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NRC Health Symposium offers insights into enhancing human, health care experience

Walking the streets and knowing country music legends such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and others walked these same streets was an exhilarating experience. There are countless people coming to city and injecting their own creativity and take on music, arts, culture and more. Even Bob Dylan felt the pull of Nashville when he recorded his 1969 album Nashville Skyline.

Recently, amid the history of Music City and the lights, sights and sounds of this amazing city was a group of people dedicated to improving the patient experience in health care.

I attended the 25th Annual NRC Health Symposium and met with healthcare leaders from hospital systems, assisted living communities and skilled nursing/long-term care providers. NRC is a Lincoln, Nebraska based company specializing in healthcare intelligence, feedback and transparency. This was an exceptional experience I was fortunate enough to attend on behalf of AMFM Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers.

I was there to accept The Customer Approved and Employee Approved Awards marking AMFM’s inclusion into the highest levels of patient and customer satisfaction (read more at http://bit.ly/2Hi81gE). The conference speakers were top-notch and brought a wealth and depth of knowledge of ideas on enhancing the patient experience. I’ve done my best to highlight some incredible take-aways we can use as consumers and providers of health care, and as a leader in post-acute care in West Virginia.

The conference was focused on learning about a pathway to understanding the human experience. The goal, asking how health care can tap into this concept to improve our patient experiences, health care outcomes and overall satisfaction throughout the profession. We are people caring for people. That is our product.

For many years, our health care system was under this concept consumers had no choice in where to seek care for themselves or family. However, health care overall is on a rocket ship of change. The health care profession, from acute care to post-acute care, is changing rapidly. The customer’s needs are changing, the healthcare delivery system is changing, and the workforce is changing.

People do have a choice in health care. Technology is opening consumers’ possibilities and influencing their decisions at an increasingly rapid rate. The ability to seek out information on doctors, hospitals, testing, rehabilitation centers are at our fingertips.

Healthcare systems are watching anxiously as non-health related organizations reach into our current models and ask, “can it be done better?” In January 2018 Amazon, which has changed the way we shop for retail products, announced a partnership with Berkshire and JPMorgan Chase to improve healthcare for their teams. As Amazon continues to look into the health care market, all eyes are watching as it seeks to change the traditional health care market.

Transparency is shaping how we purchase products and now, health care. We can now post our own experiences, read others’ views and opinions on the care we received on a variety of platforms. From social media to our own websites, transparency in quality of care is a must for the future of successful health care organizations.

Consumerism is the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable. This means economically desirable for both the consumer and the health care provider.   

With consumerism growing in health care, as providers we must ask ourselves everyday what is the experience? What is the experience of being anxious or scared before a surgery? What is the experience of worrying about a potential hospital stay that may bankrupt your family? What is the experience of entering a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility to regain crucial skills to return home?

Today’s customers are the most highly informed consumers in history, and consumerism has hit the health care marketplace as people are more informed have more choices than ever before.

The one thing in healthcare that isn’t changing and is completely under the control of care providers is providing exemplary customer service. By merging the changes in the health care system with good, old-fashioned customer service, we can improve the experience for providers, and patients alike.

Author: Brandon S. Totten, MAJ, is the Community Relations Manager for AMFM Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers.

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