make the experience better.
After analyzing the procedures and talking to the call teams, she decided to create an online experience that would make the process easier on patients and the clinics.
With the new site live and performing well, Jansen shared these keys to engaging and empowering patients online – and provided lessons learned:
Using online Voice of the Customer (VoC) panels help improve consumer satisfaction by fostering collaboration with a customer through online surveys and communities to uncover sentiment, satisfaction and loyalty. As healthcare marketers we are no stranger to focusing on the entire consumer experience, not just one piece of the pie. With quite a few healthcare organizations moving towards expansive, integrated delivery networks, it’s no surprise that continually measuring consumer interactions have become increasingly important.
What stood out most to me at SHSMD’s Annual Conference was the focus on improving consumer satisfaction. The topic of how to improve the consumer experience was repeatedly incorporated into the sub-text of each conference breakout session conversation during lunch, one-on-one conversation and client dinners. Companies with consistently high customer satisfaction like Amazon.com, Marriot International and Southwest Airlines view great service as a continual challenge.