If you are at all like me, when you need information on a topic, you go to Google. Moreover, if the information you seek does not appear on Google, my mindset tells me the information does not exist. Google is perceived as the repository of all things written since a caveperson—although I do not think cavepersons are thought of as being politically correct—painted the design of the first iPad on the wall of the cave with the foreskin of a newt. If a particular idea or bit of information is not on Google, I tend to think the bit for which I am looking does not exist.
Because of the breadth and width of all the collected data, it is difficult to come up with a data request for which there is no response. Experience shows even if you search on a meaningless phrase, Google will return to you several links that match.
Until yesterday, at least for the search I entered—Family Experience Management (FEM). Of all the billions of bits of information, my search yielded one hit. Being curious, I clicked on the link, and the result did not even include the phrase.
So, we are entering unchartered territory, defining a new concept. This is a little like getting to name a new planet.
Patient Experience Management (PEM) is what got me thinking about the FEM concept, or the lack of the concept. As we discussed per the McKinsey study, PEM is at the top of the mind of most hospital CEOs and COOs for the next several years. The study also reported that although PEM is of such high priority, few hospitals are doing anything about PEM because hospital executives do not know who within their organization “owns” the patient.
Ignoring for the moment that this says something about one’s ability to lead, the value of a PEM initiative is it leads to patient retention, lower costs, and is good for business. PEM, as I look at it, is not limited to streamlining the ER, or allowing patients to park closer to the hospital. Good PEM enhances and improves every interaction the patient has with the hospital. The more interactions your PEM program touches, the more benefits to the hospital; at least that is the theory.
But, what if there is more to it? Is there a way to bring about more benefit by redefining and subsequently implementing a PEM program? I think there is.
Unlike other services people purchase, healthcare, purchased via a hospital, is purchased and “used” collaboratively; patients, family, and friends are all involved in many aspects of the service. People other than just the patient help with scheduling appointments, transportation, visiting, care, picking up medications, talking with doctors and nurses, billing, and interfacing with payers. It is kind of like MCI’s Friends and Family program, only the bill is much larger.
So, when hospitals begin to think through how to ‘manage’ the patient experience, managing the patient is but one of the stakeholders they ought to address. The other interesting takeaway from looking at FEM instead of simply PEM are the social CRM and social networking implications. As the number of stakeholders increases, so does the size of the social network that is willing to make their experience with the hospital the talk of the town.