Put the ‘i’ in Discharge and Increase Satisfaction Scores

Posted on July 2, 2013

Three words are crucial to your rural hospital's revenue stream - and they all begin with "i":  "Simplicity." "Satisfaction." "Success."

Come again?

Some progressive CAHs are simplifying the discharge process with an "i" on technology. Here's how it works …

Your staff follows the discharge process your hospital currently has in place. But suddenly your patients no longer have the stress of remembering all of the critical discharge details. Why? Because the nurse is recording the entire conversation on an iPad (or similar) touch device.

It's a value-add that delivers on two levels:

  • Your hospital has a record of the discharge process, which can be used for staff training or administrative purposes.
  • More importantly, recording the discharge process can simplify patients' lives and show them you care about their health - even after they leave your hospital.
  • Patients and their caregivers know they can play back the discharge instructions when they get home. That can create a more positive experience for them, i.e., increased patient satisfaction scores.

But why stop there? Consider building out your patient website. Include videos and other resources that address common issues faced by recently discharged patients. For example, some patients may have questions about how to use a walker or crutches correctly. Others may benefit from a video that illustrates how to change a dressing.

Think about all that "i" can do for your hospital …

Then keep your "i"s on the prize: Increased satisfaction. Increased success. Increased revenue.

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What’s the Big Hoopla about Employee Videos?

Posted on July 9, 2013

Happy employees make for happy patients. And happy patients mean loyal patients and more referrals.

Black River Memorial Hospital in Black River Falls, Wisconsin recognized this correlation. So after being named one of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare in 2012 and 2011, hospital staff created a video to showcase its exceptional employee engagement and to help promote its orthopaedic services.

Click here to watch Black River Memorial Hospital staff as they learn to hula hoop, laugh and show off their hula hooping skills. You can share your reaction to the video using #dothehoopla on Twitter.

The production of this video involved nothing more than a handheld camera, but it had a major impact on the hospital and the community. If you, your hospital board or your hospital physicians are on the fence about doing a video, it's important to understand that fun videos can:

  1. Increase employee morale-immediately and in the future
    1. When we started to film the video, many of the employees were timid. But once they got going, they had a blast! They taught each other how to hula hoop, encouraged one another to join in and laughed through it all. It was clear there was true employee morale building. Even better, videos have a long shelf life, so they can continue to lift employee spirits in the future.
  2. Promote a service line that typically is not normally considered exciting
    1. Black River Memorial Hospital chose to promote its orthopaedic services with its hoopla video. As a result, orthopaedics has received much more attention from the community. People want to watch the video. Because of that, they are seeing that BRMH has advanced orthopaedic capabilities, which will increase orthopaedic patient visits.
  3. Support the hospital's awards
    1. BRMH has received awards for their engaged and happy employees, but the community may not really understand what that means. The hoopla video demonstrates the hospital employees' happiness and shows the community that the hospital employees actively support the advertising campaign. Since people are more likely to go to a hospital where employees are happy and enjoying their work, a video such as this is perfect.
  4. Keep employees healthy
    1. When production ended, many BRMH employees decided to go buy their own hula hoops to use at home.

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Upcoming Webinar- Using quality data to improve employer relationships and patient volumes

Posted on July 16, 2013

Learn how Holy Family Memorial, a rural hospital in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, changed its delivery and promotion of care to increase revenue by attending the July 30th webinar hosted by Vice President of Business Development at Holy Family Memorial Mary Maurer and Legato Healthcare Marketing President Mike Milligan. Sign up here.

A hospital should be proud of high quality ratings, as they tell patients your organization values their health and their lives. Too often, however, healthcare marketers list numbers and rattle off awards about quality, rather than helping consumers experience it.

Holy Family Memorial (HFM) realized this and found a new way to promote its awards. It ranks in the top 5% in the nation for innovation and quality care. It is a Healthgrades top 10 hospital and a Solucient 100 Top Performance Improvement Leader. These sound like impressive awards, and they are. But to a potential patient who sees hundreds of similar claims each week, they don't mean much.

But HFM did find a way to give quality meaning to consumers- unscripted, personal patient testimonials. A patient who said the cardiac team saved his life; the young man who's applying to medical school because of his positive experiences; and the woman who had her rotator cuff repaired and says she was so happy with HFM's doctors that she didn't want her rehabilitation to end. These real experiences are what captured consumers' attention - and held it.

Testimonials give a face and story to quality, which in turn, gives quality more meaning to consumers. Quality rankings and awards are great, but they should be used to support personal stories, not on their own.

Given the changing healthcare environment and the growing popularity of review sites, healthcare organizations have a lot to think about. And patient testimonials are just one piece of the puzzle. Mary and Mike want to show you other initiatives HFM has taken to successfully increase patient volumes and improve employer relationships. The July 30th webinar is your chance to see one entire case study on Holy Family Memorial and hear the outstanding results. Will you be there?

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Self-Serve Healthcare Calls for CAHs to Reconnect

Posted on July 31, 2013

Last week, my wife noticed that our Golden Retriever, Autumn, seemed a bit out of sorts. Her symptoms didn't appear to be serious, so we did what any concerned pet parents would do:  We Googled.

After 30 minutes of online research, we agreed there was no need to call the vet. Autumn was simply adjusting to the hot summer temps. Point being…

We have become a generation of "self-serve, want-it-convenient-fast-and-free" consumers. That holds true when it comes to healthcare - whether it's for our pets - or for ourselves. Just ask the estimated 15 million people who use WebMD every month.

In many cases, these consumers don't contact a healthcare provider unless their condition becomes critical. That's why it's critical for your clinic or CAH to stay connected with patients and prospective patients. You want to make sure you're first on their list when they decide to seek care.

One way to engage consumers is by offering something of value that's free. For example:

  • One rural hospital offered a free manicure with a mammogram.
    • Immediate ROI was a significant increase in the number of digital mammograms provided.
    • Long-term ROI may be even more valuable. The hospital was able to reconnect with many patients as well as build new relationships with other community members. That can translate into long-term loyalty and top-of-mind awareness for the hospital.
  • Your hospital could offer free mobile phone apps or a free monthly eHealth newsletter. Give consumers something of value and they'll want to come back for more!
  • Free seminars not only educate consumers, they can also help you target specific segments of your community. For example, if you serve an aging population:
    • Consider partnering with an assisted living or nursing home facility to host a presentation about aging and long-term care.
    • Topics may include: staying healthy as you age; specialty services your hospital offers (e.g., knee/hip replacement); and local organizations that can provide a continuum of care.

Whatever you do, stay connected. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. If your CAH doesn't connect with patients on a regular basis, your competition will.

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