Is Your Patient Experience Strategy a Sprint or a “20 Mile March?”

Posted by Kristin Baird on May 6th, 2012 • No Comments »

Last week, I co-presented a workshop at the Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit in Orlando where I had the honor of hearing and meeting Morten Hansen, co-author (with Jim Collins) of Great by Choice. As he spoke about what it takes to excel in business, I found myself automatically applying the core principles to the patient experience.

Hansen talked about companies that beat the odds, even during times of uncertainty and chaos, to achieve exceptional growth and profits. In their research, they had identified key characteristics of those companies, one of which is fanatical discipline. They illustrate that fanatical discipline with the term, “20 mile march.” They say, “The 20 Mile March is more than a philosophy. It’s about having concrete, clear, intelligent and rigorously pursued performance mechanisms that keep you on track.”

As usual, I was thinking about how these lessons can be applied to healthcare organizations struggling to improve the patient experience. There is no doubt that patient experience goals can be overshadowed by other competing demands. With HCAHPS putting a very public spotlight on patient satisfaction scores, I frequently see leaders panicking and trying to attack every problem at once and expecting immediate results. At the same time, I’ve worked with a number of successful leaders who have made significant improvement in the patient experience without the panic. The difference? The successful leaders have made the patient experience a priority and never take their eye off the ball. They maintain a consistent pursuit of excellence, measuring and monitoring all along the way. They don’t try to sprint, exhausting all resources, but rather, maintain a steady course toward their goals.

Are you on a 20 mile march or a sprint to improve the patient experience?

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Baird Consulting


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