When was the last time when you were on the receiving end of remarkable service?

I’m reading The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore and thinking about how to build a practice around creating memorable patient experiences. According to the authors in the Experience Economy every business is a stage, therefore work is theater.

Now that may sound odd and out of place in a traditionally sterile place like a medical practice. But if you want to rise above the commoditization of your therapy services you might want to take a second look staging extraordinary experiences for your clients.

Take a look at this video by PwcHealth on captilizing on your patient experience as a competitive edge for your business.

The experience economy can be traced by to its beginnings to one man and the company he founded: Walt Disney. At this year’s APTA Combined Sections Meeting 2015 I attending a presentation by Dennis Bush titled “What are Your Purple Cows?” The title is based upon the influential book of the same name by Seth Godin.

Dennis is a PA with extensive experience as a healthcare leader, national consultant and builder of the Disney-Healthcare service model. It was from his “magical moments” at Disney that Mr. Bush related to when teaches us to create service magic in our businesses.

The main concept of Dennis’s presentation was creating opportunities for memorable moments that lead to patient loyalty. Therapy services have been around for decades and many have evolved into the same old rehab services. Routine rehab services repeated in clinic after clinic all across the U.S.  If you want to get notice. If you want to get more business. If you want to stand out from the herd. Create memorable experiences for your patients.

3 Tactics to Create Memorable Moments for Patients

Perception is Reality

By most accounts Disney is a “Great” organization. At Disney memorable guest experiences are not left to chance. They are tactical moves that follow a service strategy to create an opportunity for a Disney magical moment. You begin to create a perception in your guest’s mind of reality.   Perceptions begin long before the patient meets the therapist. Perceptions of the clinic begins with the website, in the parking lot and perceptions continue when your patients approach the “Welcome Center” rather than the front desk.

Manage those perceptions and you will manage your patient’s reality. Carefully think through the patient’s sensations of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste of your clinic’s first impressions. Tactically use all senses to create a memorable therapy experience and you will create outstanding patient loyalty.

Pay Attention to Detail

Dennis shared a video of him going to a seafood restaurant and heading straight back to the bathroom. On the way he checked out the kitchen, an open door to the outside and a absolutely gross bathroom. The next shot is of them heading out the door to look for another place to eat.

Try to use a fresh set of eyes, ears, nose and mouth to experience what your patients experience when in your clinic. Is it a healthy and happy place? Is it a clean place that they can feel safe? What can you do with the sights, sounds and smells to make your patients feel at home?

A majority of our patients were older adults so we played big band music. We installed an internet radio so we could play the patients favorite music while they exercised. We had pictures from the forties and fifties to help our patient bring the good old days into the present.

Connect Memorable Experiences to Measurable Outcomes

We are in the healthcare not entertainment business. It is very important the management of your memorable moments to business metrics. Remarkable customer service is a reward in and of itself but it should not stand alone. Positive patient experience is part of a larger strategy of excellence. You must measure to evaluate what works.

Mr. Bush gave an example of entering patients into a contest for a reward only if they hadn’t missed any appointments. A patient loyalty call on their birthday to not only wish them a happy day but to check on their health status for a possible reactivation.


What is one change you can make to create a memorable moment with your next patient?