I’ve read several stories lately about how Geisinger Health System has offered a refund to patients who are not fully satisfied with their experience. Their offer sends shudders down the spines of every healthcare CFO in the country, yet it sends a strong message. The first message is that they stand behind their promise of excellence. The second part of that message demonstrates that they trust that every person involved in the patient experience will deliver. There’s no disclaimer that says, “Except for the ED or the doctor, or the housekeepers.” There’s no excuse-making like, “Except when census is high.”
For years I’ve enjoyed asking hospital and health systems leaders about their confidence in their organization’s level of service. Many start out saying it’s pretty good. I like to poke at this a bit with a few more questions. I’m always amazed to see how their level of confidence starts to waver when I ask if they would wager even 1% of their personal salaries on a consistent experience. All hands go down. The truth is, they tell me – it depends.
Not every organization feels prepared to offer a money back guarantee. But what about putting more skin in the game? Would you be willing to leave each patient a card with your personal cell number? When each employee can answer “yes” to that question, you’ll know that your organization is delivering a consistently positive patient experience. When a CEO is willing to give his or her personal number, it’s a strong indication that you stand behind the words in your mission, vision and value statements, and that you trust that each and every employee is as well.