Last fall I attended a talk given by James Merlino, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic. Merlino serves as chief experience officer, where he leads a variety of initiatives designed to create a better patient experience from first point of contact through discharge.
The idea behind the movement is twofold:
- Most people have grown accustomed to companies catering to their every need in every other aspect of their lives.
- Patients are going to be increasingly able to “shop around” when it comes to where they receive their healthcare.
Dr. Merlino stressed that a major part of providing a better experience to patients is by doing a better job managing their expectations. That burden of communication, furthermore, was going to fall on the shoulders of marketers.
So what are you doing to reach your patients?
Patients have long grown to expect an impersonal experience at your office, a long wait in your lobby reading old magazines, or too brief of a visit with the specialist they came to meet.
Let’s shift those expectations.
There are obvious organizational challenges this shift presents, but we can start by picking off the low-hanging fruit. For example, by taking the time to convey a consistent message on your website and in printed materials of what patients can expect during a specific procedure or visit can go a long way in allaying their concerns and creating a sense of trust.
It never ceases to amaze me how popular patient forms and patient education are on our healthcare websites. On some level, patients simply want to know what to expect from their caregiver.
Don’t miss that opportunity to shape your patients’ expectations in a positive way.