CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. —In today’s consumer-driven healthcare environment, simply satisfying a patient is not enough; patients want to feel a personal connection. They want to be engaged. This fact has not gone unnoticed at Take Care Health Systems and, judging by the results of a recent Gallup survey, the clinic operator is taking the patient experience to a whole new level and paving the way for improved patient outcomes. How? It is all in the secret sauce.
“People would say to me, ‘How are you guys going to differentiate from your competition?’ And I said, ‘We have something called our secret sauce,’” explained Peter Miller, president and CEO of Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens. “It is the culture that we built here.”
The “secret sauce” may sound like a marketing phrase pulled right from a fast food chain commercial, but the reality is that, for Take Care, this “secret sauce”—or a culture of caring and believing in the ability to change health care—is not to be underestimated and is helping Take Care change the landscape of U.S. healthcare one nurse practitioner at a time.
“We built a system entirely around the patient with a very strong focus on delighting our colleagues so they, in turn, can delight patients,” Miller said.
It is this vision of patient-centered care that led Take Care to engage Gallup Consulting, a leading management consulting firm, to collect and analyze patient engagement data. While most convenient care clinics measure patient satisfaction, Take Care wanted to take it even further to measure not only satisfaction with their services and the interaction with the nurse practitioner or physician assistant, but also to articulate and illustrate engagement levels to better know its patients.
The results are in, and the numbers are quite impressive. Take Care receives the highest satisfaction ratings from more than 9-out-of-10 customers. Compare this with the typical company in Gallup’s database, which receives the highest satisfaction ratings from just 1-out-of-3 customers.
Take Care customer engagement results that have been collected thus far are in the top 10% of all organizations that Gallup has measured since 2003, with substantially more than 50,000 Take Care patient respondents to date captured via an on-site kiosk methodology that is administered upon discharge to customers at more than 350 clinic locations. Gallup independently validated the data via a random phone study.
To put this in context, the typical company in Gallup’s database strongly engages less than 1-out-of-5 customers. Take Care, according to Gallup, strongly engages more than 3-out-of-4 customers.
Gallup’s Customer Engagement database of nearly 3 million respondents across 200 organizations includes data from not only health care, but also 15 other major industries, including luxury hotels, premium retailers and high-end auto dealerships.
“Gallup is really a validation of everything that we have set out to do…to change the patient experience in health care,” Miller said.
“[Retail-based health clinics are] a great model. We think it can accommodate a lot of the pent-up demand,” said Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. “We know that the levels of satisfaction are high, and people will refer their friends to retail clinics. We have not seen data that suggests people leave unhappy.”
There’s no doubt that satisfaction is vital, but being able to truly engage the patient is paramount. Having patients who are strongly emotionally attached and attitudinally loyal—in other words, engaged—drives patient visits. In fact, Miller noted that, during this quarter, its same-clinic patient volume is up nearly 60% year over year.
“The most important thing that is driving that is the fact that we engage 3-out-of-4 patients, and they don’t just leave happy; they leave delighted,” Miller said. “That’s how this business is building.”
Higher levels of engagement have been associated with an improvement in health outcomes related to medication adherence, smoking cessation, etc. This means lower healthcare costs. It is no secret that the best way to manage healthcare costs is to keep people healthy.
“If you have a patient who believes in the person who is giving the advice because of the great experience…they are more likely to follow the treatment protocol that has been put together. And the patient will want to come back more often [because of the great experience],” Miller said.