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Five Truths of Transformation from VCU Health

Today’s healthcare landscape is rapidly changing with new competitors constantly entering the market and news dominated by headlines of retail giants dipping their toes in healthcare. While this can lead to innovation and drive quality care, it also leaves healthcare leaders asking: How do we compete? 

But at Richmond-based Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, they are asking themselves a different question: “How do we meet patients (as consumers) where they are?” 

Alexa Warner, manager of the strategy and marketing department at VCU Health, recently joined a Becker's Hospital Review webinar, sponsored by Envera Health and Evariant, to discuss how they are adapting to today’s consumer-oriented healthcare environment by building a unified “front door” for their system – capable of providing a unified, personalized experience and creating patient loyalty. 


5 Truths we heard about the Transformation at VCU Health: ​

1. The current experience is unsynchronized. 

To provide a star service, we’re going to have to change. We need to synchronize what happens behind the scenes and on the front stage. This means breaking down the typical back-end operational silos common in health systems across the country and working to better align the people, processes and technologies. 

2. Marketing has a role in the overall patient experience. 

We’re not the art department. We’re a member of the operational team. When clinical leaders and service lines are asking for marketing campaign support to drive growth, Alexa uses these three questions to determine operational readiness and whether or not it makes sense for a digitally focused CRM campaign: 

  • Has this been deemed an institutional priority? 
  • Is this service driven by consumer choice? Is this something that consumers shop for? 
  • Does they have real access and low wait times (ie. less than 2 weeks)? 

3. Technology does not provide an instant one stop solution. 

There is a point where you need to say, let’s just cut it with all the cool technology and just fix our problem. 

4. If you want to maintain loyalty, you need to think differently about access and experience. 

This means being available and closing the loop across touchpoints, channels and platforms – from digital marketing campaigns to centralized communication, and provider visits to follow-ups/reminders. 

5. Slow and steady really does win the race. 

“The reality is – this is really hard work,” Alexa shared, “but it’s so worth it.” Her advice to systems looking to do similar work is to just “start somewhere.” 


To hear more about the transformation to consumer-oriented care at VCU Health, watch the webinar today!