Mickey Mouse & the Military: Disney Institute at Walter Reed

Great article by Steve Vogel in The Washington Post here about the Army's $800,000 contract with Disney's service best-practices arm.

I've written about Disney and healthcare before - here, here, & here.

While it might seem a bit of a mismatch to get military medicine in bed with our most beloved animation, the Disney Institute has been quietly bringing Walt's brand of magic to hospitals for years. They've also tutored the FBI and CIA, and the Navy medical corps.

If you're a new employee at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, you're not just encouraged to think of medicine as a customer-service business - you're REQUIRED to attend a 4 hour "Service Disney Style" program, for which you can even earn CME and ACHE Category II CE credits.

Why bring a discussion surrounding Donald Duck's frustration with the healthcare system to WRMC?

The short answer is that the Army is in a bit of a public relations crunch after poor conditions and lax long-term care made headlines last year.

So now commanders, including Colonel Patricia Horoho, want Walter Reed to exemplify the "best experience possible."

It's a remarkably simplistic system with highly integrated symbolic ties, but does it really work?

Creating an easy-to-understand, common vision of service ideals is one of the most complex jobs facing hospital administrators.

If you've never worked at a 'Disney' hospital, one of the biggest takeaways is terminology that helps staff coalesce around reframing the idea of healthcare as medicine combined with customer service.

In Disneyland lexicon, customers/patients are guests and staff are "cast members."

Would you consider retaining the Disney Institute to teach guest service tactics? Or would performance improvement efforts led by a team of cartoon correllaries be laughed right out of your conference room?

an online checklist to judge possible synergies between the Magic Kingdom and managing your healthcare organization's growth.

Even if you decide not to do the "Disney" experience, it might be interesting to hand this tool to your board members and management team and see if everyone really believes you're "Doing Great!"

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