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Transcript for Beyond the Stethoscope Vital Conversations with SHP Episode 2 – The Experience Economy | With Scott Regan – Part 2

Scott Regan

So have to look at all of this from the eyes of the patient and we have to look at it critically. That’s the that’s the first step, step back and look at the experience from the eyes of the patient. We know what that experience is. The doctors, the administrators, they know you know they know because you because you work with a lot of these folks and I’m and they probably gripe to you about some of these things and they gripe to me I work with a lot of physician practices and they’re always asking how do how do we fix this.

The check in process here our check in process is a mess. Well, it’s actually easy to fix if you want to fix it.

But fixing it requires the train people that do things differently, and that’s where we all always fail. People like to go back to the way the things were because they’re comfortable with it, and it’s easy for them may not be good for the patient.

Mike Scribner

And I guess to cut that positive.

It does feel like this is such an anomaly and that reordering my practice to be experienced based would be so unique that there’s there would seem to be some branding benefit, some you know leveraging of the concept owned two growth if we can crack that nut.

Scott Regan

Well, you know, I would look at the concierge medicine model not as going to that model, but looking at what concierge medicine is trying to do the, the, the whole basis of concierge medicine is trying to create a much better experience for the patient of one, a true one to one relationship. You got me 24/7. I’m gonna if you go to the ER, I’m going to show up for you. I’ll be there. All those different, all those things. And so in order to provide that, doctors are saying I can’t do that for 3000 patients. But I can do it for 600.

I challenge that thinking there was some things in concierge medicine then I think are applicable.

In a in a big practice, some of this you know and the payback. You know, if you just had one person dedicated to truly all they did in a big practice was answer the phone and get people to the right place and call people back the you know your it’s an expensive $30,000 a year maybe 35 of and but the reward is probably huge just by being able to have that kind of personal experience that somebody’s calling you back in 10 minutes. Sorry that you got voicemail.

Or they get a live person on the phone, you know, so you know, how do you know? Can we take the best of what concierge medicine has to offer and integrate it into a large practice that’s not doesn’t want to go to the concierge, right route. And I think there were ways to do it. The technology is there’s all sorts of technology coming out that that allows us to automate a lot of things and things better.

Unfortunately, you know the EMR’s or can be pretty complex and we’re focused on getting bills to the insurance company getting them through the payment processors and all those sorts of things that we lose sight of. All the other things that we could be doing to you know, beyond just making sure we drop the bill correctly and we and we collect the time we have to do those things. But we ought to be investing in other technology in other and sometimes just some as aesthetic.

Redesign of our rooms and our processes so that our patients, when we come in, they feel like this is a this is a warm and friendly place. I like coming here. I like coming here because it’s the experience is is very welcoming. I don’t feel like I’m just a patient with a number waiting to have a charge dropped and so many of us feel that way and healthcare today.

Mike Scribner

So Scott, as you interact with practices how do you assess for all that? Like, is there a process you go through to kind of get the pros and cons and kind of point it in a direction?

Scott Regan

I was asked to work with UH-4 primary care clinics up on the Jersey Shore last year and I’m still working with him.

And the first, and they’re very they’re their primary care practices and they, you know, the very multiracial, multiethnic communities.

And the first thing I did, I spent four hours just sitting in the lobby of each one of those practices. The first four hours of the morning on four consecutive days, just watching, just watching what happened. And the most amazing thing to me that didn’t happen was the administrator never came out to see what was going on herself. And the administrator is locked in the back office was literally chaos out in the front lobby. It’s and it’s designed chaos. That was the thing.

It was designed chaos. The process was designed that way and I’m sitting there and I’m looking. And when I brought the administrator out that afternoon and I said, I said Kim first, I want you to, I want you to look around on the wall. Say if there was a spot that they could tape something that told you what you weren’t allowed to do.

It they had a taped up there, you know, as of this date, we’re no longer. You can no longer give us checks as of this date. You have to sign in on this table over here. You, you cannot, you know, do not come over here if you don’t have your proper paperwork. I mean, there’s all this negative stuff. Is this vibe of Oh my God. It’s like we really don’t want you here. I mean it was. It was on the glass in front of the check in people. It was on the walls as it was everywhere there was. There was these.

Hand typed and a lot of them had grammatical errors. You know, somebody’s just pounding it out on their on word and printing it on their computer and they’re sticking it up on a wall. I said, what’s the impression you get here? No, you’re not wanted. You’re not wanted. I said the first thing you need to do is take everything off these walls. And she looked at me kind of stunned and she goes, but you know the CEO of the of the of the primary care system. He told me to put some of this stuff up there. I said well.

The it’s nonsense. Tear it all down, I said. You got it. And I said I and I and I challenged her, thinking that that the, the, the CEO wanted you to cover this wall up with me. Every wall and every window, every door with negative messages, that pretty much tell the patient you’re a pain in the bot.

You know, our life would be easier if you didn’t come in than if you did. And so part of this, and I mean if.

Sometimes we don’t see things in our own practice, cause it’s been that way for so long and we come in every day and we see it the same way that that we’re that that.

We don’t even notice it anymore. It’s just a part of the way it is.

And like you and I were at Memorial Health together back in the in days where it wasn’t a great place to be and it was, it was very much like that people you know.

It things were so bad for so long that people said that’s just the way it is here and we see and, you know, people are so busy in a practice, especially a small practice. So one or two docs, a lot of patients and they don’t have time to sit out on the lobby and look and look around and see what’s going and talk to people.

But if we don’t make the time. Then the design of the experience that you get is what you deserve.

Because only by really observing can we really understand what’s not working and what’s, you know, listening to the interaction between the check in person and the patient.

East dropping on the conversations of people in the waiting room and what they’re saying, looking around at the aesthetics, you know, looking at everything that’s posted up there, you know, we create more barriers than a lot of practices to communication and building relationships. Then we then we when we tear it down because you know it’s okay there’s been a change in the copay process. Somebody stick a note off saying effective this date you now have to give US 2 forms of ID and.

A birth certificate. Everything else. If you wanna be seen and you know, so why do we have to do that? Why do why do we have? Why do we have to stick all the stuff up on the walls? And that’s and that’s and.

Every practice I’ve been in, unless it is like a plastic surgeon, you know, high end, there’s stuff everywhere you look at. I mean, there’s magazines on the table that date back to 1950, you know, 2002, 1015.

And because nobody, nobody’s cleaned up the all the, you know, people just come in and they throw, throw stuff and throw stuff down. I went into one practice and there’s a little and there’s and there was a rack of cards for a church which I thought was kind of unusual and with little Bible statements on it and for this practice with and I asked him I said wow did you guys put this out that’s I’m surprised you would do this because I’m sure you’re kind of offensive to your Jewish patients and you’re Muslim patients and they said we didn’t know it was here.

No idea. So evidently you know the somebody came in from the church and just put stuff out.

And how long has it been there? Nobody knows, because there’s so much clutter that that nobody, nobody knows what’s sitting out there because nobody’s really taking a look at it. Nobody’s observing what’s going on. We walk in, we don’t see it anymore because it’s almost like we’re anesthetized to it. And we don’t want to deal with it because we we’ve never been able to fix it. So we stopped trying.

Mike Scribner

And I think that’s embedded in what you’re saying is that it’s the constant seeing it from the eyes of the patient or the patient’s family perspective rather than the administrative flow that has to occur to run a practice in the 1st place, right.

Scott Regan

Ohh, absolutely, absolutely we get. The administrators that I’ve worked with, and I’m sure you’ve seen the same thing, Mike, that they there’s, so I mean running a practice is tough work. It is hard today no matter what special to you’re in it is tough and you know you’re fighting insurance companies, you’re fighting.

You know the hospital on, you know, patients you sent or call coverage or whatever. There’s all this stuff going on that the last thing that gets taken care of is really.

The observational piece really spending time to be aware of the experience that you’ve created or not created in your practice, and we’ve gotta figure out how to carve time out of the day. I tell you what the number one thing that any administrator could do right now that would be a huge benefit. Spend one hour every day sitting in the lobby.

Just sit there and watch. You know, don’t be checking emails on your phone. Don’t sit there with your laptop. You know, you know, pounding out some correspondence or checking the billing status and tries. Just observe. And that one hour? You’ll learn so much, and most of you will just. And as Kim did when I had her sit with me, she was appalled, she said. I really can’t believe this has been going on under my watch. And I’ve been oblivious to it. I’ve been oblivious to it.

The next time I went up the month later, then before I even got to the practice, I said I am I I’m calling you just to let you know I’m. I just got off the airplane because got come to my practice first. I can’t wait for you to see it.

It was clean, it was neat. She actually came in on a weekend and bought her own paint and brush and painted the walls because she didn’t wanna wait. She didn’t wanna even get approval for it. She was the. And once I pulled everything off, you know, the tape ripped the paint off and you can see where things were tape. So I came in with my husband and we painted the walls and.

That’s a huge difference in appearance right off the bat. She still had a long way to go, but boy, I tell you what now. She was aware she was aware of this whole environment that her patients were being subjected to and the really bad experience. The next month I came up she in the corner. She had a little kids table with kids, books and little reading library because most of the patients come in with their kids, they’re working class people. And So what do you do and how do you keep the kids busy? So she had coloring books and crayons and.

And she had people donating this stuff. And so she had this little corner kids, kids section, I said. That’s brilliant. That’s and. And parents are like, ohh, I’d like to bring my kids in because they actually have something to do. So she, I mean it’s.

That’s you think that’s a small that’s a huge leap to moving from being a practice worried about just funneling patients through doing a practice as trying to adopt and adapt to the experience economy.

Jason Crosby

Scott, you mentioned a lot of ways to go about doing this, how some of the administrators can get started Fast forward a little bit post implementation.

Do you have mechanisms or they’re certain ways in which today’s administrator can measure the effectiveness of some of these? You know, tricks of the trade that you’re talking us through today, or is there just sort of a absorb these things into your culture sort of concept and frame of mind versus being so concerned about ROI measuring these items? Or are there ways in which you can measure them?

Scott Regan

Well, I think the best way to measure it is looking at patient volume and revenue because I I think this drives it. I really do and I don’t think this is just touchy feely stuff.

You know, without a doubt, if you have a great experience, people are gonna tell. Others are gonna refer people. They’ll, they’ll come back more often, especially if you’re in a more of a cash environment where you’re you have a spa or you’re doing laser treatments. But if you’re a strict, you know, orthopedic practice, neurology practice.

Pediatric practice and you have that kind of experience. People tell their friends. I mean they, they tell their relatives and somebody says, hey, I need a neuro, a neurologist. Who would you go see? It’s Oh my God, my neurologist. Unbelievable. What they do for you. Let me tell you. And versus one that says uh my neurologist.

I don’t anywhere but anywhere but there so there, you know, word of mouth marketing is still and always built will be the best form of marketing and healthcare and I don’t care how many billboards you put up or radio spots or you know, specials you run or events you do that that word of mouth referral is absolutely critical. And if we want more of those, we have to deliver not just great quality but we also have to deliver a great experience.

Jason Crosby

Fantastic. Well, Scott, if our audience wants to learn more, how can they go about doing so? How? How can they find you?

Scott Regan

Well, they can, you know, they can e-mail me at That’s LED. Dash WORKS. Scott at They can pick up the phone and call me and I won’t put my phone number on here. But certainly if they contact you guys, you can send them my way. I’d be more than happy to have a dialogue with anybody who’s listening to your podcast. Who wants to learn more?

Learn from my experiences in trying to create positive experiences for physician practices and hospitals more than happy to share the knowledge.

Jason Crosby

Fantastic. Well, great information. I didn’t even better conversation, Scott. We share the listeners, will find it all very useful and hopefully applicable to their organization where you’re really appreciate your time. And joining us today. And we want to thank our listeners as well and. Certainly look forward to the next podcast. Thanks a lot, Scott.

Scott Regan

Thanks for having me.

Jason Crosby

Thank you.

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