February 22, 2017 Ask Owen

The Difference Between Customer Service and Patient Experience

Changes in how healthcare is paid for in the U.S. are transforming the patient-provider relationship. The transition from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement is prompting more providers to focus on the entire patient experience rather than outcomes alone.

At the same time, higher premiums and deductibles are forcing consumers to pay more out of their own pockets for healthcare — making them more willing to shop around for providers that best meet their raised expectations.

“With this increased focus on quality, there has been an expansion in the emphasis upon all the things that might contribute to quality,” says Christine Holt, chief experience officer for Holy Redeemer Health System, an integrated system in southeastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey.

“There is a big difference between customer service and customer experience,” Holt said. “The goal of customer service is to provide service quality and efficiency that results in satisfaction. Patient experiences should go way beyond this to create strong relationships with patients based on an emotional connection. Experiences produce loyalty.”

Attendees at HIMSS17 can hear Holt and fellow presenter Nancy Ragont, senior manager of customer insights for CDW Healthcare, explain the connection between more satisfied and engaged patients and better outcomes in a one-hour education session titled “The Patient Experience Paradigm.”

Holy Redeemer launched an initiative to transform the patient experience and empower patients to be equal partners in their care and, in so doing, ultimately determined that orchestrating a cohesive patient experience takes an entire team.

Holt and Ragont will explore how innovative healthcare organizations are taking action to redefine the patient experience across the complete care lifecycle. Holt will share the organization’s patient experience transformation journey and how technology is integrated throughout.

“Delivery of exceptional experiences starts with a vision of the well-orchestrated, personalized experience you are trying to create, down to the detail of the emotions you want to infuse into the experience,” she said. “Technology should support the experience vision and the emotional connection you wish to deliver.”

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