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Feature Story: Think of patients as customers

Focusing on ‘the patient experience’ is no longer enough, ICSC speaker says

By Murray W. Wolf

Dan Stanek of WD Partners says that dynamic forces in the healthcare industry needs to think not of the patient experience but of a “customer experience.” Mr. Stanek shared his comments May 20 during the ICSC RECon retail real estate conference in Las Vegas during a presentation titled, “What Healthcare Can Learn from Retail.” (HREI photo)

For at least a decade, healthcare executives have been talking earnestly about “the patient experience” – the sum of all interactions that a patient has with a healthcare organization, including the people, processes, policies, communications, actions and environment.

Not surprisingly, because they are largely responsible for designing and building those environments, healthcare real estate (HRE) professionals have paid close attention to this trend and dutifully added the term “patient experience” to their vocabularies. And, in recent years, much effort has been directed toward creating healthcare facilities intended to enhance the all-important patient experience.

But HRE has changed dramatically in the past decade, especially in how more and more services are being shifted to off-campus locations – frequently in retail areas.

So is focusing on the patient experience still enough?

No, says Dan Stanek, an executive VP with WD Partners, a Dublin, Ohio-based consultant in the areas of “strategy and insights, brand and design, architecture and engineering, and constructions services.” He contends that dynamic forces in the healthcare industry are creating a need for innovation – to think not of the patient experience but of a “customer experience.”

Mr. Stanek shared his comments May 20 at the ICSC RECon retail real estate conference in Las Vegas during a presentation titled, “What Healthcare Can Learn from Retail.”

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