When you think about vacations, you think about choices. Where do you want to go? What do you want to experience? When you think about healthcare today, you also think about choices.

In the past, healthcare has not offered many choices. But today, the consumer choice mindset is taking over healthcare. Consumer choices include the ease of checking and giving healthcare organization and provider reviews, patient-driven medical care, healthy lifestyle and prevention care, the ability for patients to research provider options online, and much more.

Reflecting on vacation choices, few are better known for best-in-class guest service and consistent execution than Disney. In fact, Disney has created an area of study called Guestology that is taught to new hires and used to develop teams.



Central to Guestology is the Disney Compass. Disney believes that remarkable service requires addressing needs, wants, stereotypes, and emotions. This same approach can be used to improve and enhance the patient experience. Let’s view The Compass with questions that focus on your patient experience.

N – Needs. How can the patient experience not only address the immediate needs of patients, but also go beyond to satisfy needs before patients realize them?

W – Wants. How can you create a unique experience that goes beyond meeting your patient’s needs? Corvirtus research on the patient experience using HCAHPS survey (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) data and social media reviews of Yelp, Facebook, and Google reveal that one of the biggest ways to improve the patient experience is by communicating with patients, and exceeding unique needs. This means taking the time to connect with patients to determine their wants (i.e., walking through the steps of a procedure one more time or following up with a phone call the next day to check-in).

S – Stereotypes. What misconceptions might your patient have about their experience? Patients arriving at a diagnostic lab or imaging center might expect a long wait and a lack of empathy. These are also points where you establish guidelines that can differentiate the patient experience.

E – Emotions. What emotions are your patients likely experiencing? You can hire employees with greater empathy, positive mindset, and emotional intelligence to accurately read and improve patients’ emotional experience. You can also design the patient experience by thinking about what they most likely are experiencing (e.g., new patients at a dental practice may be concerned about cost). This will help you engineer an experience that maximizes positive emotions like hope and happiness while minimizing negative emotions like frustration, fear, and sadness.

So how can you apply these key learnings to your healthcare organization? The best place to start is analyzing your hiring process to determine the best ways to hire people that can act on your Compass of Care.

There are many resources available that you can leverage to create and build a customized Compass of Care that sets your organization apart from the rest. Studies have shown that the most effective way to do this is to partner with outside consultants who specialize in developing tools like this to enhance your patient experience. An outsider brings a fresh, analytical perspective that those inside your organization may struggle to find because they are too close to the process.

Begin the process of creating your best-­in-­class patient experience today.


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