Happy patient, healthy hospital: Taking a cue from the hospitality industry

Customer service, long an afterthought in the healthcare industry, is now very much on the front lines of hospitals’ strategic planning. Evidence of this can be seen in hotel-like lobbies, restaurant-grade menus, concierge amenities and the growing number of chief patient experience officers being hired by health systems.

A number of factors are fueling the hospitality trend: Competition with other health systems, worry over new healthcare entrants like retail clinics and telehealth firms, reimbursement changes that incent hospitals to improve the patient experience and increased transparency via Yelp and other social media outlets.

According to a report by Deloitte, hospitals with excellent ratings on CMS’ Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems patient satisfaction survey had a net profit margin of 4.7%, on average, compared with just 1.8% for hospitals with low ratings during the period 2008-2014.

Hospitals are realizing that great clinical outcomes are just not enough to create brand loyalty between them and the patient, says Paul Roscoe, CEO of Boston-based Docent Health. The startup, which last week received $15 million in Series A round funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Maverick Capital Ventures, is developing software and mobile applications to create a good experience for every patient at every stage of their hospital visit.

A tailored experience

“One of the challenges that we see is that hospitals are invested in the electronic patient record and big data and healthcare analytics focused on the clinical domain,” says Roscoe. “But there hasn’t been the same focus on creating the technology platform or the services to be able to manage the nonclinical patient experience.”

Key to Docent Health’s formula is understanding patients as individuals. If they’re a tennis player having an ACL repair and they want to be playing again in three months, then that’s a goal, Roscoe explains. “Those are the things that aren’t captured in an EMR today.”

Once hospitals know the patient’s preferences, concerns and anxieties, Docent’s platform helps them design a stay tailored to that individual. For example, a patient in his or her 20s might have a very digital experience while someone in their 60s or 70s might prefer a more human-centric trip. This “journey,” as Roscoe describes it, can also be tailored along service lines, such as touch points that would ease a first-time mother’s experience versus what a second- or third-time mother would prefer.

Next is delivering and implementing the journey through a combination of digital and human interactions, and the final piece is what Roscoe calls “this continuous improvement cycle” — knowing which are the journeys that are delivering higher patient satisfaction scores and which are the ones that aren’t, and working to improve on those.

A significant part of the platform uses a sentiment index, which can help health systems understand a patient’s satisfaction level in real time, rather than learning about it through the patient satisfaction survey. “With that we can identify and create dashboards to identify hot spots of patients inside the hospital and improve their experience before they are discharged,” Roscoe says.

Paul Westbrook, founder of Westbrook Consulting and former vice president of patient experience at Inova Health System in Northern Virginia, says technology has a “huge” role to play in increasing satisfaction, but is currently being underutilized.

“Texting surgical procedure updates, iPAD/TV surveys to respond to issues prior to discharge, automating registration via kiosks, education video links, abnormal symptoms/side effect reporting via texting for support or escalation, and post-discharge followup” all can help to pinpoint issues and correct a patient’s journey before they go home unhappy vowing never to return.

Build a patient-centric mindset

Westbrook, who joined Inova in 2012, applied his 27 years of hospitality experience with Ritz Carlton and Marriott International, to transform the health system from one that had been yielding 30th percentile performance, on average, across five hospitals, to one that was performing at the 70th percentile level.

To guide that change, Westbrook started by forming a senior leadership Patient Experience Transformation Team to develop a three-year strategic plan. The plan had five workstreams — culture, communication, human resource processes, leadership development and service excellence — each with an “owner” who was accountable for accomplishing certain goals. Resources were allocated to support each plan, including a patient experience leader assigned to each hospital, who reported directly to the hospital’s CEO. They, in turn, reported to Westbrook at the system level.

By increasing awareness from the top, “it was soon understood that PE cannot be delegated … rather it is ‘who we are,’” Westbrook wrote in an email. “This mindset transition from a provider center to patient-centric [approach] was critical, particularly as healthcare becomes more consumer-driven, where branding and reputation management become critical in an ever-increasingly transparent, value-based era.”

Hospitality Quotient, a subsidiary of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, offers services ranging from training hospital staff to feel more empathy for patients to a nuts-to-soup assessment of an organization’s culture and what it would take to build a strong culture that would improve patient experiences.

“Every person in the chain of interactions that you encounter along the way … has to have the same mindset, the same skills and be delivering on the same vision of the patient experience,” says Susan Reilly Salgado, managing partner of the New York-based business. “And that requires the values and the belief about what the patient experience is all about to be embedded in the culture of the organization.”

Take time to plan

One of the problems Westbrook sees with clients looking to improve their HCAHPS scores is the desire for a quick solution, rather than taking the necessary time to assess leadership competencies and how they align to the desired cultural norms. “I often see a hierarchical top down, command-and-control leadership style that does not engender genuine care for the staff at all levels,” he tells Healthcare Dive.

And just like with hospitality, a disengaged staff member can’t provide genuine personalized care, Westbrook adds. “Only those staff members (at any level in the organization) who feel respected, valued and cared for can extend the same to their ‘customers’ [and] only then are memories made and stories told that build the brand reputation.”

Eyes on the goal

Whether it’s creating a more welcoming environment by sprucing up the hospital lobby or collecting nonclinical information about patient that can improve their stay, the goal should be the same, says Westbrook.

“The key is personalized, anticipatory service to relieve fear and anxiety through clear, easy-to-understand communication and coordinated care between providers and facilities,” he says. “If concierge services (vs. amenities) intersect with improving communication and coordinated care for patients/family members, then great.”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.healthcaredive.com


Six ways your restaurant’s reputation is affecting your online orders

Restaurateurs have long known that their businesses live and die on their reputations. This is even more true in today’s highly connected digital world. As technology makes it easier for your customers to order online, it also makes it more important than ever to manage your restaurant’s reputation


Here are six primary reasons: 


1. Most online purchases start at a search engine. 


Adweek says that over 80 percent of purchases made online start with a search on Google, Bing! or some other search engine. This is especially true for restaurants without apps for online ordering or those with web addresses (url) that are not 100-percent intuitive.


Keep in mind that when potential customers look for your website online, they will also see a lot of other web results for that search term, and remember, everybody gets a voice on the internet. It pays to ensure that what they’re saying about your restaurant is positive.


2. Ratings and reviews are often what people see about your restaurant first online.  


‘If you search via Google for your restaurant, it’s quite likely that restaurant review site listings for your establishment on Yelp, AllMenus or TripAdvisor will show up first or immediately after your site in the results. Your Google My Business page will also usually show up atop the list with reviewers’ ratings, as well. In short, reviews are often the first thing customers and potential customers see online when they search for your brand. Naturally, while positive reviews can bolster customers’ confidence about ordering from you, largely negative review results may send them away, possibly for good. 


3. Good reviews are great advertising.

According to Moz, two out of three people say online reviews influence their purchases. When potential customers see mostly positive reviews, it can be key in their decision to order from you online, instead of one of your competitors. This is called the social proof effect and it underlines the fact that when we don’t have a lot of context about the quality of something, others’ opinions of the product or service can greatly affect our purchasing behavior. 


4. Review sites can drive new customers to your business.

Though many restaurateurs resent review sites since they feel they can be one-sided or unfair, the fact is that they exist and can be a great tool for helping people find your restaurant if the reviews are positive. Additionally, if you use the search term, “order online” on Yelp, you’ll receive a list of restaurants offering this feature. In fact, often the site will provide a direct link to your site for ordering online. Restaurants with better online reputations have a better chance of being found this way, as well. 


5. Better reputation means better ranking on Google My Business.

The folks at Google report that the search engine gives better placement to businesses that respond to reviews. Lesson learned? If someone leaves a low score and a harsh review online, make every effort to respond quickly and calmly in order to not only repair that relationship, but also show customers you’re responsive to their feedback. The reward? You gain an improved search ranking, while potentially bringing a lost customer back. 


6. Good reviews also enhance mobile search.

Numerous marketing studies have found that more than half of all search engine queries are now performed on mobile phones. So, for instance, if a customer searches for your category of restaurant and sees a list of local restaurants with their star-ratings directly under each name, it’s quite possible that someone who wasn’t planning to order from you actually will end up doing so if your rating is better than that of other restaurants in that category. 


The take-away

Regardless of how great the reasons are for active reputation management, it still takes a lot of time and commitment to quality. You must be willing to monitor online comments and keep a cool head, even for the harshest critics. The pay-off can ultimately be very profitable for your brand when it comes to online ordering sales.  


Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.pizzamarketplace.com