If You Think Your Patient Experience Delivery is Good, Think Again.

patient experience gapThings are bad, and they’re getting worse. There’s a huge disconnect between the patient’s perception of experience in healthcare and what healthcare thinks it’s delivering. That’s according to a new study of The State of Consumer Healthcare from GE Healthcare Camden Group and Prophet, a global brand consultancy.

America’s healthcare consumers have radically transformed from “passive patients” to savvy consumers who are empowered with provider choices and purchase options. Newfound customer expectations for convenience, reasonable costs and service experience are tough and demanding, and by this analysis, the healthcare industry isn’t adequately answering the challenge.

How bad is it? “An alarming 81 percent of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience, and the happiest consumers are those who interact with the system the least,” according to the report. Some 75 percent of frequent healthcare consumers, and 48 percent of all other healthcare consumers are frustrated [with their experience.]

“For decades, the U.S. healthcare industry has pursued an economic model focused on ‘fee for service,’ which has in turn inhibited transparency, competition, and innovation—and consumers are noticing.

“The same revolution of consumerism that’s shaking up the way the world buys financial services, airline tickets and groceries is finally underway in healthcare. And as healthcare options multiply, this trend will only accelerate.”

In this assessment, providers—who may or may not be aware of the reported gap—do not appear to appreciate consumers’ expectation shortfall, overestimate the quality of the experience they deliver, and/or misjudge the perception of their performance, giving too much credit for those things that are most important to consumers.

What is the critical lesson for healthcare?

The Prophet/GE Healthcare study—based on responses from 3,000 consumer and 300 senior leaders in healthcare—was “created to understand the consumer healthcare experience by assessing the gap between patient and providers’ expectations and perceptions, and arm institutions with the ability to assess their own organization, define a successful strategy, and deliver on it.”

More critically, “Providers who are ready to respond by creating a strong patient experience are going to win, and those who aren’t will be left behind.”

The case for innovation and re-inventing patient experience…

“Patient experience must go beyond fixing what’s broken,” this report observes, “and focus on building unique, brandable experiences.” In particular, a new approach to patient experience that is holistic in nature—beyond the clinical aspect—is required to produce a strong return and increases in customer satisfaction scores.

More information about the State of Consumer Healthcare study is available online. We’d like to know what you think. Is there a consumer-provider gap in patient experience delivery?

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

About Stewart Gandolf, MBA

Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is both the Publisher of PatientExperience.com and the Co-Founder of Healthcare Success. Stewart has written for dozens of leading healthcare publications and spoken at hundreds of venues on a variety of topics including marketing, reputation management and patient experience. Additionally, he has personally consulted for over 1,500 hospitals and practices. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Stewart worked for leading advertising agencies including J. Walter Thompson.

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