Mickey Mouse Medicine? You Should Be So Lucky

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The book does not have an author listed anywhere. It was written by an institute and begins with this quote: “In this volatile business of ours, we can ill afford to rest on our laurels, even to pause in retrospect. Time and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.”

Though he could have been talking about medical imaging in 2013, Walt Disney was describing the entertainment industry.

The book, written by the Disney Institute, Be Our Guest, and is is an excellent companion to Fred Lee’s If Disney Ran Your Hospital.

Much has been written about applying Disney principles to medical services, but in Be Our Guest, there is more meat and potatoes, that is, there is more specific, tactical information that may help you create the enterprise you desire.

One important section is the book’s description of the setting – your facility environment — an area in which many folks in medical imaging could use some inspiration.

The Disney Institute authors note that in the past, service was delivered by people and processes and that the setting in which these services are delivered is often overlooked. In a proper setting, the detail of a Disney experience is transferred to your reception area, your scan rooms and any other place a patient may be asked to visit.

At Newport Diagnostic Center (NDC) in Newport Beach, Calif., for example, the environment is tastefully crafted and supports their philosophy of patient-centered care. The walls are decorated with fine art and the furniture would be appropriate in any quality home.

Patients who utilize NDC’s Cyberknife services will find themselves staring at a beautifully painted ceiling that is expertly lighted.

At NDC, it is not enough to deliver a quality medical imaging service to a patient via a timely, accurate report. That patient should also be made to feel welcome, relaxed and respected.

Contrast NDC with a client in a blue collar area whose reception area floor is old vinyl tile and the chairs needed reupholstering about five years ago. Though the competency of the radiologists is without question, it is true in this case that “people judge what they can’t see by what they can see.”
The welcoming environment is more important today, thanks to the rise of the Internet because the people in your organization have far fewer opportunities to make a good first impression. More often, a computer does that.

“All organizations, knowingly or unknowingly, build messages into the settings in which they operate,” reads the book. “In each case, the setting in which they buy these products is communicating a great deal about the quality of the products and the level of service they can expect, not to mention the price they are willing to pay.”

Setting is crucial in medical imaging, where patients seldom see the radiologists who are interpreting their scans. In this case, the welcome, relaxed and respected feeling is left to the staff and the environment.

So, how do you know whether your setting passes muster? Ask. Survey your patients. And if you are already surveying them, be sure to include a section on your setting.


Steve SmithWith over 25 years of marketing experience — nine years as a former Vice President of Marketing for a leading healthcare marketing company — Steve Smith has consistently developed effective strategies to help fuel the growth of countless healthcare enterprises. Since 2007, he has specialized as a marketing and business development consultant to medical imaging facilities nationwide. Mr. Smith has been a featured speaker at imaging conferences and is a former member of the marketing subcommittee of the Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA). He has contributed marketing articles to numerous healthcare publications, including Physician’s Money Digest, Radiology Business Journal and more. Mr. Smith is the creator of “Ten Seconds to Great Customer Service™,” a medical imaging training program that provides easy-to-use tactical customer service support to staff.