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Healthcare organizations can take better advantage of customer reviews, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — More Americans are looking for reviews and ratings to guide their healthcare decision-making as they spend more of their own money on health care, but they’re not finding what they need, according to a new report by PwC.

In the report, "Scoring Healthcare: Navigating Customer Experience Ratings," PwC’s Health Research Institute found in a survey that 48% of respondents said they had read healthcare reviews, and among those, 68% said they had used the information to select a doctor, hospital or — to a lesser extent — pharmacy, drug, medical device or health plan, but only 24% had written a review.

"Healthcare organizations are increasingly operating in a world in which the voice of the consumer impacts the bottom line and where customer experience is now a matter of dollars and cents," PwC U.S. health industries leader Kelly Barnes said. "As consumerism in health care gains steam, customer feedback has become a determining factor in the success of health organizations. Ratings connect consumers’ experience to quality, and quality connects to financial performance, market share and reputation."

Still, the report did not find the level of consumer engagement and participation in health care that’s seen in entertainment and retail. Instead of a single, trusted, independent rating system, consumers are turning to Facebook, Yelp and Consumer Reports. At the same time, retailers and other consumer-focused industries are starting to apply their expertise to market health-related products and services more effectively, the report found.

"Consumers are looking for easy-to-understand information from sources they can trust," Barnes said. "They care most about the physician-patient relationship, what to do after a hospital visit and how to obtain smooth service from their health plan."

 

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Hy-Vee to serve as official supermarket of Kansas Speedway

BY Alaric DeArment

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Hy-Vee will serve as the official grocer and tailgate pit stop of the Kansas Speedway, the supermarket chain said Monday.

Hy-Vee, which operates 26 supermarkets around the state and in the Kansas City, Mo., metropolitan area, has planned special events throughout the year to promote the speedway.

"We want racing fans to think of Hy-Vee as their one-stop pit stop," Hy-Vee president and CEO Randy Edeker said. "Our stores will be hosting ticket giveaways and other activities as well as offering great deals on food and beverages for tailgating."

 

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H-E-B awards winners of its H-E-B Slim Down Showdown challenge $18,000

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN ANTONIO — H-E-B on Monday announced that its annual H-E-B Slim Down Showdown presented by Dole awarded $18,000 on Saturday to three contestants who made the greatest gains in health improvement and fan engagement over a three-month period.

Hailing from all across Texas, the 25 contestants in this year’s showdown lost more than 700 pounds and showed off their healthier frames to hundreds of cheering supporters in an emotional makeover reveal ceremony at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on Saturday. In addition to weight loss, the contestants significantly improved their health biometrics and penned 990 blogs, generating 38,636 comments and hundreds of thousands of page views.

H-E-B determined the grand prize winner using three metrics — overall health improvement, participation and fan engagement.

Grand-prize winner Brittany Ward, an occupational therapy graduate student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, lost 34 pounds, dropped her cholesterol by 62 points and attracted 6,308 comments on her blog. She was awarded $10,000.

“This [contest] was more than I ever thought it would be,” Ward stated. “Change is possible when you commit. We’ve got to change the world. We’ve got to start putting our health first.”

The contest began in January with a five-and-a-half day wellness program in San Antonio featuring experts from H-E-B, Methodist Healthcare and Cooper Aerobics. Contestants received a full medical screening to understand their current health status, met individually with nutrition and fitness experts and bonded with their fellow contestants.

H-E-B first introduced the Slim Down Showdown to its Partners in 2010 as part of Healthy at H-E-B, a comprehensive, long-term commitment to improve the health of Texans and provide them with fresh, healthy food that is affordable and easy to prepare. H-E-B aims to inspire millions of Texans to adopt and stick to a healthy lifestyle through special offers on healthy food as well as fitness events and competitions organized around the three critical pillars of health — food, body and life.

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