Right now, I grieve for a family member who just died, and she suffered a frightening death in a Midwest hospital. Her mother tells the story that the nurses really didn’t know when her daughter vomited in a chair and became unconscious because no one was monitoring the patient.
I am upset for my dearest friend and his sister who are standing by helplessly as their mother is dying of small cell cancer. Getting an appointment for radiation has taken more than three weeks, and the people working in that satellite clinic are rude, uncaring, cold, and unresponsive. The scheduling staff lied to the patient’s daughter and son who said they had called to schedule the patient’s appointment. Proving that lie was easy. The only phone number in the patient’s chart is the daughter’s, not the mother’s.
For six months, these two siblings have waited for a diagnosis for their mother so treatment could begin. And, for six months they have agonized as each physician blatantly passed the buck to another specialist who was supposed to diagnose their mother’s malady…to no avail. Was it an autoimmune disorder or small cell cancer? To treat for one, the other had to be ruled out; yet, it’s been six months.
And, the merry go round is the same everywhere. Medicare is squeezing physicians. Insurance companies are squeezing patients. Physicians are receiving less for procedures from insurance companies. Hospitals send every hospitalist into a patient’s room for every type of proposed therapy to rack up the bill as high as possible.
Meanwhile everyone is emotional. Yes, hospitals are failing caregivers; because the hospitals and physicians and diagnostic laboratories are fighting for more dollars from Medicare and insurance companies while caregivers stand helplessly in the midst of the battle while their loved ones flounder through the healthcare system to exit the worse for wear or better.
In the height of emotion, caregivers mention lawyers and a lawsuit. It sounds like a good plan to help ease the anxiety of a loved one’s passing; yet, whom to sue? Each physician, saddled with tremendous malpractice insurance, is reluctant to stick out a neck and take ownership for a diagnosis or control of a treatment plan. They smartly pass the buck to someone ‘with more experience’ who won’t take control. And, the hospital stands in the background as the brick and mortar where it all takes place until it doesn’t.
Hospitals Failing So…Caregiver Marketing
Why can’t there be a goodwill ambassador who calls caregivers and listens to their story? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful marketing opportunity for hospitals to be in touch with their customer?
Regardless of which entity a caregiver and patient touch in the healthcare system, the brand is most frequently the hospital. People who have negative experiences in hospitals tell everyone the name of the doctor and the hospital at which the care was delivered.
If hospitals are failing caregivers, then an obvious solution is to put a representative in touch with the caregiver. Make a phone call; send an email. Invite the caregiver to meet in the cafeteria during a patient’s procedure when the caregiver is already at the hospital.
It sounds so simple; yet, which hospital has invested in the care of the caregiver?
The Heart Of Marketing
It’s the heart of marketing – to be naturally concerned for customers who purchase your brand. And, when the transaction is fraught with emotion, shouldn’t someone responsible for branding want to shore up the net promoter score and get a positive review?
The healthcare system is ripe for disruption. I, for one, am eager to see which upstart is going to toss this traditional circus on its head because it needs to be. Our population is aging daily; and we sandwich generation are not anticipating the healthcare system experience for our aging parents.
Heart. At the core of marketing is heart. Tell me why there can’t be more love emanating from the healthcare system for we caregivers who will eventually have to be patients one day.
Tell me right here, I’m listening.