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Highlights from the 2024 Experience Perspective

The 2024 Experience Perspective blends research insights with a perspective aimed at enriching strategies encompassing brand identity, consumer engagement, patient care, and employee experience.  

The NRC Health Team, led by Strategic Advisor Ryan Donohue, recently moderated a 2024 Experience Perspective webinar with Chief Transformation Officer Dr. Gregory Makoul, PhD, M.S., and Improvement Advisor Toya Gorley to discuss the latest findings.  

Here are some highlights: 

Part 1: Innovation Starts with Fundamentals 

Last year, NRC Health facilitated workshops during Becker’s Healthcare’s Annual Meeting and the HUB23 conference and found that participants rallied around two real-world declarations: success is all about follow-through; and it’s difficult to push for innovation when fundamentals aren’t being taken care of. 

Organizations are starting to understand that connecting the dots between experience, quality, safety, equity, and even brand is important,” says Makoul. “But if you think about it strategically, you realize that everything boils down to doing what matters. We should be making sure that all of the right things happen all the time and realizing that equity, or the lack of equity, is woven through every single decision and discussion. And all of this shapes the brand perception.” 

Fostering alignment across domains such as experience, quality, safety, equity, and brand can re-energize improvement efforts in health organizations, encouraging buy-in and emphasizing that these domains should not be treated in isolation or competition. Learning from how patients and consumers characterize these domains adds dimensionality to the big picture, transcending silos and emphasizing a holistic view of work for real progress on an experience of care that is more than the sum of its parts.  

“It is considered best practice to have an organizational definition or philosophy around patient experience,” says Gorley. “And this has to be more than just words on paper or on your badge backer or on screensavers. This should really be a true north for everyone in your organization to follow. I have seen throughout my career that organizations that have an actively involved, passionate CEO—their patient-experience programs tend to be stronger, more sustainable, more effective, and even more enjoyable.” 

Part 2: Understanding Detractors 

In recent years, many healthcare organizations have embraced NPS as a pivotal metric to monitor patient experience and assess loyalty. However, the emphasis has predominantly been on deciphering and cultivating Promoters, delving into what prompts individuals to give high likelihood-to-recommend scores.  

Additionally, there’s a common misconception that converting Passive respondents to Promoters in the future should be easier, given their proximity to the NPS scale. Contrary to this belief, our NRC Health research reveals the opposite. Organizations would benefit equally by focusing on understanding patients who have undergone profoundly negative experiences, because healthcare Detractors exhibit forgiveness and are just as likely, if not more likely, to become Promoters in the future, compared to Passive respondents.  

“Detractors are healthcare’s misunderstood stakeholders,” says Makoul. “Promoters tend to talk about things like, ‘Well, they answered my questions, and I felt comfortable. They took the time, they explained things, and the staff was friendly.’ And the Detractors are talking about waiting time: ‘It’s hard to schedule an appointment. I felt rushed.’” 

Given the potential counterintuitive nature of this discovery, we conducted a deeper examination into one of healthcare’s most misunderstood stakeholders: Detractors. From all we’ve learned, what Detractors missed was usually a care team that paid attention to their journey from start to finish and: 

  • Connected—knew their medical histories and answered their questions 
  • Listened—earned their trust by paying close attention to them 
  • Partnered—provided information and encouraged input into their care 

Part 3: Emerging Trends 

An array of interconnected trends converges on a crucial realization: healthcare consumers and patients now have unprecedented access to information, services, and care. To stay relevant, health systems increasingly prioritize the consumer journey beyond their physical and virtual boundaries and transcending traditional notions of patient care. 

The Experience Perspective in 2024 moves the needle even further, disrupting patient experience by driving a shift in mindset toward action and co-designing care, patients’ use of retail clinics, the patient’s preferred location for care, loyalty, and digital adoption.  

Starting with the belief that innovation emerges from timeless truths, a One Big Dot perspective re-frames ideas with shared purpose and meaning. Human Understanding, achieved through a listen-partner-connect approach, has clear returns—and stakeholder accountability makes them real. Elevating the voices of consumers and communities gets us closer to them. Understanding Detractors and bridging gaps allows us to make corrections, not just on par with expectations, but also to boldly alter the path after mistakes are made in the first place. 

These trends point to the criticality of paying attention and staying focused on appropriate issues to innovate in ways that better anticipate real-world needs. Human Understanding is the glue that holds every aspect of the experience together, because healthcare is all about human care.  

ACCESS YOUR COPY: Get your copy of NRC Health’s 2024 Experience Perspective. 

WATCH THE WEBCAST ON-DEMAND: Unpack the results with our presenters.