Improving the customer experience for patients and health plan members, at the highest level, is based on a simple process.  Measure the right things, evaluate, take action, re-measure, evaluate, take action and so on. 

We know the right things to focus on based on more than 25 years of experience in health plan member and patient satisfaction measurement and all the qualitative and quantitative research associated with that work. Getting accurate readings on the right things requires an instrument that produces valid and reliable measurements and a process that produces a representative sample of members or patients.  We will not go into the intricacies of instrument development; suffice it to say that we know how to develop these tools and we know how to generate representative samples.

For the evaluation process, DSS has developed modeling approaches and statistical tools that tell us how important different items are to members or patients and how you are doing on those things relative to the competition.  The modeling approaches and the statistical tools used are somewhat arcane.  However, the results can be displayed in a simple matrix like the one shown below.

Importance/Performance Matrix

DSS Research POWeR importance vs. performance matrix

DSS Research POWeR importance vs. performance matrix

You don’t have to look at or think about the matrix very long before you realize you will have the greatest impact on improving the member or patient experience by focusing on those things that are in the lower right quadrant.  These are the things that are most important in driving the quality of the member / patient experience on which you are doing relatively poorly. 

Where to Focus Matrix

Up to this point, the whole process has been in the hands of the researcher.  Now, managers must step into the picture and decide what to do based on these findings.  Due to resource constraints and other considerations, it is likely that all of the items in the lower right hand quadrant cannot be addressed immediately or simultaneously. 

Managers must look at those items and begin to evaluate the time and resource requirements needed to make improvements in each area.  At this point, managers might construct their own matrix like the one shown below.  This is a quick and simple way to begin to prioritize lower right hand quadrant items in terms of how quickly they can be addressed / improved and the costs associated with that improvement.

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