Why Are Prospective Patients (Consumers) Worth More Dead Than Alive?

When it comes to numbers, numbers don’t lie. At least most of them don’t

According to what I read online, the chemical makeup of a human body is worth about $4.50—about the price of a Happy Meal.

According to my research, the value of a patient over twenty-five years ranges between $180,000 and $250,000. Now I know many of you will want to argue that number, but whether or no you like my number, a patient is worth something, for if it wasn’t, your doors would not be open for business.

That said, it stands to reason that the more services provided to that patient over time will cause that person’s value to a health system to increase.

Now, here’s where I think things get curiouser and curiouser. How much value does the person on the phone have to your health system? Or, the person on your website trying to book their first appointment?

There are a number of different variables you can use and complex formulas you can develop to try to answer that question. But here is a much simpler way to understand what is at stake.

If you do not answer the phone, or if you do not provide a way for a visitor to meet their needs online, the value of that person is precisely zero.

With regard to your health system, they are worth $4.50 more dead than alive.

And yet your marketing department is still buying billboards and advertising on NPR trying to get people to call.

While most health systems know the term leakage, none of them knows, to any degree of certainty, what it means.  People leave the health system after they receive care.  We don’t know who, or when, or why.  We just know that some do.

But here is the scary part if you happen to be the CFO or Chief Marketing Officer.  I think that the leakage factor on the front-end of customer experience, or patient access–whatever you like to call it, may be 50 to 100 hundred times greater than at the back end.  Someone is calling to make their first appointment.  Someone else is calling to make their second appointment.  

Because the experience of making multiple calls and being placed on hold they do the only logical thing.  They hang up, and their value drops to zero.

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