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Gallup study: Take Care’s ‘secret sauce’ satisfies

BY Antoinette Alexander

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.

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Virginia lawmakers move to block plan for mandated health coverage

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON In an act of defiance against the Obama administration’s plan for healthcare reform, the Virginia legislature this week moved to block a provision in that plan that would mandate that Americans obtain health insurance.

Health reform opponents on Thursday applauded the move, which came Tuesday when the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance. The measure already passed the state Senate and is headed to the desk of Governor Bob McDonnell, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

 

That will make Virginia “the first state to protect its citizens from a federal government mandate to obtain health insurance,” according to a conservative advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity, which has bitterly opposed efforts by Democrats to reform the U.S. health system. The group also claims that a total of 37 states are considering some form of “health care freedom act.”

The White House, for its part, has long proposed some form of mandated coverage for all Americans as a means of holding down insurance costs and ensuring that healthier Americans are also included in insurance pools. Under the Obama administration’s proposal, however, much of the cost of individual coverage could be defrayed or offset by tax cuts or other financial help for individuals who can’t afford the costs of coverage.

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Home health specialist Carex launches online membership program for patients

BY Alaric DeArment

OAKLAND, Calif. A company that makes in-home health products has launched a section on its Web site for elderly people and their caregivers.

Carex Health Brands announced Thursday the launch of Carex Care Connection, at carex.com. The site allows users to share stories and find discounts and giveaways on Carex products, which include products for mobility, bathroom safety, personal care and daily living aids, pain management and others.

“Our team at Carex Health Brands genuinely cares about the welfare of seniors,” Carex VP marketing Nathalie Kim said in a statement. “In addition to our efforts to create the most innovative and quality products in the in-home health category, we want to connect directly with caregivers and the senior community.”

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