Patient Experience Management–What would Oprah do?

If you watch too much television your brain will fry. Sometimes I feel like mine is in a crepe pan that was left sitting on the stove too long. Two nights ago I’m watching Nova or some comparable show on PBS. The topic of the show was to outline all the events that took place that helped Einstein discover that the energy of an object is equal to its mass times the speed of light squared, better known as E=mc². It was presented to the audience at a level that might best be described as physics for librarians, which was exactly the level at which I needed to hear it. It’s physics at a level that is suitable for conversation at Starbucks or any blog such as this.

So here’s what I think I understood from the show. It tracked the developments of math and physics in the 100 years prior to Einstein’s discovery. The dénouement appeared to occur when Einstein and his fiancée were riding in the bow of the small boat. Apparently, he was leaning over the side of the boat and noticed that the waves generated by the front of the boat moved at the same speed as the boat. He then noted that fact only held true for those persons in the boat, who were in fact, traveling at the same rate of speed. However for those persons watching from the shore, that same wave was not only moving slower than the boat it got further behind over time. Some other things occurred, yada, yada, yada, and there you have it. Clearly, the details are in the yada, yadas.

So here’s what happens when you watch too much television. As I’m running this morning somehow my mind takes pieces from that show and staples them together to yield the following. Let’s go back to the equation E=mc². For purposes of this discussion I’ll redefine the variables, so that:

E = the percentage of Patient Complaints/Inquiries.
m = Patient in-bound calls.
c = number of Patients

If this were true–this is an illustration, not an axiom–the number of complaints to a healthcare provider is equal to the number of in-bound calls times the square of the number of patients. So as the number of calls increases the number of complaints/questions increases and as the number of patients increases the number of complaints increases exponentially. Of course this is made up, but there appears to be a grain of truth to it. I think we can agree that a reasonable goal for a healthcare provider is to decrease the number of complaints and inquiries and to shift a hefty percentage of inquiries to some form of internet self-service vehicle.

I think sometimes the way providers assess the issue of Patient Experience Management  (PEM) is by looking at how much money is spent trying to solve the problem. Some think that if one provider has three times as many people handling calls as another provider that the provider with three times as many people must be more interested in taking care of the their patients, and might even be better at PEM.  I don’t support that belief. I think it can be demonstrated that the provider with the most Patient Service Representatives, and the most toys deployed probably has the most problems with their patients. I don’t think it’s a chicken and egg argument. If expenditures to handle patient complaints and questions increase year after year and resources are deployed continuously to solve the same types of problems, I think it’s a sign that the provider and its patients are growing more and more dysfunctional.

How does this tie to Einstein and his boat? Perhaps the Einsteins are those who work with the provider; those who are moving at the same speed, those in lockstep. From their vantage point, the waves and the boat, like the provider and its patients, are all moving forward at the same speed. Perhaps only the people standing along the shore are able to see what is actually occurring; the waves distance themselves from the boat in much the same way that the patients distance themselves from the provider.

Social media isn’t what it never was.

Social media isn’t what it never was.

The term ‘social media’ is too polite to effectively communicate its importance to what it means for healthcare.  To me, Social Media sounds more like a coffee clutch or a discussion that would take place on Oprah or on The View.

Social media (SM) is often a targeted, violent dialogue fraught with vitriol.  There is nothing convivial or social about it.  It is not undertaken with your organization’s permission or its wellbeing in mind.

It may be easier to understand what it is not than to describe what it is.  SM is not B2B Facebook—it is not throngs of people who want to friend your organization and share nice comments about what it does.  SM usually begins with someone who has a bone to pick with your organization.  Their intent is to fan the flames of their discontent and turn it into a digital conflagration.  It need not be fair or honest.  For the most part SM is propaganda, and its purpose is to sway others to the propagandist’s way of thinking.

If your firm is looking at how to participate in SM, it is best to begin with an understanding of the ground rules—you have some, your opponents do not.  Their approach is like guerilla warfare.  Who knows where they will appear next.  Twitter, Youtube, blogging?

Most organizations who are considering enhancing their SM presence look at it as in IT initiative—enhance the web site, put up a Facebook page, maybe even starting to Twitter.  Just so you know, none of the opposition is throwing social jabs at your IT department.  IT can get you a presence.  What the presence consists of belongs to the likes of marketing, operations, and the executives.

If you have a good PR firm, pull them into the conversation.  It will be like taking your firm to a therapist and starting its own twelve-step program.

Patient Relationship Management (PRM)

If you watch too much television your brain will fry. Sometimes I feel like mine is in a crepe pan that was left sitting on the stove too long. Two nights ago I’m watching Nova or some comparable show on PBS. The topic of the show was to outline all the events that took place that helped Einstein discover that the energy of an object is equal to its mass times the speed of light squared, better known as E=mc². It was presented to the audience at a level that might best be described as physics for librarians, which was exactly the level at which I needed to hear it. It’s physics at a level that is suitable for conversation at Starbucks or any blog such as this.

So here’s what I think I understood from the show. It tracked the developments of math and physics in 100 years prior to Einstein’s discovery. The dénouement appeared to occur when Einstein and his fiancée were riding in the bow of the small boat. Apparently, he was leaning over the side of the boat and noticed that the waves generated by the front of the boat moved at the same speed as the boat. He then noted that fact only held true for those persons in the boat, who were in fact, traveling at the same rate of speed. However for those persons watching from the shore, that same wave was not only moving slower than the boat it got further behind over time. Some other things occurred, yada, yada, yada, and there you have it. Clearly, the details are in the yada, yadas.

So here’s what happens when you watch too much television. As I’m running this morning somehow my mind takes pieces from that show and staples them together to yield the following. Let’s go back to the equation E=mc². For purposes of this discussion I’ll redefine the variables, so that:
E = the percentage of Patient Complaints/Inquiries.
m = Patient in-bound calls.
c = number of Patients
If this were true–this is an illustration, not an axiom–the percentage of complaints in the call centers of an healthcare provider is equal to the number of in-bound calls times the square of the number of patients. So as the number of calls increases the number of complaints/questions increases and as the number of patients increases the number of complaints increases exponentially. Of course this is made up, but there appears to be a grain of truth to it. As a number of calls increase the percentage of complaints is likely to increase, and as the number of patients increases there will probably be an even greater increase in the percentage of complaints incurred. I think we can agree that a reasonable goal for a healthcare provider is to decrease the percentage of complaints and perhaps to shift a hefty percentage of inquiries to some form of internet self-service vehicle.

I think sometimes the way providers like to assess the issue of Patient Relationship Management  (PRM) is by looking at how much money providers throw at the problem. I think some people think that if one provider has 2 call centers, and another provider has 3 call centers, that the provider with 3 must be more interested in taking care of the their patients, and might even be better at PRM.  I don’t support that belief. I think it can be demonstrated that the provider with the most call centers, and most Patient Service Representatives, and the most toys deployed probably has the most problems with their patients. I don’t think it’s a chicken and egg argument. If expenditures increase year after year, and resources are deployed continuously to solve the same types of problems, I think it’s a sign that the provider and its patients are growing more and more dysfunctional.

How does this tie to Einstein and his boat? Perhaps the Einsteins are those who work with the provider; those who are moving at the same speed, those in lockstep. From their vantage point, the waves and the boat, like the provider and its patients, are all moving forward at the same speed. Perhaps only the people standing along the shore are able to see what is actually occurring; the waves distance themselves from the boat in much the same way that the patients distance themselves from the provider.

PRM is such an easy way to see large improvements accrue to the provider, especially using social media.

We made it to the bigs

Somehow, my social media article healthsystemcio.com made the top story of Chime Healthcare CIO SmartBrief.  http://ow.ly/2snrU

Not bad for a metaphorical tomato thrower.

Thanks for playing along.

The Services We Offer

What we have here is a failure to communicate, and unfortunately the failure is mine.

It has been a week of learning.  According to one of the thought leaders in healthcare, whom I’ve known for more than a year, he does not understand what services my firm offers hospitals, and he thinks others may have the same problem.

He suggested it would be helpful to spell it out, service by service.  So here goes.

Program Management:

We work with hospital CIOs and COOs as their advocate by serving as the program management officer (PMO).  We define functional requirements, select software, and manage IT applications vendors for enterprise applications like EHR, CRM, and ERP.

Operational Efficiency:

We work with the hospital C-suite to identify, define, and implement a unique set of business processes and business rules, eliminating duplicated processes and those which do not add value.  The output is a single set of best practices processes and rules.

Change Management:

Enterprise applications will alter business processes and impact most employees and patients.  Without a rigorous change management effort, the impact of the application on the hospital’s processes and people will be a disaster.  We figure out what must change, how it will change, and how to pull it off.

Patient Relationship Management (PEM):

This is the hospital equivalent of Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  On a PEM project we define the requirements, select an application vendor, define the processes, and manage the project to completion.

Please let me know if you need help with any of these.

Patient Relationship Management (PRM)-grab the ball

My newest post on healthsystemCIO.com.  http://healthsystemcio.com/2010/07/07/patient-relationship-management-prm-grab-the-ball/

Why can nobody lead?