Health system lauded for innovation now offering famous "warranty" based on patient expectations
"The way I see it, if you go into Starbucks and you're not happy with your order, they don't sip your latte and argue that they made it correctly. They just take care of you on the spot," Feinberg said. "What matters to me is that every patient is satisfied with their treatment and so I started thinking, 'What is our guarantee? What is our refund?' We need to be disruptive to move the practice of providing great patient experience forward and so the decision was made to give unsatisfied patients their money back."
A pilot of the program has been introduced at Geisinger Medical Center, the health system's main campus in Danville, Pa. A key component of the program is a patient app developed by Geisinger that allows certain surgery patients enrolled in the pilot to determine the amount of the refund they want based on their co-pay.
For example, if a spine surgery patient paid a $1,000 co-pay and they weren't pleased with how office staff treated them, they can log into the app and select from a sliding scale how much of their co-pay they want refunded. They can choose from $1 to $1,000 and the refund request is processed within 3 to 5 business days.
Feinberg doesn't anticipate the system will be abused and instead foresees patients sticking to the honor system.
"Ultimately, they just want to be acknowledged and to spare other families any pain they might have experienced," he said.
ProvenExperience is an evolution of Geisinger's renowned ProvenCare portfolio, which transformed the health care industry beginning in 2006 by proving that applying evidence-based protocols could reduce mortality rates, improve outcomes and reduce costly readmissions. It was deemed "surgery with a warranty" by The New York Times because if certain surgery patients are readmitted within 90 days with a preventable complication, they are taken care of at no extra charge.
"Historically, Geisinger's reputation has been based on transforming the way health care is delivered," Feinberg said. "We've been held up as a national model for providing both high-quality and cost-effective medical care and our ProvenCare program has garnered national - and international - praise for eliminating unwarranted variation and applying scientific best practices. Now is the time to focus on compassion."
ProvenExperience, he predicts, will transform the health care industry once again.
"In the beginning, I talked to other health system CEOs and industry leaders about ProvenExperience and they all said, 'Don't do it.' I really felt dejected," Feinberg explained. "Then I thought about Kodak executives discussing digital photography. And Blockbuster talking about online video options. Were they also told 'Don't do it?' That's when I said to myself, 'We're doing it.'"
Feinberg acknowledges that while some may see the money-back concept extreme, his focus is on "returning to the core of what we're supposed to do when given the privilege to take care of others."
"Really, what people want is care that's accessible, understandable, dignified and culturally sensitive," he said. "To me, patient experience is about providing the same quality of care I want for my family. And from a leadership standpoint, I consider every patient to be a member of my family and so we've got to provide every one of them the same high-quality, compassionate care."
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development of innovative care delivery models such as ProvenHealth Navigator®, ProvenCare® and ProvenExperience®. As one of the nation’s largest health service organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and also in southern New Jersey at AtlantiCare, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. In 2017, the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital became the newest members of the Geisinger Family. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 13 hospital campuses, two research centers, and a 583,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $12.7 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Geisinger has repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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