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Dissecting the Patient-Consumer Quadrants

January 15, 2024

An obvious but telling truth: hospitals and health systems thrive with actionable data to guide future initiatives. To see the full picture of their healthcare experience, we encourage our partners to conduct research across PRC’s solution lines and explore the intersection between care teams. One powerful research combination lies in the one-two punch of Patient Experience and Consumer & Brand studies. When conducted together, you’re able to view organizational performance according to the people you serve and how the general public perceives that performance (i.e., your brand reputation). While many assume the two are one and the same, they are far from identical, so we work with our partners to bridge the gap between patient and consumer performance in a way that optimizes both regards for sustained organizational success.

The Quadrants

When conducting Patient Experience and Consumer & Brand research together, we’re able to place the client organization on the quadrant chart below and articulate the synergy between their patient and consumer findings. The corresponding quadrants define direction for the organization’s improvement efforts, effectiveness of marketing intervention, and potential plans for future studies. Where patient experience is ongoing and employee, physician, and community health research have reasonable intervals for re-administration, consumer & brand studies exist in a more fluid state as it relates to organizational needs. Indeed, while every hospital’s excellence journey is different, establishing a quadrant baseline can provide telling insight for organizations as they chart their next steps. (NOTE: Because you can’t create strong consumer perceptions without a patient experience that backs it up, organizations never really fall into the “High Consumer/Low Patient Perceptions” quadrant—thus will be excluded in the following explanations.)

Patient-Consumer Quadrants

Orange: Low Consumer & Patient Perceptions

This quadrant represents a foundational/building (or re-building) period for an organization. While the need for marketing remains, the patient experience scores illustrate clear room for improvement. As such, it shouldn’t be expected to have a strong brand reputation without results that warrant such reputation. In this instance, communications touting an excellent organization could hurt the reputation if the patient perception doesn’t match the brand’s promise. For example, with Bounty’s tagline, “Quicker Picker Upper,” imagine if people bought Bounty paper towels expecting them to be super absorbent, only to discover that they, in fact, were not. The consumer distrust created by Bounty would be palpable if this were the case; the same goes for brand perceptions and patient experience.

Compared to the other quadrants, the cadence of consumer & brand research takes a back seat to cultivating a meaningful healthcare experience. In addition to identifying growth opportunities in patient experience data, the employee and physician experience lay the foundation for excellent care. In this quadrant especially, research should also be considered to ensure your organization is providing a work culture and practice environment that positions your care teams to create a patient experience worthy of positive consumer perceptions.

Dark Blue: Low Consumer/High Patient Perceptions

Marketing has its time to shine in this quadrant. The patient experience is strong, but it’s not reflected by the sentiment of their service area for whatever reason. Consumer research seeks to uncover where these discrepancies form, equipping your marketing team with insights to better reach your consumers and convey the excellence you provide; excellence that shapes your organizational brand. In this quadrant, we encourage our client partners to take action in their branding, conducting consumer studies annually or biannually to track their progress in moving the needle to the next quadrant.

Blue: High Consumer & Patient Perceptions

Here is where organizations strive to be in the patient-consumer dynamic: excellent patient experience that’s known by their community. Nonetheless, the ever-changing nature of healthcare requires hospitals to stay diligent even if they reach this point, hence the ongoing need for patient experience research. Similarly, while organizations may not need to conduct consumer studies at the same active cadence as the preceding quadrant, it’s still beneficial to collect refreshed data every few years to identify new market trends and uphold their positive consumer perceptions.

However, all these considerations can’t begin without establishing a baseline quadrant placement. The most powerful and nuanced research comes from multiple perspectives, so as we start the new year, we invite our partners to strategize their research with the big picture in mind, recognizing the sum of multiple insights coming together to chart the course towards impactful organizational excellence.

Understanding which quadrant your organization falls into is the first step to regaining your market’s attention. Fill out the form below to connect with our patient and consumer experts to conduct an analysis for your organization.

About the Author

Keith Schneider
Director, Consumer & Brand
Joining PRC in 2002 with a lifelong passion for branding, Keith employs a deep-seated set of marketing and research skills to help clients obtain actionable insights that will enable them to make strategic decisions to deliver quality care in ways that elevate their brand. During his tenure at PRC, Keith has managed hundreds of complex, custom research projects for healthcare organizations throughout the United States, overseeing the sample design stages, script-writing functions, and sample generation for PRC’s computer-aided telephone interviewing system as well as electronic surveys. Through timely deliverables and engaging, informative presentations, Keith helps ensure that clients have the data they need to assess their image, interpret the findings and fulfill all their research objectives. He currently leads PRC’s Consumer & Brand division and guides custom research to enhance clients’ marketing and branding efforts. Keith earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska–Omaha.