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  • Lloyd Price

If Disney Ran Your Hospital : What Healthcare can learn from Mickey Mouse

If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently

Fred Lee was an American hospital executive who left his senior role in health care and joined Disney. He is clearly fascinated by the Disney approach and the importance of the customer experience, and in his book he reflects on how some of the approach could be translated into a better patient experience.

Written over 10 chapters in an easy-to-read style the book has at least one ‘lightbulb switched on’ moment in each chapter. Much of what he talks about is so obvious you would wonder why you didn’t think of it, or maybe you did but didn’t realize. Some insights are basic but useful, e.g. explaining that by pulling that curtain/closing the door its being done to improve privacy. One of the main points throughout the book is what we need to measure, and for Fred, patient loyalty is more important than patient satisfaction as it is loyalty that leads people to return to use a service.

He states that studies have shown that the difference between people giving a ‘5’ rating and a ‘4’ rating for service is a huge difference in their likelihood to return again. He makes the point that no airline has increased in growth without improving the number of passengers rating it at the top end of the scale and that one thing that costs nothing but increases loyalty in the health care setting is compassion in addition to competence, which patients rightly expect anyway.

The author recommends that if you provide a service you should redefine who is your true competition (not who you think you are competing with but who your customers/clients/patients compare you with—a definite difference), measure to improve not to impress and understand what some of the things you measure actually mean (an example being patient satisfaction).

His conclusion is that hospitals (and indeed occupational health services if you extend the analogy) need to provide an experience not just a product or a service as it is that experience, and its quality, consistency and substance which is the point of difference between competing services and helps in a competitive market.

"I think this is a book that should be read by treating clinicians, anyone in health care management or running a service. You might not agree with all of the points made, and it is somewhat different paying for an experience of pleasure at a theme park and not paying for a potentially painful and unpleasant experience in hospital. But I think Fred Lee has done a good job telling us what we can learn from Mickey Mouse."

(Nerys Williams)

Fred Lee TedX Talk

Fred Lee has the unusual distinction of having been both a vice president at two major medical centers and a cast member at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. At Disney, he helped develop and facilitate Disney's health care version of its 3-day seminar, Disney's Approach to Quality Service for the Healthcare Industry. With an insiders experience and a keen eye for cultural comparisons between Disney and American hospitals, he is author of the best selling health care leadership book, If Disney Ran Your Hospital, 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently. In 2005 his book received the Book of the Year Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives, and is now available in Dutch and Portuguese.

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxMaastricht, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxMaastricht event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani,Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK. TED's media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.

TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world, and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

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