Mickey Mouse meets health care

Can a patient’s experience with health care providers be as engaging, entertaining and satisfying as time spent at amusement parks? The Disney Institute thinks so, and has established a program to help health providers delight health consumers called Building a Culture of Healthcare Excellence.

With the tagline, “D-Think Your Way to Success,” The Disney Institute offers programs that help organizations apply Disney’s lessons in customer service, creativity and leadership to their own situations. In the case of the Healthcare Excellence program, Disney is looking to re-focus health care delivery beyond clinical outcomes toward the overall patient experience.

The Institute’s press release notes that the HCAHPS survey on patients’ experiences with providers compares hospitals on the basis of communication with doctors and nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, and the hospital’s physical environment. Increasingly, patients-as-consumers will use these metrics to make choices about which hospitals to patronize.

To explain how their concepts apply to health providers, The Disney Institute website features a case study of the Florida Hospital for Children which has incorporated some of the Disney lessons into its patient-facing programs.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:   The book The Experience Economy, published in 1998, talked about the value of transformation for a consumer encounter with a business. In the case of health care, what could be more relevant than a transformational experience, either for people who are sick seeking treatment to get well, or for people who want to improve their health status?

I’ve often asked the question of medical device, IT and health providers, “What would Steve Jobs do? What would Disney do? What would Procter & Gamble do?” when it comes to developing user-focused health products and services. Now Disney believes it has the answer to that question.


About Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is a health economist, advisor and trend-weaver to organizations at the intersection of health, technology and people. Jane founded THINK-Health after spending a decade as a health care consultant in firms in the U.S. and Europe. Jane’s clients are all stakeholders in health, including technology, bio/life sciences, providers, plans, financial services, consumer products, public sector and not-for-profit organizations. Jane founded the Health Populi blog in 2007, covering health policy, technology, and consumers.

7 Responses to Mickey Mouse meets health care

  1. J-Coby Wayne July 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Great concept and needed awareness when it comes to building a health care culture in contrast
    to a generally fear-based illness mitigation culture.

  2. Marcela July 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    There’s also a book out: “If Disney Ran Your Hospital” by Fred Lee

  3. Dial Doctors July 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    This is a great approach to health care where consumer satisfaction is a priority. The Disney Institute shines the light on patient-centered care and reaps the benefits. I wonder which, if any, hurdles did they encounter in the way. If they’re honest about those, other hospitals or health care providers can prepare and make appropriate changes.

  4. e-Patient Dave July 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Yes, absolutely; IMO this is another angle on something I’ve been citing, since I participated in my hospital’s lean workshop in March 2010: “This is the only industry I know of where the definition of quality doesn’t start with ‘What does the customer want?'”

    I hope the Planetree.org people will jump in and earn their propers for thinking this way long before Disney brought it to healthcare.

    AND, I hope teams who take do Disney events will go home and DO it, not just end up with a pretty binder on the bookshelf and still-sucky customer experiences.

    Medicine needs to get over the idea that the microscope or the bio-chart is the only thing that matters. Here’s hopin’!

  5. John Lynn July 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    “Disney is looking to re-focus health care delivery beyond clinical outcomes toward the overall patient experience.”

    I’d actually be happy if we were more worried about clinical outcomes. Instead, too many in healthcare are worried about the almighty dollar. More focus on clinical outcomes would provide a much better patient experience.

    Although, the idea of a fresh perspective on healthcare using Disney lessons is an interesting story. We’ll see how much of it is really practical and will be adopted.

  6. Treating Scoliosis July 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Disney has built a strong and trusted brand over time because they knew how to earn it. The health care industry is one of the most criticized industries. Maybe the Disney approach will be helpful. Putting the patients needs first should always be the main priority.

  7. Nicole Kidd July 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Thank you, Jane. And it brings to mind the recent interview with Guy Kawasaki who was talking up his 10th book “Enchantment” http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201107061000 – notwithstanding his personal “likeability” (as you can see from listeners’ comments), he repackaged some good points.
    NPR Forum: Enchanting colleagues and customers is one of the keys to success in business, says entrepreneur and former Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki. In his new book, Kawasaki lays out what he calls the “three pillars” of enchantment: likability, trustworthiness and a great cause. I think patients deserve those three pillars as well, no?!
    (like this info graphic which also has its place in healthcare http://blog.guykawasaki.com/#axzz1Rc2QSZwL)

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