This blog post was written by our guest blogger Mark Dengler, President of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS).

Marketing is an ongoing effort within an organization. In our current economy, marketing innovation often trumps product/service technical innovation. What makes it tricky is the fickleness of consumers. In this world of rapid change and the continual need to create a customer experience (CX), companies often forget the fundamental task of continuously measuring existing customer expectations and satisfaction. Satisfaction is a key driver to loyalty and ultimately it is wiser to keep existing customers than having to continually secure new ones. However, satisfaction alone does not dictate repeat business. Rather, customers need to feel that their expectations are being met.

Ongoing market research among a sampling of customers is one of the best ways to monitor customer expectations. Customer research needs to involve both quantitative satisfaction measurement and qualitative expectation discussions. It is not only critical to keep your customers satisfied with your given product or service, but also to continuously exceed their expectations. Provide something of value that the customer did not expect. This is considered delivering an augmented product/service.

Examples of product or services providing an augmented benefit include the following:

  1. Purchasing a gas grill from your local home improvement store and having it pre-assembled and loaded into your vehicle.
  2. Purchasing pool supply chemicals and receiving a personalized instruction sheet tailored for your application.
  3. Scheduling a college advisor visit and receiving a text message reminding you of the appointment and on the day of the visit, being updated as to the timeliness of the advisor (e.g. running 15 minutes late).

Qualitative research such as focus groups, shop-alongs, and in-depth interviews (IDIs) provide insight regarding expectations. The augmented product needs to be something that the customer finds of value. Failures of augmented products are easy to identify – remember the 2001 Pontiac Aztek that offered a pop out camping tent option that attached to the hatch of the car?

Customer Experience Survey

Value-added? Yes. Value-needed? No.

It is important that companies do not just focus on the promotional aspect of marketing, but also look at the fulfillment component. Customer loyalty means greater revenue with less marketing dollar effort. By producing a product or service with augmented enhancements that exceed customer expectations, companies can stay ahead of the curve.

Unfortunately, augmented enhancements are quickly adopted by the competition and become expected, leaving companies in the position of having to continuously identify and offer new augmented enhancements that exceed customer expectations.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm in Syracuse, NY that specializes in customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and customer experience studies. If you are interested in conducting market research to define customer expectations contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located outside of Syracuse, NY. We have many local clients, regional clients, and national clients that utilize our services and look to get answers to their key business questions. A growing trend in market research over the past few years is companies using panels to conduct market research. For more information about market research panels from RMS, try reading these posts:

RMS recently branded its market research panel as RMS ViewPoint. ViewPoint is made up of consumers and business professionals, just like you, who are interested in expressing their feedback on a variety of RMS-sponsored market research topics. ViewPoint members may be asked to participate in a short survey about their bank and credit union services and earn a $10 gift card or they might be recruited to participate in a focus group to test new models of office chairs for $175. The projects and pay-outs vary by each client project. A large majority of our ViewPoint members are located right here in Central New York, but we also have a strong base of New York State members and members from other states as well.

Get paid to take surveys

The ViewPoint team at RMS recently posted a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on the RMS website which addresses some common questions new members may have. To view the FAQ page for ViewPoint click here. If you are interested in signing up for RMS ViewPoint or would like more information visit the registration page on the RMS website or contact Vance Marriner, Panel Manager at VanceM@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.


This blog post was written by our guest blogger Mark Dengler, President of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS). It was featured in the April 2014 edition of the RMS Newsletter.

I was recently asked my thoughts about the burgeoning survey industry in today’s marketplace. My response was, “Too many? That depends.” The perception of excess surveying depends on the potential responder. Individuals, for example, who belong to research panels look forward to receiving surveys because they are rewarded for their efforts.

Market Research Firm Syracuse NY

The down-side of being over-surveyed.

It is true there is a proliferation of surveys today but that is due in part to a strong corporate desire to make empirically based decisions using customer input. Businesses today are genuinely seeking feedback from consumers about their products and services.

Another aspect driving the large volume of surveys is the significant drop in the marginal cost of data collection (administrating surveys). With most Americans using email and mobile devices, survey administration is now conducted online, making the cost of receiving critical consumer feedback minimal.

I am not as much concerned about the amount of surveys, rather that the survey requests being generated are genuine and the results impact business operations. More survey requests mean that companies recognize the value of customer perceptions. This value when documented in a survey can only result in more tailored, quality-based products and services in the future. If you are considering a survey, make sure you have a professional coaching you through administering this worthwhile modality.

If you are interested in conducting a survey with RMS, a market research firm in Syracuse NY, contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.


This blog post was written by our guest blogger Al Tripodi, Healthcare Administrative Assistant at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS).

Redspin, a leading provider of penetrating testing services and IT security audits, annually analyzes breaches that have been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  This blog provides a summary of findings published in their 2013 report released in February 2014.

HIPAA data breaches have climbed 138 percent from the number of patient records breached in 2012-2013 according to Redspin’s 4th Annual Report.  A total number of 29,276,385 patient health records have been affected by a breach since 2009.  The number of patient health records breached in 2013 alone was 7,095,145.  Keep in mind that these numbers only include reported breaches that affected more than 500 patients and that were reported to HHS from August 2009 to December 16, 2013.  Breaches that impacted less than 500 are reported to HHS on an annual basis but are not made available to the public.

HIPAA data breaches

(Pic via datacandy.com)

Lisa Gallagher, Senior Director of Privacy and Security for HIMSS, said at the 2012 Boston Privacy Forum, that somewhere between 40 million to 45 million patient records have actually been compromised.  The number can’t be confirmed, as the data isn’t all there, she adds, but it’s a more accurate number based on healthcare organizations’ reporting.

The percent of the total records breached in 2013 was 85.4% resulting from the 5 largest incidents.  The top 5 were:

  • #1-Advocate Medical Group where four laptops containing more than 4 million patient records were stolen on July.
  • #2-AHMC Healthcare where thieves accessed a sixth-floor, video-monitored office to steal two laptops, which contained Medicare patient data from six AHMC hospitals in California affecting 729,000 people
  • #3-Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth where, in a bizarre incident, sheets of microfiche containing patient records from the ‘80s and ‘90s were found in several Fort Worth public areas that affected 277,014 people
  • #4-Indiana Family & Social Services Administration where a computer programming error caused by a business associate wreaked havoc on Indiana FSSA’s client mailers affecting 187,533 people
  • #5-Cogent Healthcare Inc., a transcription company, where patient medical treatment history was compromised when a business associate stored data on a non-secure site opening up public access to the records of 32,151 people for more than a month.

From the same report:

  • 83.2% of patient records breached in 2013 resulted from theft
  • 22.1% of breach incidents in 2013 resulted from unauthorized access
  • 35% of incidents in 2013 were due to the loss or theft of an un-encrypted laptop or other portable electronic device
  • Less than 20% of PHI breaches have involved a business associate each year from 2009-2013.

Under the new HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule, covered entities and business associates responsible for violating HIPAA privacy and security rules by failing to safeguard patient protected health information could face a potential of up to $1.5 million in annual fines. Out of the more than 90,000 HIPAA breach cases OCR has received since 2003, only 17 of them have resulted in fines thus far.

To prevent audits, this is what you can and should be doing:

  1. Risk Assessments, encrypting of end-user devices and contingency planning are likely the key areas that auditors will be examining.  HIPAA-covered entities most often make their biggest misstep due to risk analysis inadequacies. This applies to business associates and covered entities alike. It’s the “failure to perform a comprehensive, thorough risk analysis and then to apply the results of that analysis,” HHS’ Office for Civil Rights Director Leon Rodriguez said.  Based on the complaints OCR has received, risk analysis failures top the list for the biggest security issues.
  2. A majority of reported breaches involve lost or stolen devices that are not encrypted.  The best thing you can do for your practice is to be sure that you are using encryption software on all of your devices.
  3. Finally, make sure that you have a Contingency Plan in place and that you are following the plan.

In summary, PHI breaches will continue to be reported at an exponential rate, and no question that physician practices, hospitals, health plans as well as business associates are working diligently to mitigate risks for exposure.  As technology continues to advance, so must vigilant efforts to protect patient data.

RMS Healthcare can provide consultation and training services to ensure HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance within your organization. If you would like to learn more about HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance or further discuss how RMS Healthcare can help you, contact our Director of RMS Healthcare Susan Maxsween at SusanM@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.


This blog post was written by our guest blogger Karen Joncas, Healthcare Transformation Coordinator at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS).

In a recent interview, Devin Gross, CEO of Emmi Solutions, a technology firm that provides interactive and multimedia solutions which engage and empower patients to take a more active role in their own healthcare, shared his thoughts on what the new industry buzzword “patient engagement” means to his firm. Emmi Solutions has been successful because of their focus on the end-user of their product, the patients of the healthcare organizations that they serve.  Their business model includes holding patient focus groups to improve the tools they sell with an emphasis on customer service.  This results in success for their clients by engaging patients in their own care. They have also been successful staying ahead of the curve in an industry with constant change.  He also emphasized that they seek to employ people who believe in the company’s stated mission of changing healthcare by helping the patient and their family in difficult times. This business model could and should be emulated by the healthcare organizations using the tools to facilitate self-management support.

Patient Engagement

Here are the most salient takeaways from this article. They are all focused on placing the patient at the center of care management:

  1. Creating an emotional connection with patients: Speaking to people respectfully as individuals is important in facilitating their success.  Making emotional connections with patients is motivating and satisfying for both the patient and the healthcare workers charged in their care.  The ultimate goal in patient self management is understanding how to use tools and resources.
  2. Talking to patients on their terms: In order to enhance patient engagement and involvement in their care management, it is critical that we talk to them as individual people on their terms in ways that they will understand.  The goal is to empower the patient to be engaged and take charge and ownership in their own care and health.
  3. Treat patients with respect:  At any point during a patient encounter, there can be many “touch points” that a patient experiences.  A positive “touch point” for a patient can provide an exceptional experience and make the patient feel that they have been treated with respect, kindness, courtesy and compassion. This positive encounter can provide great momentum for patient engagement and long-term commitment.  The display of respect can provide the foundation of a long-term collaborative relationship between a patient and the provider which can yield long-term positive outcomes.
  4. Educate and encourage patients to be involved:  We know knowledge equates to power.  Providing patients with a foundation of knowledge will yield more positive outcomes.  Patient knowledge is critical for long-term compliance and behavioral change.
  5. Engaging key-stakeholders in patient education:  Patient engagement and compliance can best be achieved by engaging staff and employees that believe in their mission of education. If the mission is to achieve improved performance, that is driven by patient engagement.  Therefore, staff that is passionate about their mission, will undoubtedly provide the foundation for change.  Most important is that you regularly assess the impact of staff by engaging patients to provide feedback about how their commitment is driven by staff engagement.  Staff that is motivated in their work has a wonderful opportunity to influence significant change among patients.

Asking the patient what is important to them, tracking the results, and continually adjusting processes to improve success is critically important to the financial success of healthcare organizations where there is constant change in technology, government, and insurance payment programs.

RMS Healthcare, a division of Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) has over 50 years of collective and proven experience in providing consulting services to meet the specific needs of our clients.  Regardless of your healthcare research or practice transformation needs, RMS Healthcare can help.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact Susan Maxsween, Director of Healthcare and Practice Transformation at SusanM@rmsresults.com or telephone her at 1-866-567-5422.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is an ICH-CAHPS® vendor that manages the survey process for a large number of dialysis centers across the country. Each year, the RMS Healthcare Team prepares an ICH-CAHPS® industry benchmark report so facilities can compare individual facility scores with aggregate RMS industry-wide results. This report is a value-added supplement provided to RMS ICH-CAHPS® clients at no additional charge. Our clients report this industry benchmarking report as valuable in assisting them monitor their quality and patient satisfaction metrics.

To view the full ICH-CAHPS industry report prepared by RMS, click on the image below:

ICH-CAHPS® Survey Infographic

ICH-CAHPS® Survey Infographic – Click Here to View the Full Report

RMS utilized one of two methodologies to conduct the survey: (1) mixed mode or (2) phone only mode. The mixed mode of survey administration includes an introductory letter, two mailings of the survey, a postcard reminder and telephone follow-up. The phone only mode includes an introductory letter and up to 10 attempts to contact each patient by telephone. Surveys were offered and conducted in both English and Spanish languages.

This report represents the aggregate results of the survey conducted on behalf of all the dialysis centers that contracted with RMS. The survey fieldwork represented in this report was conducted from May 2013 thru December 2013. The aggregate results can be used by dialysis centers to benchmark survey results for quality improvement purposes during the upcoming year. Comparisons to the aggregate survey results from 2012 are provided to show trends in the responses from the past year.

Michele Treinin, Healthcare Analyst for RMS had the following to say about RMS Healthcare and her work on the ICH-CAHPS®:

“If you’re looking for high response rates, extensive in-depth reporting, and a team that is both experienced and accessible, look no further than RMS. We feature an on-site call center that can handle large patient volumes and our call center team offers both English and Spanish languages. In 2014, RMS will offer its clients an ICH-CAHPS® Portal that will allow administrators to see real-time data throughout the survey process. When data collection is complete, each client will receive a personalized, in-depth report for each facility. This report will provide results and include comments received from patients. The report will also include an overall aggregate report which can be used to compare your facility to all facilities that RMS contracts with. RMS is both a CMS and NRAA approved vendor.” 

If you are interested in hiring Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) to be your ICH-CAHPS® vendor contact our Business Development Associate Marc Bovenzi at MarcB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

RMS Healthcare provides a broad scope of consultative services. We understand in this ever-changing healthcare environment that your focus is to provide quality patient care while optimizing operations.

ICD-10 Coding Consultant

Delay of ICD-10 Coding

We would like to share the following link with you concerning a recent article in the Modern Healthcare on-line publication pertaining to the Senate passing the House’s Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which delays cuts in physicians’ Medicare rates and also puts off implementation of ICD-10 until October 1, 2015 at the earliest. President Barack Obama signed the legislation Tuesday afternoon.  We hope you find the information timely & valuable.

Click on this link to view the Modern Healthcare article.

Our firm has a proven process in working with individual physician offices, large multi-site practices and physician organizations locally, regionally and nationwide. We also provide hands-on consultative and operational support for healthcare organizations. Our healthcare division represents experienced and trained staff that specializes in:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Practice Assessment
  • Pay for Performance (P4P) Program Optimization
  • Customized Practice Marketing
  • Meaningful Use Demonstration
  • Business Management Oversight

If you have any questions regarding the topic in the article, or would like more information about the scope of services we provide, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 1-866-567-5422 or by e-mail at susanm@RMSresults.com.


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