Stepping Stones: How Health System Specialty Pharmacies Can Measure the Patient and Provider Experience 

Published 09/12/2019
by Brandon Newman

Delivering an excellent customer experience icritical for health system specialty pharmacies. As in other industries, providing great service to patients and providers will boost their engagement and loyalty, leading to stronger clinical results and financial growth. 

Pharmacy leaders have many options when determining how to measure the patient and provider experienceIn my work with health system specialty pharmacies, I have found the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to provide the most actionable and meaningful results.  

NPS is cross-industry, standardized tool for measuring customer loyalty that health systems across the country increasingly use to evaluate and improve the patient and provider experienceWhile traditional customer satisfaction surveys usually measure a customer’s perception of a specific interaction, NPS gauges a customer’s overall attitude toward your brand over time 

NPS is calculated based on responses to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleagueResponses are based on a 0 to 10 scale 

  • 9-10: These customers are Promoters. They are highly loyal and are likely to refer others 
  • 06: These customers are Detractors.” They are neither loyal nor likely to refer others 
  • 7-8: These customers are labeled “Passives.” They aren’t yet loyal, but could be if given appropriate attention.  

NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. A score between 41-100 is considered excellent, while a score between 0-40 is considered good. A score between -100-0 is considered poor.  

When implementing NPS for your health system specialty pharmacy, I recommend asking the following questions:  

  1. What’s your baseline – and what’s your goal? Establishing a baseline NPS before starting a health system specialty pharmacy prepares you to measure progress over time. At Trellis Rx, we conduct a baseline provider NPS survey before we integrate specialty pharmacy services into our partner health system’s outpatient clinics. If you already offer specialty pharmacy services, your first NPS can serve as baseline.You should also establish your target NPS to gauge performance and motivate your team. At Trellis Rx, we set goals based on industry benchmarks in partner with Zitter Health Insights
  2. When should you administer a NPS surveyThis question revolves around the best time to survey your customers. In my experience, I recommend waiting at least six months after their initial interaction with your health system specialty pharmacy. This gives customers many opportunities to interact with your team firstConducting NPS surveys with different groups of customers at least every six months is worthwhile if you have the resources to do so. 
  3. How will you administer your NPS survey? When deciding whether to administer NPS using internal resources or with an external partner, like Zitter Health Insights, there are many considerations including budget, capabilities, and resources. You should also consider what value you will gain by having access to the benchmarks and validity an external partner can potentially provide. Our health system partners administer provider NPS surveys using internal resources but leverage Zitter Health Insights to conduct patient NPS surveys.
  4. How will you use NPS results to improve? If you choose to use NPS to measure customer satisfaction, having a plan to leverage the results to improve your services is critical. I recommend adding questions to your surveys to gain information about the “drivers” of the results. For instance, consider including questions about the timeliness of communications or the helpfulness of the specialty pharmacy team. Based on your results, come up with ideas to enhance the customer experience. I have found handwritten thank you notes to be a strong tool for this.  

Regardless of what survey tool you decide to use, measuring customer loyalty is critical to driving growth for your health system specialty pharmacy. For additional best practices that accelerate specialty pharmacy success, see our recent Stepping Stones on establishing partnerships with payors, gaining LDD access, and integrating specialty pharmacy workflows in outpatient clinics.