Devon Hill Associates Celebrates 22 Years Providing Mystery Shoppers To Take An Inside Look At Hospitals, Clinics, Medical Offices and Long-term Care Facilities

August 20, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
LA JOLLA, CALIF - For more than two decades, Barbara Gerber and her teams of secret shoppers have visited hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics, medical offices, assisted living and long-term care facilities. Posing as patients — even uninsured, low-income patients seeking prices and financial assistance information — and visitors, they've tested countless providers and facilities and provided valuable feedback on service and sales effectiveness.

Barbara launched her company, Devon Hill Associates ( in 1987 after serving as a senior executive at two Pittsburgh, Pa., hospitals. Initially, she offered marketing, sales training and mystery shopping exclusively to long-term care facilities.

During her own unhappy, real-life hospital inpatient experience, Barbara experienced an "epiphany" about patient satisfaction. She decided that hospitals and health care organizations needed a person who understood health care to bring them unbiased, unvarnished, detailed and real-time feedback about how patients and visitors are treated when they call or visit.

Her passion and drive to make the health care experience better for patients and their families drove Barbara and Devon Hill Associates to forge ahead despite resistance from hospitals and doctors. Today, Devon Hill Associates' faux patients are engaged by hospitals, clinics and health care organizations to visit their clinics, emergency rooms, outpatient surgery centers and inpatient units where they undergo testing and care. Barbara recently expanded her service to include mystery nurses who will apply for jobs as a means of testing a hospital's nurse recruitment process.

Based in La Jolla, Calif., Devon Hill Associates consists of Barbara Gerber, president, and two affiliated consultants located in Pittsburgh, Pa. Articles about Devon Hill and its services have appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES (, the WALL STREET JOURNAL, LA TIMES, PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, plus other newspapers and trade publications (

Barbara Gerber,FACHE