My last blog was about the problems we create when trying to solve a patient experience issue with a brochure. The gap created is a result of not listening to the voice of the consumer. Marketers are experts in listening to the voice of the consumer and can bring a vital perspective to the patient experience. Marketing departments are more than the brochure people, yet they are often victims of the “drive-by” brochures. A doctor or department head thinks they need a brochure, and dictates what and how it will be done. Patient-centered? I think not.
A friend of mine has headed up marketing departments at some of the country’s most prestigious health systems. She kept a large teddy bear in her office that became a symbol of the voice of the patient. She would bring it to meetings and give it a seat at the table. Every time there was a discussion about a procedure, policy, or anything else, the bear would serve as a reminder to shift the focus to the patient’s view point.
Having patient and family advisory groups is a great way to listen to the voice of the patient. But what are you doing every day and in every decision to keep the voice of the patient front and center? You may not use a Teddy Bear, but find a way to give a visual reminder to consider our most important customer first.