Prescription for Five Star Service

☆☆☆☆☆ Predictive/Intuitive Care & Communication
  • Along with effective, innovative diagnosis & treatment, shows high levels of interest and respect toward the patient behind the symptoms (hint: write a ‘fun fact’ in the patient’s record to establish familiarity at the next episode of care).
  • Sets aside dedicated time for family and/or caregivers to ask questions, walk through the care plan, and understand post-discharge instructions.
  • Smoothly incorporates technology into care to communicate with and update patients & caregivers, quickly involves other specialties or departments in the patient’s care, and ensures all necessary details are included and readily available for smooth transfer and low question repetition.
☆☆☆☆ Highly Responsive Care & Communication
  • Along with effective diagnosis & treatment, shows a general proactive interest in the patient’s life and situation.
  • Invites family and/or caregivers to ask questions.
  • Responds kindly to questions from patient, family and/or caregivers.
  • Uses technology to efficiently record all necessary details of patient care and demonstrate information to patients & caregivers.
☆☆☆ Fairly Responsive to Needs, Decent Frequency of Communications
  • Effective diagnosis and treatment, low proactive interest in patient otherwise.
  • Cordial to family and caregivers, allows questions.
  • Uses technology to efficiently record all necessary details of patient care.
☆☆ Somewhat Responsive, Infrequent Communication
  • Effective diagnosis and treatment, low proactive interest in patient otherwise.
  • Cordial to family and caregivers, allows questions.
  • Uses technology to efficiently record all necessary details of patient care.
☆ Generally Unresponsive, Rare Communication
  • Careless (or even incorrect) diagnosis and treatment.
  • Shuts down conversation unrelated to specific care episode.
  • Shows frustration toward family and caregivers and/or punts questions to nurses/techs rather than answering.
  • Demonstrates aggravation with technology.
  • Resistance to technology causes tension and issues with care.

4 Loyalty Drivers You Can Influence

A 2017 survey1 of 192,936 U.S. households found that 40.37% of consumers are not loyal to a hospital or health system for care. As a result of COVID-19, community members have been hesitant to seek care at all, leading to even less commitment or loyalty. As a result, hospitals need to first build back trust, then work to sustain loyalty–and these four drivers are significantly important focus areas.

Safety measures & PPE

Before COVID-19, you may have been a top choice in your community based on how new or “fancy” your facility is. Now, you’re being evaluated on how proactive and clear you are about the safety and cleanliness of your space. It’s no longer something patients will assume or take for granted–so make sure to overemphasize what you are doing to ensure the physical and psychological safety of your community.

Front-line worker support

More than ever, people are showing they care about the clinical providers and hospital staff. The way you supported your workforce during the pandemic speaks volumes to the community–and it doesn’t stop there. Consumers will keep watching to ensure you are prioritizing the wellbeing and safety of your workers.

Virtual
Options

The telehealth horse is out of the barn–and it isn’t going back. If you aren’t investing in the accessible, affordable virtual care capabilities that your particular community needs, you will struggle to gain their ongoing respect, trust, and loyalty. Additionally, offering virtual care hours to your providers can help preserve their engagement and health, too.

Trusted source of information

As partisan ideals continue to creep into healthcare, your consumers will struggle to know who to listen to: the CDC? The president? The governor? The mayor? Amid this chaos, present your organization as a neutral and reliable source of information that clearly cares for the health of your community more than any political position. Seek to be a transparent, trustworthy partner to your community.

Moments of Truth in the Patient Journey

Though it’s always important to focus on patient experience, there are certain moments in patients’ care journeys where they will be particularly attuned to the service they are receiving. In these moments, it is imperative to go beyond the basics to ensure not just satisfaction, but true loyalty.

 

Moments of Truth
Patient Satisfaction
Patient Loyalty
ED Visit Receives needed treatment from competent professionals Treats the patient’s immediate need but then a physician calls the next day to follow up personally
Admits/Transfers Performs admission or transfer smoothly and quickly Performs admission or transfer smoothly and quickly—and transition of care to inpatient provider team is seamless
Discharge Patient given clear instructions at the time of discharge and has materials to reinforce the instructions once they return home Handles the discharge through a care coordination center that acts as a navigator who continues to communicate and support their needs after they return home

How to Take a W.I.S.E. Approach to Patient Loyalty

The key to creating consistent patient experiences and ongoing loyalty is exceeding patient expectations on four fronts.

Wait Times

Manage expectations to improve perceptions. Give realistic expectations and overestimate rather than underestimate. Do not make statements such as “The doctor will be with you in one minute” or “I will go check and be back in five minutes to let you know.” Set yourself up for promises you can keep, not those you can’t.

Information Delivery

Share as much information as possible. Patients’ sense of uncertainty and psychological distress increases when they feel uninformed. Always promptly update patients on: delays, types & reasons for tests, diagnosis, reason for admission, discharge, current status

Symptom Reduction

Recognize that symptoms are subjective. Patients all experience pain and other symptoms in their own ways, and expect to be understood and treated accordingly. Poor symptom relief can actually be perceived by the patient as lack of caring.

Expressive Quality

Understand that faster is not necessarily better. Take time with each patient, be courteous, and express genuine concern. Patient satisfaction and ultimate loyalty is more affected by the expressive (caring) aspect of treatment than the technical (curing).

Dos & Don'ts of Patient Interactions

DO: Teach Providers How to Communicate at the Bedside
DO: Demonstrate the Importance of Involving Family/Caregivers When Appropriate
DO: Establish a Culture of Inclusion & Respect, Both Internally & Externally
DO: Create a Healthy Balance of Consistency & Creativity
DO: Share Specific Patient Feedback & Comments With Providers
The DON'Ts of Patient Interaction