Top lessons for improving patient experience during a rebrand

Top lessons for improving patient experience during a rebrand

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Monday, January 7, 2019 | Andy Pollock

Hospitals and health systems are facing a watershed moment.

Due to all the merger and acquisition activity over the past 15 years, increasing numbers of people now find themselves seeking care at a healthcare system. These powerful organizations compete to offer an excellent and cohesive customer experience across touchpoints. And it appears to be moving the needle on customer preference. It’s worth noting 90% of the hospitals with the highest loyalty scores are part of larger healthcare systems.

And rebranding is the perfect time to make long-term, patient-centric improvements in patient experience and brand consistency. You’ll need to address all online and physical brand assets anyway—so why not increase effectiveness (and decrease implementation and ongoing costs)?

Patient experience starts in the digital landscape and continues when they step foot on-site

Deloitte recently surveyed 4,530 U.S. consumers to better understand their decision-making process and attitudes regarding healthcare. Nearly half, especially younger people, expressed willingness to use technology to improve their healthcare experience. In the future, more healthcare experiences will occur online.

So, you’ll need to consider the digital touchpoints a patient encounters before even leaving the house. Does your brand architecture make sense online? How do patients access your site using a smartphone or laptop? Do they know to use your hospital’s online directory to find locations and doctor specialties? These initial touchpoints are critical for positive momentum. Now is the perfect time for you and your brand strategy or customer experience agency will want to take a deep dive into this.

Once your patient sets foot in your facility, you have the opportunity to make a good first impression and put the patient’s mind at ease. Enhance their experience through smart branded systems.

A number of healthcare systems who work with BrandActive have addressed these touchpoints as aprt of  a rebranding implementation initiative . They create clear-cut signage to identify each wing, improve wayfinding in parking lots and entrances, and revamp the color-coded uniforms for all healthcare professionals.

Understand that patient experience is an organization-wide goal

Making these widespread improvements during times of brand change requires a team effort that extends far beyond the marketing department. For efficient and cost-effective rebranding cost analysis, scenario planning, and implementation logistics, many healthcare systems turn to BrandActive. We help organize the players whose input and cooperation are essential. First, we identify the scope of work and based on that, who at your healthcare system needs to be part of the brand change team. While it is probable that Marketing will lead this process, it’s likely that chief medical officers and chief experience officers will be primary approvers. Many other hospital staff members will be involved as well, including facility management, legal, IT, fleet and representatives from every facility in the system.

This new brand often ushers in new messaging and a revised brand architecture. These changes impact all functions and stakeholders. Think recruiting for new doctors or administrative staff, community outreach, fundraising efforts and interactions with regulatory bodies. The rebranding implementation must support all of these interactions with the master healthcare brand as well as any sub-brands within your healthcare system—wings dedicated to children’s cancer or maternity, for example, clinics, and more.

Essential rebrand elements that contribute to the patient experience

BrandActive starts your branded asset audit by referencing a list of over 600 potential touchpoints. Some may be glaringly obvious, like fleet vehicles, while others may not be. For example, a patient may not initially notice the color-coding system for doctor, nurse and custodian uniforms.  As they visit the hospital more frequently, they begin to understand that nurses wear green and doctors wear blue. If this aspect of staff organization is lost during a rebrand, it could leave patients and confused and frustrated.

I’ve already mentioned the increasing important of digital. Today, close to 50% of all healthcare consumers consult online physician or hospital ratings in their decision-making process. The way a patient interacts with your digital landscape can be a pleasant, useful experience—or a mind-numbing one. When websites carry old legacy logos, or when some sites use the old logo while others use the new one, patients can get confused—and regulators may throw a penalty flag.

Clearly, vendors also need to be brought into the loop. BrandActive believes the earlier these conversations take place, the better, as it gives everyone involved the time to make sure your systems are analyzed, rationalized, and branded properly at reasonable cost.

So, there’s a lot to do: Lining up qualified vendors. Getting bids on signage. Establishing wayfinding. Rebranding all digital and offline touchpoints. All these are aspects of a tight, well-executed rebrand implementation plan. BrandActive’s team creates a plan to foster positive healthcare experiences—the kind that satisfy your patients and turn them into brand ambassadors.  And our process also enables you to bring in the rebrand on schedule, under budget, with new efficiencies that pay dividends for years to come.

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