HealthLeaders Media Marketing Weekly - June 18, 2008 | Spies Like Us: Physicians and Undercover Patients View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Spies Like Us: Physicians and Undercover Patients
Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders News

AMA delegates this week pondered an ethics council recommendation to endorse the practice of secret or mystery shoppers—undercover patients hired by a hospital or physician group to pretend they are patients and report back on their experience. Physicians who oppose the measure fret that the "fake" patients will interfere with the treatment of real patients. They worry that they might be disciplined if they happen to make one small misstep. They say mystery shoppers aren't a good way to measure quality. But I don't think these or any other arguments hold water. [Read More]
  June 18, 2008

Editor's Picks
Patients hate to wait
There's not much you can do about long wait times, but you can make your waiting patients feel better about them: Tell them how long they'll have to wait. A national survey of more than 1.5 million ER patients conducted by Press Ganey found that although patient satisfaction decreased the longer a patient waited, consistent communication with ER staff helped people feel comfortable and cared for. [Read More]
Communicating alternatives to the ER
It's an issue that every hospital deals with—how to get uninsured patients to take advantage of convenient and less-costly treatment options, such as clinics. The interim chief executive for Cleveland-based MetroHealth Medical Center envisions running a hospital under two systems: one that attracts more patients who can afford healthcare and another that offers a streamlined, cost-effective method of delivering care to the poor. Mark Moran's proposal includes new screenings and other measures to guide non-emergency cases away from its emergency room; an expansion of certain services and more community health centers; "upgrades" that would allow MetroHealth to collect more of the money it bills; and possible partnerships with other hospitals. [Read More]
Music soothes
Hospitals around the country are using music as a way to ease patients' pain, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and depression and improve coping abilities to get patients well, faster. A 2007 survey by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, along with the Joint Commission and Americans for the Arts, found that of the 1,923 healthcare facilities surveyed, 35% offered some type of music to patients. Besides promoting relaxation and reducing stress, music therapy has been shown to affect sleep patterns, improve stroke patients' memories and decrease the amount of sedation medication needed for some patients. [Read More]
More than one way to raise revenue
An increasing number of hospitals are opening up their own medical spas that offer medical beauty procedures, from Botox and Restylane to laser hair removal. As the number of medical spas has multiplied, so have concerns about the quality of services they offer and the level of medical supervision present. The hospitals see themselves as a natural alternative, and hope people will automatically associate their names with higher-quality medicine. [Read More]
Campaign Spotlight
This is My Children's
Click to view larger version.
With recent expansions, Children's Hospital and Health System in Wauwatosa, WI, launched a community-focused campaign to instill ownership and a sense of connectivity in the community and to make it more than just a 12 story, 425,000 square foot structure. Children's expanded its facility in response to increased need. However, with the expansion came the realization that they also needed a way to reach out to the community on a larger scale than they ever had before. [Read More]
Calendar of Events
7/24/08: Niche Marketing Strategies: Build boomer loyalty now
10/15/08: HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards, Chicago

10/16/08: HealthLeaders Media Top Leadership Teams, Chicago
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Weaning Your Hospital Off of Medicare

How can your hospital maintain its level of service and its margin? It's time to get creative. [Read More]
Marketing Forum

Mystery Shoppers Take the Mystery Out of the Patient Experience: Mystery shopping, a reliable assessment tactic used for years by banks, restaurants, and hotels, has exploded on the healthcare scene in recent years. Although many healthcare organizations are measuring patient satisfaction, their data don't always pinpoint the experiences behind the scores. Mystery shoppers fill in the fine details and help organizations understand how patients feel about their experiences, apart from how they feel about their medical treatment, says contributor Kristin Baird. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Luke Johnson, director of international business development, discusses extending CHRISTUS Health operations in Mexico. [Listen Now]
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