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Insights: What the medical world can learn from Disney, Google and the San Diego Zoo

Podcast - September 18, 2019

Patient Flow

Patient Engagement

Population Health



In this episode, we’re joined by Cynthia Sharpe, Principal of Cultural Attractions and Research for the Thinkwell Group. Sharpe brings guest behavior, museum and education perspectives to her many projects, giving her unique insights on going beyond hospitality in healthcare and the lessons the industry can learn from experience design at theme parks and other attractions.

Don't quite have time to listen to the entire episode? No worries. We've compiled an assortment of highlights from Sharpe's interview for your convenience: 
  • (6:20) "Experience management looks at every touchpoint and every point on the path of a user's journey. And I use the word ‘user’ really carefully, because it's more than just the guest or the staffer. In the case of a museum, for instance, it's everybody who's involved in that space. And it's more than just the patient and the clinician in the case of a healthcare setting. It's the patient, it's the family or the caregivers, the community that surround them. It's the staff, and it's the clinician, and experience management looks at all of the places, processes and platforms that those people move through, and all of those touch points."
  • (10:44) “If we make the process less painful, patients are more compliant. They’re more likely to seek care. They’re more likely to follow up on clinician instructions. The research is really robust, that as patient experience improves, compliance improves, and then we see better outcomes. And ultimately, it’s not that we want to turn every hospital into a theme park — it’s that we want people to be healthier.”
  • (18:11) "We tend not to think in the healthcare setting about people engaging physically with information, with content. We speak it at them in the exam room, there are incredibly overwhelming posters with a ton of information and jargon on them in the exam room, but we don't necessarily think about spaces or materials in those rooms that allow people to basically chew through some pretty heavy stuff. And that's an ethos and a theory that we bring to it as well."
  • (30:02) "We’re not talking about putting rides in your waiting room. We're not talking about making everything filled with princesses and talking animals. Helping people understand that 75% of what you experience at a theme park or a museum, you never see the work that goes into it. You never see the planning that goes into ‘What do we do if things go wrong?’ In healthcare, things go wrong. Somebody has lab results that you weren't expecting, and the course that you thought they were going to go down takes a wildly divergent turn. The cancer patient blows a heart attack when they're in your office for their regular checkup. It happened to my dad. In theme parks, rides break. Lines get huge. People get angry. Hurricanes hit. Tornadoes hit. … Stuff goes wrong, and experience management considers not just the what's the optimal path when everything works right, but also the what are the likely paths of failure and how do you mitigate them? And that's a really hard concept sometimes to get across, that you can actually design for failure."

Here are some links and references related to this week’s show:
Along with co-presenter and former Insights guest Dr. Steven Merahn, Sharpe can be heard speaking at MGMA19 | The Annual Conference, Oct. 13-16 in New Orleans.

Did you miss early bird registration? Don’t worry, we have you covered! Use the code POD200 while registering and save $200. Visit mgma.com/bigeasy19 for more info and to register.

If you like the show, please subscribe and rate and review it wherever you get your podcasts. We love hearing from listeners about the show. If you have topics you’d like us to cover or experts you’d like us to interview, email us at podcasts@mgma.com.

MGMA Insights is presented by Craig Wiberg, Rob Ketcham, Decklan McGee and Daniel Williams.

Thanks to Stericycle for sponsoring this episode of MGMA Insights. To learn more about how Stericycle can ensure your practice remains safe, secure and compliant, visit stericycle.com/reliability.
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