Listening to Our Customers and Designing a Way Forward

By Jon Wells, president and CEO of Midmark


One of the earliest roles I had at Midmark was sales representative. This is when I really began to understand the importance of listening to our customers. I covered five states and was committed to spending time with everyone in my territory. 

Listening to your customers sounds like a simple thing to do, but many companies often fall into the trap of a one-way monologue about what customers should purchase or what they should do. I’ve found that the “hard sell” approach rarely works and can often disengage customers through an inability to build trust. At Midmark, it’s our job to listen to our customers, understand their challenges and concerns and offer the solutions and ideas that fit within their environment to help them achieve their goals.

As we look to the new year, I think of the conversations I’ve been having with our customers over the last few months. Many of them tell me they need our help to navigate the accelerated pace of change in healthcare. They want new ideas and approaches to enhance the healthcare experience and the quality of care they provide to their patients.

As you would expect, the topic of COVID-19 also comes up. The pandemic has profoundly changed the ambulatory space and the point of care ecosystem. It has challenged healthcare organizations and providers to think differently about delivering healthcare experiences that are both effective and safe. A number of our customers are trying to identify the right path forward for the well-being of their patients, staff and their bottom lines.

Many of these conversations inevitably turn to “design” and its power to transform and strengthen the healthcare experience for both providers and patients. There is a shared understanding that better care starts with a better-designed experience. The use of design to solve yesterday’s and today’s challenges has become a strategically indispensable tool for a way forward.  

Midmark continues to take steps to ensure we are well-equipped to help our customers take a holistic, design-thinking approach. For instance, we’ve adopted an evidence-based design (EBD) approach to ensure design decisions are based on proven research and best practices. We’ve also recently hired a director of design and human factors to lead design and user experience across our organization. 

When it comes to facility design, we are educating customers on how the layout and configuration of the room and the equipment it contains can significantly impact the effectiveness and safety of the care that happens there. We are helping customers identify and incorporate new workflow design options that move away from the typical linear design of care environments and toward a better designed experience. We are developing equipment and technology designs that are specifically suited for clinical environments to increase efficiency, flexibility, safety and comfort.

These days, I frequently share with our customers that taking a holistic, design-thinking approach can help provide the best-possible healthcare experiences. But the most value for all of us is in taking the time to listen to our customers and working together with them to design their best way forward. Incorporating customer empathy and design thinking into every major decision that impacts the point of care ecosystem will help guide everyone in the right direction and ultimately enhance the quality of care provided.