Approach us as customers, not just patients, and design our experience accordingly.
Morristown, New Jersey (PRWEB) April 19, 2012
The qualitative survey conducted among Trajectory's HerView™ database participants was designed to uncover for healthcare marketers how women (who are the "chief health officers" for themselves and their families) feel about their primary care physician relationships. How would they characterize the care they're receiving today; and what other factors play into their opinions?
Five key survey findings reveal the changing nature of the patient and primary care physician relationship. These findings are important for physician practices, healthcare marketers and healthcare leadership. For many patients, primary care physicians represent the front line of the healthcare system or hospital experience and are a key driver of brand perception, loyalty and growth.
So, how do women feel about their primary care physicians?
1. Survey participants understand that their physicians have a long list of patients to see each day. And patients continue to have confidence in their doctors of choice. But from the patient's point-of-view, it seems that the system has created a "get us in, get us out" mentality. And with this, "personal touch" can sometimes take a back seat, including devoting time to detailed discussions about choices and alternative options.
2. They feel doctors do a good job of taking care of the physical ailments patients and their families are facing. But given the situation described above, patients' emotional satisfaction (important to cementing a strong patient-physician relationship) is not as high as it should be. And this compromises the perception of your practice, group, hospital or health system.
3. These women feel that lack of collaboration between their primary care physicians and extended care teams (e.g. specialists, nutritionists, etc.) is not in their best interests. They acknowledge that it takes a collaborative team of primary physicians and specialists to ensure a patient's health. For many, the concept of a Medical Home, with their primary physician as the central hub, is just not a reality today.
4. Perceptions don't just relate to physicians, but to the entire experience surrounding an office visit. Participants largely agreed that "we either have to wait months to get an appointment", or "wait longer than we should in a crowded waiting room", with amenities sometimes consisting of "old magazines." They cited other businesses that enriched the waiting experience (e.g. car dealerships, salons) and wondered why physician's offices (which are more serious occasions) couldn't adapt similar practices.
5. Concierge medicine, while more expensive, offers many advantages. This is particularly true for the women who are pressed for time juggling career and family. Care is more personalized, on their schedule, with opportunity for real dialogue, and much more emotionally satisfying. It's characterized as affording the opportunity and the benefits of a real relationship.
So what are the implications of these findings:
1. Blueprint each step of the end-to-end patient experience (from the patient perspective). Eliminate those that don't add value to patients. Find ways to “streamline” or improve the efficiency of other steps to add more value. And find innovate ways to create new value for patients.
2. Hire specialists to oversee marketing and patient experience – those who can work together to operationalize a customer-centric approach to the business so that the physicians can focus solely on the clinical (and personal) aspects of care.
3. Offer a patient portal to allow patients to interact with staff prior to their visit. Let them fill out paperwork and schedule online, to streamline the process. They'll gain peace of mind, staff should be happier, and the experience should be more positive all around.
4. Change your mindset from caring for (captive) patients to customers. Customers who expect and are receiving higher quality customer service from other kinds of companies with whom they interact in their daily lives. Know that great experiences (and the poor ones) are talked about, shared and lead (or not) to referrals.
5. Poll your patients. Seek to understand their feelings and opinions. Simply having them be satisfied is not a good place for you (or them) to be. Actively listen and act, so you can foster longer-term relationships and enhance your overall brand value.
Trajectory partners with healthcare, well-being and healthy lifestyle clients to create new customer value and ignite new business growth. Utilizing its Brand Energy™ approach, the company creates and re-energizes brands, executes multi-channel marketing campaigns and unites and equips organizations to build from the inside out. Representative clients include Orlando Health, Palomar (PaloVia Skin Renewing Laser), Reckitt Benckiser, Arnold Palmer Enterprises and The Reading Hospital and Medical Center. Learn more about Trajectory by contacting Eric Brody, President at 973-292-1400 x201 or email him at eb(at)trajectory4brands(dot)com.