Secret Shoppers: How This Retail Practice Helped One Health System Improve Patient Experience Scores

October 1, 2015

Ever wished you could get a bird’s eye view of what your competition is doing so you could use the information to sharpen your own efforts and make them more effective?

Some health systems are turning to secret shoppers to gather key information about what’s happening in their target area, tracking details like whether physicians in other networks offer office hours on weekends and evenings, and whether patients can be seen by a clinician on the same day they call. Having a handle on what other groups are doing can be key to help organizations improve their own offerings to best meet patients’ needs and retain their loyalty.

CHSConemaugh Health System decided to take a page out of the corporate world and use secret shoppers to improve their customer service and find out how best to up their game.

Jeannine McMillan

Jeannine McMillan

“We started an initiative two years ago doing secret shopping of our competition to get an idea of what they were doing,” says Jeannine McMillan, Manager of Conemaugh’s Strategic Planning. She says her organization wanted to look at the market trends to help guide Conemaugh in making some operating decisions.

“We were also hearing about some challenges with our own practices; people tried to call some of our offices during their lunch hours and couldn’t get through, and it was sometimes difficult to get an appointment quickly,” she recalls. “As strategic planning and marketing folks, we wanted to identify gaps that existed in our own services and take steps to address them,” she adds.

Read our new article to learn why McMillan felt it was important to use an outside vendor, and discover the key insights Conemaugh gleaned from that vendor’s findings, as well as how Conemaugh turned those discoveries into improvements—increasing its scores to best-practice levels. Go there now: Secret Shoppers Provide Key to Unlocking Customer Improvement Efforts for Health System.

Best Regards,
Matt Humphrey

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