In addition to providing leadership for and developing the marketing organization, Arra is the chief evangelist and has the unique responsibility of energizing Sutter Health’s internal team members to be brand ambassadors.
In this discussion, Arra talks about what the Engagement Economy means to him, the importance of engagement in a business as personal as healthcare, and how Sutter has implemented this approach in everything it does.
Q. How does the concept of the Engagement Economy play into the world of healthcare?
Our strategy is remarkably aligned with the concept of the Engagement Economy. This is part of the nuance that makes Sutter Health unique. We are in the experience business, and we strive every day to deliver the best consumer experience. We have to connect the physical and digital experiences across all our platforms in order to provide a seamless relationship between the care team and their customers. We believe it is important that we love the 3 million-plus customers we have. Our mission is to provide thoughtful and compassionate care for all. As a community-based healthcare system, we lean in when others lean away.
Q. How do you ensure teams are driving engagement day-to-day?
When engaging with customers, we don’t think it’s necessary to talk about quality or expertise, because those are prerequisites. Instead, we like to focus on 1) intellectual clarity: providing customers with information they need when they need it; 2) emotional connection: i.e. providing same-day mammogram results and assigning a nurse navigator after the people we care for have been diagnosed; and 3) going beyond physical access: providing technology-enabled healthcare. We like to think that we are comparable to the Four-Seasons on the front-end and Amazon on the back-end.
Q. How does this deep engagement approach come alive in practice?
A great example is our new oncology center in Roseville, California. It was specifically designed by people who we provide this care for. The treatment is often for many hours and is typically delivered in unfriendly and uninviting surroundings. Our center looks more like a comfortable hotel lobby with live music playing in the background. There are refreshments, natural lighting, and inviting furniture. The setting is geared toward making the customer experience comfortable, as difficult as the treatment may be.
Q. How have you been able to integrate technology to drive deeper engagement?
We have used technology and personalization to enhance the client-caregiver relationship. We recently developed a solution to provide caregivers with real-time, quality-controlled, and customized remote scribe access through Google Glasses. Rather than spending time and attention taking notes, caregivers are focused on the individuals for whom they provide care. The conversations are scribed remotely, and information is provided to the caregiver via Google Glasses while he/she is focused on the person they are caring for. After the appointment, the bill is sent electronically and immediately, not several days afterwards, and it is simple to understand. Follow up is scheduled automatically. Any access that the client needs to their records can be easily viewed online. If the client wishes to engage with their caregiver after the appointment with a simple question or two, they can do so online, rather than having to wait for their next appointment.
We really want to have a 1:1 relationship with all 3 million-plus customers.