If you have fifteen minutes, you can learn exactly what your patients and members and customers think of your health system and their health insurance firm.
I offer this as an exercise for your organization’s executive leadership because they are the only ones who can make a difference. And, they because they are the ones the most removed from understanding what patients and members and customers actually experience.
It is a casebook Catch-22 in its purest form. If they already knew the outcome of what I want them to do during this fifteen minutes and have not taken any steps to solve the problem, they would be negligent for having not solved the problem. If they did not know the outcome of what I want them to do during this fifteen minutes, they would be negligent for having not asked the question.
To complete the exercise you will need a:
- Board room
- Board or your executive leadership team
- Phone—any phone will do
In this exercise, we will focus on providers, but it works the exact same way with payers. Note: the exercise must be done on a weekday before 6 PM.
Assemble the group; the board or your executive team. Login to the laptop and navigate to your website. Using your time wisely, try to schedule an appointment.
It did not work, did it? I knew that without even having to call the psychic hotline.
Half of all of your patients and family members and caregivers and prospective patients attempted to complete this step and one hundred percent of them got the same result you did.
Thirteen minutes left. Call your health system and try to schedule an appointment. Does anyone know what number to dial? (In order to actually schedule and appointment, it will take much longer than the thirteen minutes you have left, and it will probably take at least two calls. But in those thirteen minutes, you should get a pretty good feel for what it is like to be a patient or family member or caregiver or prospective patient.)
I do this exercise and others prior to speaking with executives. I pretend to be a new patient, new to the area, and someone who does not remember the name of my payer. The best results I achieved required thirty-seven minutes and two calls.
The CEO of a very large health system recently tried to schedule an appointment for himself by phone. He failed. He is now buying tens of millions of dollars of call center stuff. That will not solve his problem, but he did not want to hear that.
To those health systems that want me to award them partial credit because their website allows someone to find a doctor, guess again. People who go to the website for American Airlines, do not go to the site to find a flight. They go to the site to purchase a ticket.
Patients and customers who go through the trouble of going to your website or calling your firm do so for one reason—they want to do something.
Now that you know what it is like to be a patient or family member or caregiver or customer, think about redesigning how they experience your system.