Data mining turns up gold. (NYT image)

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou

This quote was used as an epigram in a couple of different talks at the first-ever Patient Experience Summit hosted by the Cleveland Clinic.

The summit was an opportunity to bring together leaders and innovators in the area of patient experience.

It should come as a pleasant surprise that health care entities (hospitals, doctors’ offices, home health agencies) are starting to care more than ever about how they treat patients, not just medically, but emotionally as well.

Patients are more empowered than ever in making decisions about their health care. Providers are competing for their business, and when patients feel unsatisfied as customers, they take their business elsewhere.

Not only that, but patients now have many ways to give feedback about their experiences. They can do it in traditional ways, like answering questionnaires sent by the hospital after a visit. They can call and register feedback with the hospital. Or more likely, they can turn to the Web and offer their feedback on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, or give feedback on user rating sites like Yelp or Angie’s List.

[Analogy: Savvy travelers like my wife never go anywhere without cross referencing destinations on TripAdvisor.]

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