"[Marketers should] use their skills to study the patient experience and then paint a picture of the current reality—beyond survey data," Baird says.
She suggests marketers organize fact-finding indicatives such as focus groups, patient interviews, and mystery shopping. Once those are underway, marketers should conduct a culture assessment and gap analysis to identify key opportunities, and then craft a strategic communications plan that bridges the patient experience to the organization's mission, vision, and values.
Marketers are particularly adept at finding and communicating links between the patient experience and other key goals and efforts including quality and safety, Baird says.
Helping Staff Walk in Patients' Shoes
A growing number of US medical schools are incorporating the patient experience into their curriculum, which previously only had room for courses on clinical care.
The University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine runs a program called Longitudinal Experience to Appreciate Patient Perspectives (LEAPP) that pairs med students with chronically ill patients to help them see medical treatment from the patient's perspective.
The goal of the program is to make sure each student understand that every patient who walks into an exam room comes with their own unique story and experience, Horace DeLisser, MD, a critical care specialist and associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, told a Philadelphia news site.