Healthcare Strategic Growth Blog

All Patients are Customers, But Not All Customers are Patients

Posted by Lee Ann Lambdin on Nov 12, 2019 8:14:04 PM

Why a Shift in Terminology is Needed for More Effective Strategic Growth

By Lee Ann Lambdin

The title of this post is inspired by a quote from Dr. John Boornazian, Medical Director for Huggins Hospital. I worked with him and others at Huggins to develop their strategic plan in just six months. During their planning process, the team wrestled with how to describe the people they served—were they customers or patients? The executive team at Huggins was comfortable with the word customer, but the staff wanted to use the term patient. 

In the end, it was Dr. Boornazian who persuaded the staff to use the word customer, a word he had previously detested. His change of heart occurred when he came to terms with the new reality of patient choice and mobility. If a patient determines that better quality or service can be obtained elsewhere, they will travel past your hospital to a provider they deem more worthy of their loyalty. In today’s healthcare world, patients expect to be treated with a certain level of customer service, and a shift in mindset is needed to meet these new patient expectations.

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Tags: happy customer, healthcare customer, healthcare patient, patient experience, customer experience

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