Nick Ragone

Ascension’s work to create easy access, availability, convenience and choice at an affordable cost for consumers is highlighted in two stories in healthcare trade publication Modern Healthcare.

In a guest column, Nick Ragone, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Ascension, says that besides safe, high-quality care, today’s healthcare consumers want convenience and choice, and that expectation is behind Ascension’s national marketing and branding strategy.

“It is often said that a brand is simply a promise; a great brand is a promise kept,” Nick says. “We would be wise to borrow a page or two from other industries’ playbooks, where there is a relentless focus on keeping the brand promise and delivering a fantastic experience for every consumer for each and every engagement.”

It’s important to know what matters most to consumers to create a great overall experience for them, he says.

“Ascension is focusing on creating a consistently exceptional experience by building a personalized, compassionate relationship with each person we serve, and it starts with listening,” Nick says. “We are implementing that by adopting one marketing/customer-relationship-management tool across all of our systems that creates regular individual touch points and opportunities for feedback. We have reimagined our web experience for consumers by creating web entry points to enable similar functionality, metrics and data. We are also implementing online scheduling in all our markets so consumers have easier access to our physicians and sites of care.”

In a separate article, Modern Healthcare highlights Ascension’s national campaign to promote online scheduling for primary and urgent care and emergency room visits.

“Online scheduling has become a differentiator when it comes to patient accessibility and a great consumer experience,” Nick tells Modern Healthcare. “We’re aggressively marketing it across our entire system with the idea of winning at the point of engagement, which increasingly is taking place on small devices such as phones and iPads.”

Modern Healthcare says a recent survey by Accenture found that 77 percent of patients consider it important to be able to book, change or cancel appointments online, especially when the average time it takes to book an appointment over the phone is estimated at 8 minutes.

“As Ragone mentioned and Ascension President and CEO Anthony Tersigni has commented in recent months, Ascension is increasingly looking for ways to make healthcare more convenient, including expanded access to telemedicine,” Modern Healthcare says. “Ascension in March also announced plans to hire a chief digital officer – a first for the system – to help standardize its clinical and payment data in an effort to reduce variation and increase efficiencies.”