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Patient Satisfactory Service Co-Designed: Map the Gaps in the Human Experience

by Mohammed on December 25, 2013

Over 20 members of the Society for Participatory Medicine weighed in with their own the top three things hospitals could do to be more participatory. They have categorized those answers and grouped them accordingly as a spider graph. The top three suggestions are:

  1. Include and value patients on multidisciplinary teams
  2. Implement a real-time feedback system for both patients and staff
  3. Provide full online, real-time access to medical records

Participatory is about co-designing processes, services and experiences co-created with patients and their families.

Bridget Duffy, MD mentioned in the Four Steps to Improve the Patient Experience and Heal the Art of Medicine that “Integrating the voice of the patient and family into your process improvement efforts can rapidly catalyze your efforts to improve patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

Many organizations have created patient and family councils to inform their improvement efforts, but most organizations do not effectively use this information. Organizations need to integrate the voice of patients and families into process improvement efforts, thereby creating new standards of care or “Always Events” for patient experience.  Most process improvement efforts strip out waste, and do very little to restore what matters most to patients and families.”

Many of the marketing companies now days are trying to sell their services especially the online platforms using one general sales tactic to convince bushiness including hospitals and doctors to hire them to attract new patients or improve their online presence. I will address in future blog why this is a wrong strategy for marketing companies and why it’s a waste of time and money for the healthcare institutions. For now, let me make something clear; there will be NO ROI of doing any online marketing campaigns without considering the offline experience

Micah Solomon in Improving The Hospital Patient Customer Experience (It’s About More Than HCAHPS Scores) said: “The biggest obstacle to improving customer service in healthcare is the industry’s insular nature and the way this makes its problems self-reinforcing. In other words, healthcare providers and institutions compare themselves to each other – to the hospital in the next town, the surgeon in the next O.R. – and benchmark their customer service accordingly. And to do so is to set the bar too low. It’s not as if patients stop being consumers – customers – when they put on a hospital gown. And it’s not as if their loved ones surrender their identities as businesspeople, twitterers, Facebook users, either, when they enter your institution. So, it’s time to benchmark healthcare customer service against the best in service-intensive industries, because that’s what your patients and their loved ones will do.”

You should aim to benchmark against the best, hire the marketing company that understand healthcare business, and Integrate  the voice of patients and families to deliver an extraordinary patient experience. That’s what will differentiate you from other healthcare providers in today’s healthcare market.

To validate the point I just said, a study published in 2013 showed that 75% of people search for specific doctors and hospitals when they are in need of the service, that means:

- Doctors and Hospitals with excellent patient experience will be in business and those without will be out of business soon

- Shared experiences will be the new currency of your brand, you could have good products but the overall experience is what will break or keep your brand. Remember, researches shows that people only remember the peak of the experience (good or bad) and the last part of the experience.

How Patient Experience will play a role in business?

Brian Solis in the What’s The Future of Business said: Shared Experiences are more important than products. Products are manifestations of the experience you want people to have and share. Experiences are something we feel and we share what we feel. We share what moves us.

Experiences Customers are sharing experiences about your business now. Why leave them to chance. Define them at every step!

With this introduction, I want to make a point. Your brand is what people have in mind about your service, staff, exam/waiting room cleanness, noise, etc.  and guess what happen when you (healthcare provider) asked your clients (patient and their family) to extract, express  and exude your brand? It’s that simple, you are going to co-design the experience that your patients want.

I will share some satisfaction service surveys including one with over 500 respondents that we collected and used its valuable feedback to improve the patient experience for a primary and urgent care clinics in Maryland. Remember that direct interactions with patients, their family and clients is always better as it gives you direct feedback but in case it’s not available all the time.

1 – Net Promoter Score (NPS)

I used it as an easy and fast method to evaluate the company’s score for few weeks. We got a lot of 10 with less of what we want to hear from patients. For example, it’s not possible to know why the patient get frustrated if we just collect score.


Question: How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend/colleague/relative?

Results: Score: 75

2 – One Question Feedback

One of the best surveys to get patient’s complaints and compliments. We put it near the checkout receptionist and in the waiting room, we also put it in the exam rooms with clip board and pens. You have to understand that the patient is doing a favor for you by filling your surveys so always make sure to make it easy for them to do so.

Question: Help Us Serve You Better!

Results: Very valuable suggestions and most of them read by our staff and physicians during the monthly meetings

3 – Client Insight

The questions below summarize what patients think about our service. We used this survey a lot during the busy hours when there is waiting time. We gave complimentary gifts for patients who complete the two pages such as free Vitamin B12, hand sanitizer, coffee mug, and many more.

Questions: How has your experience/interaction been with our clinic? What’s your favorite doctor/clinic/hospital? In your mind, how do we compare to your favorite? / How can we improve services? / When you talk about our service to others, what do you say? / Describe our service in just three words? / Would you like to be contacted by CXO to discuss your visit?

Results: Among 500 respondents for 1 year, we got:

Positive: 425

Negative: 75

I have to say that I praised my team when we get compliments but my real treasure is the complaints because this is how I improve the service and know our flaws. Most of the solutions to improve the patient experience inspired by the patients and our innovation. I never thought of having mini library for books in the waiting room, real flowers or Sinnamon flavor air spray could cause allergic problem to some patients, never change a TV channel without permission from all patients sitting in the waiting room, etc.

4 – Online

With the rise of mobile and tablet use, you have to make your survey short and touchable. Some ideas:

- Put your Chief Experience Officer phone at the top of the website. Also provide email in case the patient don’t prefer to call but make sure you are replying to anonymous (you can’t identify the person behind the email)

- Twitter is one of the best and fastest growing online platform for customer complaints. Make sure to listen and follow on tweets, Facebook comments, Google and Yelp reviews… well, just be everywhere :)

- Yes, I created a text tab for mobile website visitors to ask questions and send complaints via text messages

5 – Traditional

Few ideas including a hint in your voicemail greeting message about CXO extension number for complaints, answer the clinic phone randomly, and suggestion box in very visible place.

Patient-centered co-design have a vast amount of expertise as it comes from patients experiencing your brand offline and online and your team as the patient experience artist. You have to open all communication channels to patients and include real-time feedback tools whenever possible. Whatever experience you are designing for your patients, please remember:

- Technology changes, humans don’t

- 20% of healing is linked to our technology and tools, the other 80% is something else—it’s the human to human connections, the physical environment, and spirituality ~ Source

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