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In case you missed it: The five most popular articles from 2018

Looking over the past year, it is no surprise that we have had a plethora of topics to discuss.  The importance of patient loyalty, patient preferences and convenience factors, the speed of patient feedback and the growing revolution to embrace customer-obsession are all areas to which our leaders have turned their attention. In all these areas, we strive to deliver insightful, useful content to help healthcare leaders navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape, and to continuously keep the focus on individual patients.

As the year comes to a close, we thought it would be appropriate to look back on the content we’ve produced, and surface the pieces that seemed to resonate with you the most.

Here are our most popular articles from 2018.

  1. Competing with themselves—Hackensack Meridian Health’s formula for excellence in care

Elizabeth Paskas, VP of Experience, Innovation, and Customer Services at Hackensack Meridian Health, would be the first to tell you: she and her colleagues like to compete. “We’re very competitive,” she said. “But what we’re competing over isn’t volume. It’s about the quality of service. We’re competitive because we believe in the services we provide. If you come to us, we want to give you the absolute best chance of surviving and returning to normal life as soon as possible.”

That commitment may be behind the slew of accolades awarded to Hackensack Meridian Health, and its outstanding reputation in New Jersey. But how did Hackensack Meridian Health harness its team members’ competitive spirit to create an outstanding care experience for its patients?

Read this article to discover the concrete strategies that drive the organization’s patient-centered approach to care, as seen through the eyes of Elizabeth and her colleague Bridget Alston, Hackensack Meridian Health’s director of Evidence-Based Research, Coaching, and Innovation.

  1. CareMount Medical focuses on the individual—evolving care and culture

In capable hands, the right tools can make a world of difference at an institution. Few hands have proved themselves more capable than those of the physicians, employees, and members of the patient-experience team at CareMount Medical.

A large healthcare system in New York State, CareMount deployed the Real-time feedback solution across their organization in July 2017. Since then, they’ve seen all the benefits one might expect from a Real-time rollout. But they’ve encountered some astonishing surprises as well.

In this article, Jason Ruda, MS, CareMount’s Director of Patient Experience, weighs in on the unique ways the system found to work with Real-time—and the unexpected benefits that came from it, including a life-saving intervention.

  1. Ease is the new experience: Why making care easy will keep patients coming back

Your hold on your customers may be less secure than you think.

Many healthcare leaders take pride in their organizations’ exceptional care, and believe that the care experiences they provide form a lasting bond between patient and institution. They might think—or hope—that patients rarely leave a provider they like. However, research from NRC Health and MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio, suggests that a great experience is not enough to keep patients coming back. The threshold for patient loyalty is, in fact, startlingly low: 80 percent of patients in an NRC Health survey reported that “convenience factors” alone would be enough to make them switch.

Read this article to learn the opinions of MetroHealth’s Chief Experience Officer, Dr. Sara Laskey, on the topic of convenience. Additionally, you may want to think about this question yourself: “What have you done to make things easier for your patients?”

  1. Only in healthcare

Healthcare is an exceptional industry. No other sector of the economy functions quite like it; it’s awash in contradictions. It’s a free market with constricted choices; it’s tightly regulated but difficult to control; and while nobody wants to become a patient, nearly everyone will at some point.

We’ve said it before: many organizations operate with an “if you build it, they will come” mentality. Daily, we see examples of flaws in this reasoning. It also gives rise to another kind of exceptionalism, of which the healthcare industry should not be proud.

Read this article to understand why health organizations, like any kind of business, depend on their reputations. They’re subject to disruption from competition. Most importantly, and now more than ever before, they’re accountable to their customers.

That means patients need a reason to keep coming back to you. Don’t let an “only in healthcare” mentality keep your organization from giving it to them.

  1. What do you really know about patient loyalty?

For any business, it’s hard to thrive without loyal consumers. Healthcare is no exception.

The numbers on the balance sheet bear this out. Returning patients bolster revenues—the average lifetime health spending is about $1.4 million per individual, or $4.2 million per family.

Caring for loyal patients is also more cost-effective. When patients come back, they don’t need to go through repeated onboarding processes, and they’re less likely to receive the kind of redundant tests and screenings that drain hundreds of thousands of dollars from hospital coffers every year.

And the efficiencies aren’t just financial. Health systems have a much easier time coordinating care when patients stick with them. That reduces the chance of miscommunication between providers, and improves compliance with post-discharge orders.

The bottom line: loyal patients are invaluable. They drive revenue up, drive costs down, and end up healthier than their disloyal counterparts. But health-system leaders still struggle to cultivate loyalty from their patients. Why?

Read this article to learn about the three persistent loyalty myths that cause organizations to misdirect their patient-experience efforts.

Stay tuned for more exciting content to come in 2019. We’re looking forward to another year of bringing patient perspectives into focus! Thank you again for reading.