Are poor healthcare communications making you sick?

Have you seen the ads that healthcare companies are airing on TV? They feature soothing music and heartwarming customer stories about the personal attention they’ve received from the company’s representatives. The message is pretty hard to miss: “We’re not just another huge, faceless corporation. We really care about you.”

Despite those tug-at-the-heartstrings ads, American consumers’ perception of the healthcare industry is largely negative. Most of us dread having to interact with our health plan providers. That’s because the industry suffers from serious communication problems.

When two different customer service reps provide two different and contradictory answers to the same question, that’s a communication problem. When your reimbursement claim is denied due to incomplete information, even though you followed directions carefully when you filled out the complicated, confusing form, that’s also a communication problem. When you’re forced to spend an hour on hold because you couldn’t find information on the company’s web site, that’s a communication problem, too.

In defense of the healthcare companies, they’re dealing with all the complexities of 21st century medical care. They’re managing diverse product lines and complicated accounting systems. They’re operating in a complex regulatory environment. They face tremendous challenges in controlling and managing huge amounts of information—and in sharing information with their customers.

Some of the industry’s leaders are working with us to improve their control of all this information. The Information Mapping method has proven ideal for transforming it into modularized, reusable content, as well as for designing content architectures that support quick, easy searches. The results are impressive reductions in search times and rapid resolution of customers’ concerns.

So maybe those TV ads can become reality. Maybe even a huge healthcare company can convince customers it cares and can provide the personal attention they deserve. But the way to make them believe isn’t with soothing music and carefully crafted stories—it’s all about recognizing and solving some very real communication problems.

If you’d like to learn more about how we’ve helped healthcare companies improve the way they communicate with their customers, click here.

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