The Systems Behind The Smiles: Patient Experience

Skip the preamble and take me to the slides and speaker notes!

Thank you to TelmedIQ (HIMSS16 booth 12110) for sponsoring the webinar transcribed below.

Structured messaging is an example of the structured workflow for which I have been an evangelist for decades. Structured healthcare data is important, yes, Everyone acknowledges this. However, healthcare and health IT are just beginning to wrap their collective minds around the idea of structured workflow. Recently TelmedIQ (HIMSS16 booth 12110) sponsored my webinar, Wellness Through Workflow. (Thank you!). Over-and-above secure structured messaging, which is itself so relevant to care team coordination and consequent patient experience, the webinar is also a great introduction to structured healthcare workflow and workflow technology in general. Here are my slides and speaker notes from that webinar. Please excuse occasional transcription typos!

  1. Better Patient Experience Through Structured Messaging and Workflow Technology
  2. The Systems Behind The Smiles: Patient Experience
  3. The Workflow Behind The Smiles: Patient Experience
  4. Health Information Technology’s “Workflow Wall”: Patient Experience
  5. The Workflow Technology Prescription: Patient Experience
  6. Four Benefits Of Structured Workflow and Messaging: Patient Experience
  7. What If We Had Automated Workflow Before Data? Patient Experience
  8. Workflow Engineering Patient Experience & Engagement
  9. Re-Integrating Healthcare Data and Healthcare Workflow: Patient Experience


There is this idea, in the hospitality industry, in the hotel industry, luxury hotel industry where my wife works, and it’s called The System Behind the Smiles. When you arrive at that hotel, you walk in, the bellman greets you by name. You walk to the front desk, you’re in you’re room in ten minutes, everything works perfectly. All of the staff is well-trained, radar on, antenna up, they can see anything that you need and it’s right there. Well, guess what? There’s an incredibly system behind the scenes of databases and workflows that make this all possible, and that’s The System Behind the Smiles.

The System Behind the Smiles comes from a book, in 1990, called Customers for Life: How to Turn that One-Time Buyer into a Lifetime Customer, by Carl Sewell. This is the only thing I’m going to read word-for-word, quote-wise. “What’s needed in restaurants, car dealerships, department stores, and every place else is systems–not just smiles–that guarantee good service. Every business is composed of systems. These systems must work together to create a process that is efficient and responsive to a customer’s wants.”

About fifty percent, roughly forty to sixty percent, of customer experience, patient experience, is due to the actual, face-to-face or on the phone, interaction with some staff member or customer service member.

That means that the other fifty percent, forty to sixty percent, is due to things that are not under the control of that front-line staff person. These are the workflows and the systems that are behind the smiles. These are the backroom enterprise transaction systems. When you make a reservation at the hotel, you make a reservation online for the airline. You go there, the reservation is in place, you get your seat, you get your room. All of that has to work, that is absolutely critical to making sure that the folks on the front of the line can deliver, are free to basically live the visions and ideals of their organizations. They can count on these workflows working every time.

Take me to the next post is this series: The Workflow Behind The Smiles: Patient Experience.

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