If you are dissatisfied with your health care, can you get some money back? And if a health care organization was giving a money-back guarantee, how would you feel about its willingness to stand behind its services?
The article “It Pays to be Kind at Geisinger” describes an interesting new model at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., for which Baldrige Award recipient AtlantiCare is now part. Since August 2016, Geisinger has paid more than $400,000 in refunds to patients “whose experiences and expectations were not met with kindness and compassion.” Under the ProvenExperience initiative, patients can request refunds, from as little as $1 to more than $2,000, if they are dissatisfied with their hospital experience.
"The effort is to do it right for every patient every time,” said System President and CEO Dr. David Feinberg in the article. “Just like any legitimate or ethically sound business, you back your product. Except I think the stakes are higher. You want to reduce human suffering and promote good health. That's a pretty important product."
According to the article, he added, “The way I see it, if you go into Starbucks and you’re not happy with your order, they don’t sip your latte and argue that they made it correctly. They just take care of you on the spot. . . . What matters to me is that every patient is satisfied with their treatment and so I started thinking, ‘What is our guarantee? What is our refund?’”
This initiative is a disruptive event for the organization. As Feinberg says in the article, “We need to be disruptive to move the practice of providing a great patient experience forward and so the decision was made to give unsatisfied patients their money back.”
The Baldrige core value Organizational Learning and Agility supports disruptive events that can be triggered by innovative technologies or service introductions, economic upheaval or stress, major weather events, or social or societal demands.
Such an initiative may not be right for your organization, but have you thought about what disruption might change things in a beneficial direction for you?
For this health care organization, I see the ProvenExperience approach being supported in item 3.1 Voice of the Customer within the Baldrige Excellence Framework (Health Care), which includes the Baldrige Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence. This item is all about determining patient and other customer satisfaction and engagement, including (1) how listening methods differ among types of patients and other groups and (2) how measurements capture actionable information that can be used for securing patients’ engagement in the long-term. From the article, we don’t have information on what feedback the organization received from its patients and other customers to lead to the approach, deployment, learning, or integration of the ProvenExperience process, but we can deduce that it might certainly be part of a step toward securing patients’ engagement in the long-term.
An organization embarking on an approach to secure patient and customer loyalty and engagement might also check out Criteria item 1.1 Senior Leadership that considers the importance of creating a workforce culture that delivers a consistently positive experience for patients and other customers and that fosters customer engagement. Such a culture would be absolutely necessary to ensure that every patient or customer experience is met with kindness and compassion.
In addition, the Baldrige core value Patient-Focused Excellence and Organizational Learning and Agility supports such an approach and provides guidance on what an organization may need to consider to be successful:
Your patients and other customers are the ultimate judges of your performance and the quality of your health care services. Thus, your organization must consider all features and characteristics of patient care delivery . . . and all modes of customer access and support that contribute value to your patients and other customers. Such behavior leads to patient and other customer acquisition, satisfaction, preference, and loyalty; positive referrals; and, ultimately, the ongoing success of your business. . . . An additional factor is your organization’s management of patient and other customer relationships, which helps build trust, confidence, and loyalty.
So what disruption might spur your organization or your industry to consider a new way to secure customers’ long-term engagement and loyalty?