CEM and the Voice of the Patient

By: Lisa Sigler

May 13, 2015

CEM Programs
CEM Solutions

Healthcare is a major topic of public discourse right now. One of the many issues being discussed is the evolution of healthcare providers’ view of patients as customers.

While some doctors are concerned about the implications of this shift, there is no denying that customer service and satisfaction ratings are increasingly important in medicine. In fact, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provisions that require customer satisfaction to be addressed directly. Compliance is determined based on specific ratings that emphasize patient care and satisfaction, using national clinical and service-quality measures, health outcomes, and patient feedback as sources of data.

Created by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS), these CMS 5-Star Quality Ratings use clinical quality metrics as well as patient satisfaction and experience surveys to award providers with a rating of up to five stars. The goal is to allow healthcare customers to make better-informed choices and to improve patient outcomes and overall experience.

Taking a page from the business community, smart healthcare and health plan providers are turning to Customer Experience Management principles to make the shift to patient-as-customer. In addition to hiring Chief Patient Experience officers and including patient experience metrics as part of their strategic goals, they are also investing in technology to capture Voice of the Patient feedback and use it to make changes that impact 5-Star Quality Ratings.

This is necessary because, like customers in any other industry, healthcare consumers are increasingly taking to social media and review sites to share their feelings about their favorite (and less-than-favorite) healthcare providers. Text analytics and sentiment analysis enable providers to really hear and quickly identify what patients are saying. Combined with other sources of data, such as survey results and demographic information, this comprehensive view of the patient experience allows providers to create a plan of attack to reduce patient complaints and increase plan responsiveness.

While healthcare is a unique industry – it provides a fundamentally necessary service that virtually no one actually wants – the ability to listen to patients, determine their customer service needs, and act on those insights is identical to those in any other industry. Equipping patient experience personnel to listen to the Voice of the Patient effectively enables healthcare providers to comply with federal guidelines, improve bottom-line performance, and make patients happier. And after all, happiness is a good starting point for everyone’s well-being.

For more information about how healthcare providers can use CEM strategies to comply with ACA guidelines, listen to the pre-recorded webinar on the topic featuring Anna Daly, the Healthcare Practice Leader for Clarabridge partner Pandera Systems, leaders in applied decision sciences.