AHRA: Care more about the patient experience

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Providers shouldn’t simply want satisfied patients, they should strive to create patient advocates, according to a keynote presentation at the AHRA annual meeting.

Mark Mayfield, former corporate lobbyist turned performer and speaker, gave the energetic talk Tuesday morning, and tried to dispel some customer satisfaction myths that apply to medicine. One notion he urged the radiology administrators in the room to abandon is the idea that patients are either satisfied or unsatisfied. Providers should strive for a third category: the advocate.

“[Advocates] tell their story—your story—and the experience they had to other people, and they bring more people in,” he said.

A dissatisfied customer, on the other hand, may not tell the provider of their frustrations, but they do tell an average of 8-10 people, Mayfield added.

Another misconception in dealing with patients or, more broadly, the customer experience in general is that satisfaction is a static line. Mayfield said it’s more dynamic, and just because a patient is satisfied at one point doesn’t mean the situation won’t change quickly.

Mayfield also offered a twist on the golden rule, saying providers need to do unto patients as the patient would like done unto them. Providers can’t assume a patient would like information relayed in the same way the providers themselves do.

Ultimately, the No. 1 characteristic that will be judged is credibility, so Mayfield urged the audience to get off autopilot and don’t treat patients as a number. “I want you to care a little more than you have, because in the world of patient care, care is becoming more and more critical.”