I’m listening to Jim Collins book, Great By Choice, it answers the question: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?
Today, we are living in a chaos with the new Affordable Care Act and the changes happening in the healthcare sector. No physician I met or a speaker I heard know where we are going!
I will discuss few practices that can help you as a healthcare provider formulate your 2014 recipe. The recipe is based on my experience working as a Chief Experience Officer for a primary and urgent care clinics in Maryland.
First, let’s learn what is SMaC? (SMaC not Smaug, the dragon from The Hobbit :))
“SMaC stands for Specific, Methodical, and Consistent. If you’re in an uncertain, fast-changing, and unforgiving environment, the more you need SMaC. SMaC is a set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula. It is clear and concrete, enabling the entire enterprise to unify and organize its efforts, giving clear guidance regarding what to do and what not to do. SMaC recipe reflects empirical validation and insight about what actually works and why.
Great by Choice notes that 10Xers (10X are companies Collins identified as high-performing study cases with the moniker “10X” because they didn’t merely get by or just become successful. They truly thrived. Every 10X case beat its industry index by at least 10 times.) develop a SMaC recipe.”
According to Wikipedia, “A health care provider is an individual or an institution that provides preventive, curative, promotional or rehabilitative health care services in a systematic way to individuals, families or communities. An individual health care provider may be a health care professional within medicine, nursing, or allied health professions. Health care providers may also be a public/community health professional. Institutions (also known as health facilities) include hospitals, clinics, primary care centres, and other service delivery points.”
The healthcare sector is in constant change so you always need to discuss and answer one important question: How do your medical facility perform well when no one knows what’s coming next?
I will discuss three dimensions of SMaC recipe for healthcare providers; Technology (Mobile, Social Media and Wearable Products), Leadership (Patient Experience) and finally Culture (Team Development). The clarity and specificity of a SMaC recipe helps people keep their bearings and sustain high performance when in extreme conditions.
Mobile: It is important to be the change and not just react to it
According to ComScore, nearly 148 million Americans age 13 and older own smartphones and 72 million own tablets. The average web user today accesses the internet on multiple platforms and has different value drivers for each platform and access method. Apps are the primary gateway to the mobile internet, so content providers must ensure they’ve not only invested the resources to provide a seamless user experience but also that they’ve effectively marketed the apps to consumers. If consumers don’t make room for your app on their devices, your ability to engage with them on mobile platforms will be significantly limited.
Start thinking of developing a mobile app for your hospital in a creative way. For example, if you have many international patients booking to do surgeries at your hospital, start thinking what will make their visit more comfortable? What type of foods they prefer? research their state or country. What type of TV channels or music are their mainstream?
Start building your psychographic database based on your patients demographic. If you just focus on building mobile app that has information others can find it online, just don’t expect anyone to download it. I’m not saying not to include educational contents but think more of just appointment or prescription reminder, instant text or chat with the doctor, or follow-up on things to do after operation.
Do Not just build a mobile app because other healthcare providers did, seek how you will add values to your patients beyond the classic care services, look into your patient’s needs and interests.
Do apply the Customer Development Process – Lean Startup Model to build your next product or service.
Social Media: All human enterprises require a specific recipe for consistency and change
Everybody needs to remind themselves of two things in 2014:
1. Nothing is private and
2. Anything you do on social media can last forever
It’s commodity to have website and its mobile version, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook will be a commodity also. If you don’t have them then it explain why you are about to be among the physicians looking to sell their practices. 64% Internal medicine subspecialists and 89% of surgeons cited the cost of maintaining a practice as why they wanted to sell. There are many reasons to use these new media tools for your business such as: shown first on search engine results (people in 2014 will trust doing business with companies that has strong online presence and reputation), maintain relationship with your patients and even to help track disease outbreaks and health habits.
Not all of these tools fit the need of your healthcare facility. Recently, one company offered us a marketing package including the use of SnapChat, I was shocked! I started imaging what kind of marketing offers I will do to our patients using this social app.
Do Not create social media accounts if you don’t have the right team to manage them and create contents that suit the audience following you.
Wearable Products: Move forward while figuring out what works
ABI Research has projected that by 2016, wearable wireless medical device sales will reach more than 100 million devices annually. The market for wearable sports and fitness-related monitoring devices is projected to grow as well, reaching 80 million device sales by 2016.
Wearable medical technology is becoming a hot commodity. As these devices come to market, they have the potential to help both patients and clinicians monitor vital signs and symptoms.
That’s one side of the wearable products, the other side is patients coming to your medical facility wearing wearable products such as Google Glass recording the whole visit including your hospital, physicians and staff so what you should do?
Do Not complain about the erosion of privacy that these products may engender.
Do be prepared to embrace the watches and glasses and even clothing that lead the wearable technology trend and should proactively be developing policies to weave these products seamlessly into the fabric of their workplace.
Patient Experience: All patients should be treated with professionalism and respect
Everyone in your medical facility is part of your customer service. You should never hope a problem will magically go away, or that someone else will deal with it. Deal with every issue head-on, no matter how small. It’s a tiny detail that separates your urgent care from the rest so give your prospects a reason to try your service.
Everyone should be trained to handle patient’s complaints and provide remarkable experience even physicians.
Do Not build a feedback system that has no human interactions.
Team Development: Your company culture is the collective interactions of all your employees
To have a culture, you need a team. Great leaders understand success is built by great teams and they share their success with their teams. To create an emotional bond with your patients, start with your employees.
Do Not hire C players (those with highest aptitude, not attitude) if you are planning for A+ company
Do provide all types of customer service training and updates regarding healthcare trends, your employees are your source to be well prepared for the unknown.
Remember, as the uncertainty, fast-changing, and unforgiving nature of your environment changes, the more SMaC is necessary.
Does your medical facility adhere to the SMaC concept, why or why not?
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