What hospitals can learn from other industries about consumer-driven care

By Bob Croce

In order for hospitals to stay competitive in the shift to consumer-driven care, organizations must focus on service, price transparency and quality. But the best model for this exceptional customer service isn't necessarily found in healthcare.

Hospital executives interviewed for FierceHealthcare's new eBrief, Hospitals Embrace Consumer-Driven Care, said they look outside the industry universe to better understand today's more educated healthcare consumers.

"I think that the healthcare systems who understand these new [customer-centric] realities are going to thrive and survive, and the others are going to be left behind," said William Cors, M.D., chief medical quality officer at Pocono Medical Center, a 200-bed community hospital in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. "It's as complicated--and it's as simple--as that."

Airica Steed, R.N., chief experience officer at University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health), said she studies the customer satisfaction models of several Global 1000 companies, including Disney, Southwest Airlines, Google, Ritz Carlton and Zappos.

She suggested healthcare organizations borrow customer satisfaction ideas from other industries to accelerate change and foster innovation.

By borrowing ideas from other industries, Steed created a patient experience navigator program, which assigns a staff member to each family throughout the care continuum. "It helps provide a personalized touch," says Steed, adding that the program is especially successful with multilingual patients.

UI Health also collects patient testimonials and uses secret shoppers to evaluate and validate its customer service practices. "We also pride ourselves in being very innovative with the capture and utilization of customer voice through patient experience surveys," she said.

To learn more:
- download the free eBrief, Hospitals Embrace Consumer-Driven Care