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 (2017)

96%of customer-owners agree that they have input into their care decisions (2017)

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Customer-ownership is a key tenet of Nuka. We do not refer to the Alaska Native and American Indian people we serve as “patients,” as this term does not reflect the level of engagement we seek to achieve. Instead, since they are both customers and the owners of the health care system, they are referred to as “customer-owners.” This is not just a change in terminology; it signifies a change in the relationship between customer-owners and care providers. In a traditional doctor-patient relationship, the doctor diagnoses the patient’s illnesses and prescribes treatment, with the patient’s role in the process often being minimal. The relationship between providers and customer-owners is different; customer-owners work in relationship with their care providers to achieve overall wellness.

Whether or not your organization chooses to use the term “customer-owners,” we can work with you to achieve greater levels of engagement with your customers/patients, and help them become active partners with your providers.

Relationship-Based Care

SCF’s Nuka System of Care is focused on relationships. SCF recognizes 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 more effectively support customer-owners in achieving wellness.

SCF offers support for providers to help them develop the skills needed to build relationships with customer-owners. SCF offers several different trainings for providers and all care workers, including our Core Concepts training, a three-day workshop that teaches communication skills and methods for having good dialogue and productive conversations. SCF offers other trainings as well, such as motivational interviewing and therapeutic options.

Building trusting, accountable relationships is vital to providing quality care. We can help your organization operationalize relationships to positively impact health outcomes and increase customer and employee satisfaction, and help you build systems to support your providers in offering relationship-based care.

Community Engagement / Population Health

In addition to engaging patients on an individual level, we can help your organization develop programs to engage your community in the health care system. We successfully engage 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. 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.

We can help you develop methods to engage your community, tailored for the specific character of the community you serve, that will make them active partners in the health care system and improve health outcomes.

Additional Resources


Community Engagement: A Key Component of Quality Health Care


The Impact of Relationship-Based Care


Customer Driven Health Care


Using the Voice of the Customer to Drive Improvement