published a new blog on today entitled The ‘Dogtor’ Will See You Now: Creative Solutions to Consumer-Driven Healthcare Challenges. Chief content officer Michael Klozotsky argues that as healthcare provider organizations work to more effectively manage the revenue cycle and at the same time compete for patients’ wallet share in order to get paid, they must think outside the box for ways to win “customer loyalty” and become providers of choice, even in an industry like healthcare that seems to be driven by necessity rather than consumer preference.

Klozotsky writes:

So though patients (try as they might) don’t choose to get sick, healthcare providers working to manage the revenue cycle effectively would be wise to recognize that patients do have choices when it comes to their care. In some cases, like emergency treatment or as a result of unemployment, high-deductible health plans, or health savings accounts, they’re forced to. But in other instances those choices are truly elective.

In the wake of the Great Recession, healthcare providers like all other creditors are increasingly competing for consumer dollars. Household wallet share—who gets paid—and the hierarchy of payments—in what order of priority debts get paid—have shifted. With the exception of rural areas where only one hospital may be accessible, patients often have a choice of healthcare providers, even for inpatient care.

Enter Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, which after three years of planning and negotiation decided last December to formally allow in-room visiting hours for patients’ pets. According to posts on Rush’s Facebook page and a February 12 story in the Chicago Tribune, the medical center joins a handful of hospitals around the country that are going to the dogs. And cats. The new policy is not quite as Animal Farm as it may seem.

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