Marketing technique hospitals can use to improve patient satisfaction

In a world where patients and consumers can look up healthcare prices and hospital ratings online, the industry faces increased competition and transparency, and must enhance patient experience to stay relevant, according to a recent Forbes piece.

Hospitals can use the RATER (Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy and Responsiveness) marketing framework to boost patient satisfaction, suggests author Punam Anand Keller, the Charles Henry Jones Third Century professor of management at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Here is how that model translates into a healthcare context:

  • Reliability. Hospitals must train employees to provide continuous care, pay attention to detail and create consistent positive patient experiences.

  • Assurance. Doctors and staff should talk openly with patients, provide the big picture issues and discuss specifics, Keller writes. Encourage a two-way conversation and consider hiring health coaches to help patients with concerns.

  • Tangibles. Give patients instructions for home care after treatment, tips to stay healthy or even glow-caps on prescription bottles to remind them to take their medicine. Patients need to feel like they received thorough care throughout the healthcare continuum.

  • Empathy. Make patients feel that they are heard and have a say in their treatment by communicating with sensitivity toward their values and aspirations, Keller writes.

  • Responsiveness. Don't overpromise immediate results. Manage patients' expectations while keeping them informed of their care plans.

Hospitals and health systems can use this system to brainstorm ways to improve service, and determine which services the organizations meets best, Keller writes.

To learn more:
- read the Forbes article