Fred Reichheld joined Steve Bonner, CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America for the closing session of the conference. Fred opened with a new point of view on Net Promoter, describing it as a way of taking a biblical proverb and turning it into a management system:
"A good name is more desirable than great riches. To be highly respected is better than having silver or gold."
Fred suggested a familiar sounding formula: "Think of it as Lives Enriched minus Lives Diminished, divided by Lives Touched." Is it really that simple? Ultimately, the goals of NPS are, but as we saw throughout the conference the actions and processes that allow you to create this outcome take a lot of hard work.
Steve Bonner – Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)
Steve Bonner reinforced this by describing the many systematic things CTCA does to define it’s mission, design it’s desired experience, and reinforce quality of healthcare through regular feedback and management approaches.
He started by offering his personal view on the challenges for the health care industry to transform patient care. Steve pointed out that 16% of GDP in the United States today is being spent on healthcare, and this number is trending upwards in an unsustainable way. The vast majority of money being spent is on helping sick people get well. The real opportunity for us is to convert this into a true "health" care industry, to help healthy people stay healthy.
How NPS Can Shine the Light on Healthcare Quality
Quality and efficiency are the other big issues for the industry. This is where NPS could play in transforming this major sector of the economy.
Steve asked, "How could we use Net Promoter to accomplish more than reform. What would happen if we gave the consumer the same level of control over their choices that they have in other healthy industries?"
Steve called it a "renaissance," with the voice of the consumer at the center of it. He shared with us two videos from real patients, starting with Jerry Bradshaw, a police dispatcher from North Carolina, who was treated at CTCA’s Tulsa, Oklahoma facility. The video was from their "celebrate life" event, for patients who return to celebrate their 5 year anniversary of seeking treatment at one of the CTCA facilities.
CTCA’s average patient travels over 500 miles one way to come to one of their centers for treatment. This demonstrates how consumers are willing to take control of their own healthcare. Steve believes that when consumers take control of their healthcare decisions and choices, it can truly transform the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery: and the patient experience.
What does CTCA do that is different?
Here are a few examples that Steve gave:
- They publish on their website outcomes based on length of life, quality of life, and NPS.
- They start every board meeting with a visit from a patient.
- They do regular focus groups to explore how they could improve care.
- They round with patients in the hospital every day, talking with them informally.
- And they survey patients continuously in all of the facilities, to understand how they are doing in accomplishing their goal of top quality delivery of care.
Operating units get feedback from the survey each night, and they close the loop with the patient the next day. This closed loop entices patients into the process because they understand (and believe) it will make a difference. Most patients are contacted, and the vast majority (60-90% of them) respond with their feedback. They have brought the NPS down to the level of individual physicians, allowing them to compare their feedback to their peers in their specialty.
What this approach has gained for CTCA is a community of cancer survivors who are Promoters for the organization. The company’s four facilities, located in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Arizona, all operate at NPS levels of 80%+.
For some companies, this may seem incredible…but think of it this way. Imagine that you or your parent was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, and you went on a search to find the best place to receive care. Imagine that you not only received great medical care, but also had an amazing overall experience that built your trust. And imagine that the treatment worked.
While the last step in this chain is not in CTCA’s control, I’m guessing most patients understand that….so what would you say if someone asked your opinion? How would you feel about an organization that accomplished this?
Peronally, I think the upside for healthcare oriented companies is huge. What industry has a greater potential to develop trusted relationships with its customers? I’m hoping that 5 years from now, this industry will have taken the example of CTCA and created a true "renaissance" in customer-focused care. Thank you, Steve, for the inspiration.