I had to tell them, “Your customers do not like you…at all!” 

A new HDM special report aims to highlight key performance factors employed by care provider organizations and their solution partners to meet challenges and continuously improve healthcare.

A new direction in raising healthcare industry performance

Nearly a decade ago, I sat in the lobby of a profitable publicly traded medical device company. Although I was a young consultant, my job was to tell the leadership team, assembled from all over the country for an annual strategy meeting at its headquarters, "Your customers do not like you...at all!” 

In preparation, I had reviewed hundreds of customer comments, correlated and analyzed their answers to specific questions around service, support, executive involvement, ongoing development, functionality and a slew of 20 other indicators of customer satisfaction. Yes, verily, their customers were not happy with them. 

But until that point, sitting in the lobby 10 minutes before the presentation, I could only point to specific recurring issues of poor customer experience. All these data points seemed to be symptoms of a larger problem, but what? 

...and then, it was clear to me. 

In that lobby, to my left stood the company’s mission, spelled out in gigantic letters. It was something to the effect that they were in business to serve the healthcare providers and patients of the world by developing, deploying and supporting the most innovative healthcare devices...nice words, without underlying substance. 

In that moment, it was clear to me that this organization was torn between serving two masters its customers and its shareholders. 

Directly on the other side of the lobby stood an equally large image of the executive team ringing the closing bell on Wall Street. At that instant, it was clear to me that this organization was torn between serving two masters – its customers and its shareholders. That became the theme of my four-hour presentation to these leaders. In fact, it was the truth and the deeper-rooted problem to their customer woes. 

The right master is your customer 

Now 10 years later, having presented to hundreds of leadership teams and analyzing thousands of customer experiences, it is clear to me that this one concept of choosing one master to serve and the ability of an organization to embrace, be disciplined and execute against it makes all the difference. The customer is that master, that north star. 

It has been my observation...only about 10 percent of technology and service partners are successful in committing to this virtuous cycle. 

Those industry partners that choose to serve the customer first and always, if done right, create a virtuous cycle that actually starts with a focus on the well-being and empowerment of management teams and staff. After all, these are the ones who serve the customers. And if the customer is truly successful through continued partnership, they continue to seek further solutions from the organization, which naturally turn into dollars spent through yearly renewals, new solutions and upgrades that drive value. This, in turn, delights shareholders. It has been my observation – and alarming – that only about 10 percent of technology and service partners are successful in committing to and executing on this virtuous cycle. 

Beyond the Rankings 

Over the next 10 months, the new Health Data Management will continue its bold pivot, extending the 27-year history of sound technology reporting to include the deeper exploration of the people and process integration that technology advancements require, and which over the last decade have become an ever-growing part of the way we deliver care.  We will go beyond the rankings in a new series sharing that title and focusing on industry reports that cite technology and service partners as Best in KLAS, or rank hospitals as US News Top Hospitals, as well as other carefully identified reports that have a strong compass for organizational excellence.  

We will uncover why these companies are 'the best' and what really makes them stand out in the eyes of their customers and patients. But more importantly, Health Data Management is committed to shining a light on those principles and lessons learned by leading organizations so everyone can apply them within their own institutions and raise the level of impact that will move this industry forward. 

In the series launch, our first special report dives deep into the overall Best in KLAS winners and what makes their culture, customer partnerships and visions for the future unique and successful. Enjoy the series as we share interviews with the CEOs of Nordic, Chartis Group, Galen Healthcare, and Epic. We are excited to have you watch, listen, read, and apply the learnings of this insightful series. 

Learn more; how to participate in the series:

HDM Series: Beyond the Rankings 

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‘Best in KLAS’ report recognizes high performers among HIT vendors

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Organizations weigh how best to implement cohesive engagement

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