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Some organizations deliver an excellent customer experience. Other organizations are indifferent. There does not seem to be a Customer Experience Officer (CEO) on the job.

We will compare customer experiences at two organizations in order to learn how to improve the patient’s experience.

A recent flight on Porter Airlines from Toronto to Mt Tremblant was a great experience. The flight took 55 minutes. There was a shuttle waiting to take us to the village at Mt Tremblant. Everything was well orchestrated and went smoothly.

About 5 years ago, I took a bus ride from Toronto to Mt Tremblant. The ride took over 7 1/2 hours. The bus was loaded with very loud heavy drinkers passing around their 24’s. It was a very unpleasant experience.

The point is that the customer experience is what matters. Porter has designed and delivers a superb customer experience for those travelling to Mt Tremblant.

Here is a CASE STUDY of a bad patient experience with the bonus of a big medical error.

John is a 52 year old strapping engineer who had been having increasing chest pains with exertion for four weeks. He went to a community hospital. His lab tests showed that he had had a “minor” heart attack.

There were no beds in the hospital. He was kept in the ER on a stretcher for 4 days. The doctors presented him with 3 options. He had to make the decision: no treatment, medications for life or a cardiac angiogram with stenting. The angiogram was described by the doctors as being dangerous and high risk.

John and his wife were frightened, frustrated and confused.

The team at Rupert Case Management (RCM) was retained by the family to provide advice. The decision was made to do the cardiac angiogram and possible stenting at another hospital with a specialized cardiac unit.  The angiogram showed that 2 of 3 major cardiac arteries (LAD and RCA) were 100% blocked. This is usually fatal.

After RCM helped to select a highly competent cardiac surgeon, John  was scheduled for double artery (Radial artery to RCA & LIMA to LAD) bypass surgery at the specialized cardiac unit. He has done very well.


For John and his family, the first hospital stay had been a very bad experience.

No one at this hospital had thought about the quality of this patient’s experience.

The patient was being processed using an old industrial business model. Get it done quickly and inexpensively.

No one was thinking about how services are evolving in the new 2.0 economy into experiences.

An updated book “The Experience Economy” by Joseph Pine II and James Gilmore provides a detailed understanding of how to improve the patient’s experience.

Here is RCM’s framework adapted from Pine and Gilmore that can be used by the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) to redesign the patient experience:

1) Invite the patient to have active and not passive participation in his/her own experience.

2) Increase and improve the educational value of the experience ( the Latin root for doctor is doceo- meaning to teach)

3) Use advanced ubiquitous internet technology. Most patients have a keyboard and access from anywhere at anytime.

4) Provide continuity from start to resolution. Patients want the sense of having someone driving the bus who is awake, informed and interested.

5) Try to avoid making too many big medical errors by imposing a set of error minimization work flows. This is a deal breaker.

6) Allow for shared decision making. Patients want to be educated and then participate in the decision making.

7) Provide the option of sourcing deeper resources. Patients want access to the best and brightest resources available within the economic constraints of regional care.

The challenge for  healthcare leaders is to start thinking about improving the patient experience.

With the same resources and with some intelligent tweaking, we can have a much better patient experience.