How health systems can leverage experience design to elevate and differentiate their brand — 5 takeaways

Experience is a critical aspect of patient care and a key component of the Triple Aim, a framework focused on enhancing the care experience, improving population health and controlling costs.

The growing trend of consumerism in healthcare and tying patient satisfaction scores to reimbursement has made experience a top priority for C-suite leaders, leading many health systems to invest in experiences that build patient loyalty and instill trust in providers and staff.

During an April webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Phreesia, Sonia Rhodes, Founder and CEO of The Experience Lab; and Jeremy Brill, the Experience Lab’s CXO, discussed how health systems can design these high-quality experiences.

Here are five takeaways from the webinar:

1. In healthcare, everyone's experience matters. Although patient experience often takes the spotlight, the experience of providers and team members is just as important. Four themes can help health systems design unique experiences:

• Leading: Leaders set a vision and help others come along.
• Looking: Teams understand what they want experiences to look and feel like, and identify opportunities to create such experiences within their organizations.
• Living: Team members bring ideas to life and prototype new experience designs.
• Loving: Everyone uses their whole heart in this line of work.

"Healthcare experience is a fairly nascent field, so some of the best practices from an experience perspective haven't been created yet," Brill said. For this reason, The Experience Lab recommends healthcare experience leaders focus on “best principles” — which may be borrowed from other industries — rather than best practices.

2. When leading, set an intention for experiences within your organization to align people, processes and physical spaces. A carefully articulated vision for the experiences of patients, providers, staff and guests serves as a useful decision filter that "helps [organizations] decide what they do and what they don't do, what fits and what does not fit, what aligns and enlivens and what no longer serves this aim," Rhodes said.

For example, the University of California San Diego Health's immersive experience of "Unifying, Connecting, Seeing, Discovering"—a variation on its UCSD acronym—is a model that codifies the organization’s principles and offers guidance for team leaders who to set a more focused intention for their department or personal work.


3. When looking, purposefully observe your organization’s experience environment to help identify gaps where the experience may be falling short. Rhodes suggested experience leaders conduct "looking rounds" that take team members on sensory exploration through the organization to notice and appreciate what is already working well. In the process, elements that diminish the experience will emerge and can serve as prompts for eliminating negative patterns or cues. "We need to ensure we are aligning our brand promise—who we say we are—and our brand experience—who we really are," Rhodes said.


4. When living, stage thoughtful experiences that bring to life what has been imagined through leading and looking. "Staging" follows a stepwise design process comprised of five stages of experience: entice, enter, engage, exit and extend. Each stage is designed to solidify the individual’s relationship with their healthcare organization.

• Entice: Draw people into your organization over others.
• Enter: Make it easy and seamless to access your organization.
Engage: Interact with patients, staff and guests by guiding their experience and making them feel comfortable.
• Exit: Give patients, staff and guests everything they need to transition beyond the experience.
• Extend: Create lasting memories of the experience and build in meaningful touchpoints for follow-up that build loyalty with the healthcare organization.


5. When loving, remind staff members that they are at the heart of everything and empower them to improve experiences. Because experiences occur in moments, it is important to focus your experience architecture on those moments. They fall into two categories:

• One-off defining moments, such as when a guest loses a loved one or when a patient receives a transformational health diagnosis.
• Reoccurring signature moments, such as a patient discharge or a major surgery, where unique amenities or rituals can create memories and generate buzz.

Team members who play a role in those moments can amplify and lead the experiences associated with them.


Providers and staff play a critical role in the healthcare experience. Technology can help automate manual, tedious administrative tasks and help staff focus on facilitating positive moments for patients. Learn how technology can help healthcare organizations improve the experiences of patients, staff and guests—at scale.

To register for upcoming webinars, click here.


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