Case Study: Saltzer Medical Group

Woman outside looking at tablet

“We’ve participated in previous paper surveys, but they haven’t been user friendly for the patient. Change Healthcare provided a fully turn-key process that is very easy to administer.”

-  Julie Allen
Executive Director
Saltzer Medical Group

Customer

Saltzer Medical Group Greater Boise area, Idaho

Challenge

Enhance the patient experience to drive satisfaction, retention, and volume

Products

Pulse, powered by Digital Experience Manager

Results

  • Patient satisfaction survey response rate exceeds industry average:
    • Email open rate >6% higher
    • Email click-through rate >14% higher
  • Revamped call center operations to optimize experience
  • Patients’ likelihood to recommend practice increased 9% in most recent quarterly report
  • Increased positive online posts to improve reputation, including more than 30 five-star reviews

The Customer: Saltzer Medical Group

Saltzer Medical Group has five clinic locations throughout Idaho and offers 14 medical specialties, including sports and internal medicine, neurology, OB/GYN, pediatrics, pulmonology, rheumatology, primary care, ENT, and general surgery. The group has approximately 250 employees and serves 40,000 patients each year.

The Challenge: Transform the Patient Experience

The healthcare industry’s shift to value-based care coupled with growing consumerism makes it critical to deliver a patient experience that will both retain and attract patients. While providers strive to be more consumer-centric to meet patients’ expectations, there are significant obstacles to overcome. Creating the seamless user experience and the high-quality service level patients desire is often challenging due to disparate data systems. When data operates in silos, it forces patients to interact with multiple systems, creating an inefficient, often-frustrating experience.

Saltzer Medical Group wanted to take the first steps to improving the patient experience but wasn’t sure where to begin. Having worked with Change Healthcare since 2017 via its Physician Revenue Cycle Management Services, the group asked for assistance with its digital transformation journey.

The Solution: A Consumer-Centric Survey to Launch the Patient Digital Experience

Obtaining insights on the current patient experience is typically the first step in the digital transformation journey. Change Healthcare recommended customizing a patient-satisfaction survey that would enable Saltzer to obtain feedback to drive both initial and continuous improvements. While the medical group had used satisfaction surveys before, including the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), they were all paper surveys mailed to patients’ homes and the response rate was poor. Additionally, the medical group struggled with how to tie the responses it did receive to specific actions it could take to make improvements.

To determine how to increase patient engagement with the survey, as well as primary focus areas, four Change Healthcare team members spent two weeks on-site with the medical group. The team interviewed staff and patients to zero in on top concerns or ‘pain points’, and to solicit input/ feedback on a survey design and delivery that would be consumer-centric.

The team then designed a patient experience survey in collaboration with Adobe and Microsoft, Change Healthcare’s partners in creating the Loyalty module of the Digital Experience Manager solution. The survey is personalized with the patient’s name and delivered digitally immediately after the care interaction, while the experience is still fresh in the patient’s mind. It includes three short questions that can be answered by selecting a facial expression (smile, neutral, or frown) that reflects the experience; the patient can then select from a short list of options to help explain the face chosen.

The timing and delivery of the survey is designed to be more engaging than traditional surveys, which often arrive in the mail weeks after the care encounter, are lengthy and timeconsuming to take, and require the patient to return via mail.

“We’ve participated in previous paper surveys,” says Julie Allen, executive director of the medical group, “but they haven’t been user friendly for the patient. Change Healthcare provided a fully turn-key process that is very easy to administer.”

The digital delivery is not just convenient for patients; it also enables Saltzer Medical Group to obtain actionable feedback in real time, so its team can make both immediate and continuous quality improvements.

The Result: Actionable Insights to Drive Patient Satisfaction and Loyalty, and Improve Practice Reputation

Saltzer Medical Group implemented the patient experience survey in October of 2017, and the impact was felt immediately.

“We had a higher response rate than I would have ever imagined,” Allen says, attributing the response to the thoughtful investment of time in designing the user experience. “Our internal satisfaction is high and the actionable results are delivered in a very visual way that MDs can readily grasp.”

“We had a higher response rate than I would have ever imagined. Our internal satisfaction is high and the actionable results are delivered in a very visual way that MDs can readily grasp.”

-  Julie Allen
Executive Director
Saltzer Medical Group

The survey is generating a 27.43% email open rate, which exceeds the industry average of 21.09%¹. Likewise, the click-through/survey completion rate has shown similar success at a consistent 16.35%, far above the industry average of 2.25%².

Because the results are delivered in real-time via dashboards, Saltzer can use the feedback to make immediate improvements as well as to spotlight where the practice is meeting or exceeding customer expectations; Allen says the latter encourages everyone on the team to adopt highly rated processes and behaviors.

Additionally, Allen says providing patients with an easy-to-use outlet for sharing unsatisfactory experiences has enabled staff to make internal improvements, resulting in fewer negative online reviews. [For example, Saltzer restructured its call center to reduce wait and hold times and to minimize transfers.] Patient ratings are continuously improving; the most recent quarterly report showed a 9% increase in patients ‘likely to recommend’ the practice. When this type of positive feedback is submitted, the patient is invited to write an online review, which in turn helps to bolster the organization’s reputation; more than 30 five-star reviews have been generated with this strategy.

Continuing the Digital Transformation Journey

Saltzer will continue to review survey feedback in real-time to expand its digital relationship with existing patients. As the medical group progresses on its digital transformation journey, a holistic future view could include offering new patients digital front door access, ongoing engagement through personalized digital preferences and channels, and 24/7 access to shopping tools, such as consumer reviews and pricing.

1. Email Marketing Benchmarks, MailChimp, March 2018.   
https://mailchimp.com/resources/email-marketing-benchmarks/

2. Ibid.

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