According to a study by Deloitte, hospitals with high patient-reported experience scores have high profitability. Therefore, the latest marketing efforts by hospitals are focusing on patient experience to gain a competitive edge.
A recent article in the NY Times, highlighted efforts by the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital outside Detroit. At this hospital, patients arrive to uniformed valets and professional greeters. Wi-Fi service is free throughout the hospital. Patient meals are served on demand 24 hours a day. Members of the spa staff give in-room massages and other treatments.
Absolutely, clinical care is the focus of any medical center and is the utmost responsibility of a health care facility.
As hospitals cultivate the patient experience, they are moving towards hotel-inspired features. This includes all sorts of amenities as well as staff training. Medical researchers say such amenities can improve health outcomes by reducing stress and anxiety among patients. It has also been found that private rooms can cut down on the transfer of disease.
With the emphasis on the bottom line, hospitals market the patient experience. They want to create a loyal customer base. And, they need to attract patients with private insurance who have a choice in where they receive care. People are not just looking at the quality of care. After all, a routine appendectomy is a routine appendectomy. But, the hospital’s environment, comfort and convenience can make the difference in their choice.
This is very similar to the way the hospitality industry competes for business. They focus on providing a unique customer experience. this way hospitals are marketing by product line to specific households. Hence, they are focusing on the express environment that will help the patient “get better”.
Market the Patient Experience
For example, hospitals reach out to pre-natal households, emphasizing relaxing maternity suites with 24/7 visitation. Plastic surgeons tout exclusive 5-star in-room services. Gastroenterology departments market early morning colonoscopies with VIP treatment. OB and GYNs offer quality child-care during appointments.
According to Brooke Hollis, an associate director of Cornell’s Sloan Program in Health Administration, not all services need to be expensive. She noted that hospitals can also look for “low-cost, high-impact ideas”. The University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital offers airline-type amenity kits that include eye masks and ear plugs for patients in semiprivate rooms.
Marketing hospital programs and services is becoming more like marketing in the cruise industry. Therefore, by focusing on providing a complete patient experience, they are creating a loyal customer base. This way they are fostering an environment that promotes word-of-mouth recommendations.