Can people do business with your hospital, and why is that important? It seems these questions are easy enough question to answer, but how do you know the answers if you’ve never watched people trying to do business with your hospital?
Permit me to offer an illustration. I dropped my phone and shattered the screen, breaking the touchpad and the LCD.
He was my plan of attack. I called Verizon, my provider. Verizon values customers at between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the total number of services each subscriber has. Figuring I was valuable to them, it occurred to me that they would want to help me find a solution for my broken phone. I was wrong.
The Verizon representative at the store told me that since I did not have an upgrade available to me until mid-March, my only option was to purchase a new phone at the retail price. Verizon would not waive the intervening three weeks.
I then checked with a place that repairs phones. They could fix my phone for $200.
I then checked with T-Mobile. In less than an hour I had a new Samsung Note, and had unlimited talk, text, and data for $80 a month — Verizon did not offer an unlimited plan. An unlimited plan with T-Mobile will cost me less than what I was paying for a limited plan with Verizon. T-Mobile did not require me to sign a contract. If fact, they even paid the penalty Verizon charged for cancelling my agreement.
Two companies, supposedly in the same business, provided vastly different results.
T-Mobile wanted my business, and they made it easy for me to do business with them.
Which company most resembles how easy it is for people who try to do business with your hospital? How do you know? If you are a hospital executive, have you watched someone try to schedule an appointment or a lab? Have you listened to them on a call? You did not watch them trying to do it from your hospital’s website because they cannot schedule an appointment from the website.
Have you watched them trying to provide your hospital with a referral, trying to pre-admit themselves, trying to order their medical records, or trying to learn how to submit a claim or to understand their bill? Only by observing people trying to do business with your hospital will you understand their frustrations. You see, people need two things from your hospital; they need care, and they need to be able to do business with you in an effective and efficient manner.
These people — your patients/customers — have a value over 25 years of somewhere between $180,000 and $250,000. If you are not easy for them to do business with they will make it their mission in life to find a hospital that is.
[This piece was originally published on Paul Roemer’s blog, Health IT Strategy. To follow him on Twitter, click here.]
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