Customer and Community Engagement

Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka System of Care can help your organization engage your patients (called “customer-owners”) and the community in ways that will lead to better outcomes for your organization and the community. Learn how to make customer and community engagement a priority across your health care system.

Nuka approach to customer and community engagement has resulted in:

97%customer satisfaction rate (2022)

97%of customer-owners agree that they have input into their care decisions (2022)

94%of customer-owners agree that their culture and traditions are respected at SCF (2022)

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Learn about our approach

In 1993, Alaska Native leadership of SCF sought to redesign the Tribal health care system in Southcentral Alaska based on Alaska Native values and needs. To accomplish this, a needs assessment was conducted, surveying the Native Community to find out what was desired. In a comparable 2018 needs assessment, it is clear that SCF successfully addressed many of the challenges that impacted the quality of care at the Alaska Native Hospital of 25 years ago, and placed the care of Native people front and center.

In 1993, community feedback was largely negative:

  • Difficulty getting appointments
  • Long wait times
  • Disrespectful treatment by employees and providers
  • Poor quality care
  • An unhygienic facility
  • Lack of health ownership

In 2018, overall impressions of were mostly positive:

  • Wide variety of services offered
  • Well trained and respectful providers and staff
  • Focus on community and family
  • Clean, updated and more welcoming facilities
  • Several forms of health ownership
    • Value placed on customer-owner voices
    • Providers willing to work with customer-owners to develop personalized care plans
    • Educational opportunities offered to customer-owners

After the historic transfer of ownership, the people receiving the care moved to the driver’s seat. SCF stopped using the term “patient,” and replaced it with “customer-owner.” And, as the new customer-owners of the entire system, Alaska Native people could design, own, and manage their health care. The new system focused on relationships, recognizing that each individual has more control over his or her own health outcomes than providers do, and that when providers build strong relationships with customer-owners, it helps providers understand customer-owners and the health issues they may be facing. It also builds trust between them, which allows providers to support customer-owners more effectively in achieving wellness.

In addition to engaging patients on an individual level, SCF also successfully engages the community in a number of ways, including through events like an annual gathering, through advisory committees, and through the development of community councils that provide feedback directly into the system. SCF has over 15 listening posts to collect input and feedback. We’ve also implemented events and services for customer-owners such as group classes, workshops, special events, health fairs, individualized counseling, cooking classes, and educational demonstrations.

Solutions for your organization

SCF can help your organization develop programs to engage your community in the health care system, tailored for the specific character of the community you serve. SCF can assist your organization by consulting on a variety of best practices, including:

  • Community needs assessment
  • Relationship-based, communication training solutions for workforce
  • Surveying / soliciting feedback
    • Current processes for survey delivery
    • Methods for data collection and data delivery
    • Strategic planning for survey delivery
    • Standardization of survey process
    • Policy and procedure to support survey delivery
    • Resource suggestions to engage consumer base in survey process
  • Measurement and data analysis
  • Action planning and support
  • Content suggestions for training materials for workforce development

How we consult

Southcentral Foundation’s Learning Institute provides consulting solutions in a variety of ways, to best meet the needs of your organization, including:

  • On-site consulting at your location
  • Customized learning experiences on SCF’s campus in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Hourly virtual consulting sessions
  • Multi-year / multi-phase contract solutions
  • Government sole sourcing / no-bid contracting
  • Curriculum design and training / workforce development customization

SCF’s Learning Institute is available to explore these solutions and more. Fill out a request to schedule your complimentary call today!

Additional Resources


Community Engagement: A Key Component of Quality Health Care


The Impact of Relationship-Based Care


Customer Driven Health Care




The Value of Relationship with Health Care Providers


Using the Voice of the Customer to Drive Improvement