Let’s imagine for a moment you’re in the market for a new car. Your current one is a wreck – it is belching black smoke out of the back, it’s covered in rust, the electrics are shot and you never know from one day to the next, whether you’re going to make it to your destination. It’s so bad in fact, you can leave the windows down and the keys in the ignition all night in your questionable neighbourhood and have complete confidence it will still be there in the morning… maybe because it’s so ugly, no-one wants to touch it or perhaps because would-be car thieves just can’t figure out how to get the thing started.

But that’s not important – you’ve been saving hard and now you have a tidy $5,000 in your pocket. It’s not enough to get you a brand new car but will afford you something respectable at least. A 2nd-hand SUV is what you want, just a few years old – and so you head off to the dealership to choose your next car.

You get to the dealership and it’s huge… overwhelmingly huge in fact and it’s jam packed full of cars. There’s every color imaginable and every make under the sun, each car shouting silently “buy me, buy me” in your imagination. This is the time to make your choice and you’ve got to get it right. A bad choice could see you suffer for years to come as you’ll have to start saving again from scratch whilst painfully being reminded on a daily basis of your poor decision as you step into your car – so how are you going to do it?

Well first of all, you need an SUV so anything that doesn’t fit into that category is not an option. Next you take a quick scan of the SUVs available. Some are great, some mediocre and some are no better than the car you already have so obviously, you choose to focus solely on the ones that in your mind look great and you head in for a closer inspection. When you do, you get to look at the finer detail. One of them has a torn front seat… that’s not going to be comfortable. Another has a faulty dashboard light and looks a little dirty – maybe it’s not been looked after in it’s previous life. So you’ve narrowed your decision down to two and they seem perfect. They’re clean, in great condition and as you step in for a closer look, a friendly sales person comes over to greet you and show you around them both.

The first one seems nice and it is checking most of the boxes. Everything functions as it should and you feel you could be happy if you bought this SUV… but then you get to look around the second one and it’s perfect. It’s just like the first… but there’s that something extra. It’s the little things you notice. The polished chrome, the extra cup-holder, the in car entertainment system is just that little bit better… even the fragrance of the upholstery is somehow nicer.
You love it and the sales person takes you inside to go through the paperwork where you find out even more great news. The emissions are low, it’s only had one owner from new, it’s had a recent service and it’s got four new tyres … everything seems perfect. But let’s not get carried away too quickly. This is a make of car you’ve never heard of and so you phone a friend to see if they know anything about them. The news is good, your friends says that it’s a good car and you move forward with confidence and make the deal.

What you don’t know about this car however, is that just a few weeks earlier – this car was “the runt of the litter”. It came into the dealership with lots of problems… faulty lights, stained carpets, shredded tires, the in car entertainment unit had been lost and there were problems with the engine. But the dealership saw the potential and spent time and effort running their own rigorous tests, identifying all of the faults and turning the car into the something which the customer saw as a thing of beauty and wanted to spend his or her money on.

It’s a completely made up story of course… but there are similarities in the way that a person might choose a new car or choose where to have their next medical procedure done. A quick scan to rule out hospitals that aren’t relevant, then a look at their performance measures to weed out the bad and mediocre hospitals before moving in for a closer inspection. Eventually there’s the choice of two… a hospital that delivers a good overall patient experience and another. One which hadn’t been so good to begin with, but which invested time and effort into its own internal measurement and reporting systems to transform how it was seen by its patients. What really stood it apart from the rest, was the attention to detail – the little things which wouldn’t be picked up through mandated government surveys such a HCAHPS. The smell of the linen, the cleanliness of the carpet, the addition of a bed-side table, the lighting, the effectiveness of the air conditioning, even what’s on the TV. These are all things which can only be found out by completing on-site patient surveys at the point of care… and they’re all things which could make a big difference to your bottom line.

Here at HCXP – we live and breathe the patient experience. Our unique tablet based electronic surveys allow your patients to provide direct feedback about every aspect of your hospital. That means you can identify problems and make improvements faster than ever before so that when a potential patient is facing the overwhelming task of choosing where to have their medical procedure, you’ll be the shiny car in the car lot that’s got that little bit extra.

To talk about improving the patient experience in your medical facility, contact us right now on 707.654.HCXP (4297)

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