Hospitals and healthcare providers are realizing that customer service needs to be integral part of their strategy now more than ever. In order to succeed, organizations must look outside their own industries and adopt the best practices from other industries so as to innovate and improve their offering.
In the healthcare industry, great clinical outcomes are simply not enough to create real brand loyalty between healthcare providers and their patients. There are a number of factors contributing to the rise of the hospitality trend in healthcare and bringing it to the frontline including competition with other healthcare organizations and concern over new entrants to the market such as telehealth firms. Healthcare is increasingly transparent and value-based, in part due to the internet and social media sites that are an outlet for patients to share their experiences.
Technology and mobile health innovations have given way to massive advancements in the healthcare arena with regards to areas such as EHR and healthcare analytics. However the same focus has not been put on leveraging technology to help improve the nonclinical patient experience. There is huge potential for growth and the healthcare industry could learn a lot from the hospitality industry in improving patient satisfaction.
Healthcare organizations must move towards becoming more patient-centric, it is a mindset that must start from the top of the organization’s hierarchy before it can move down. Healthcare is becoming consumer-driven and organizations must move with the trends so as to ensure they are still providing value to their patients.
Every person a patient encounters throughout their healthcare journey must be working under the same mindset and with the same set of objectives for the patient experience. The welcome the patient receives upon arrival should set the tone for the rest of the patients stay or dealings with healthcare staff. The patient needs to feel from the outset and throughout that their needs will be met during this time when they may be feeling particularly vulnerable.
Leveraging technology towards service excellence for patients may help to pinpoint any problems that arise throughout a patient’s journey, allowing more time to correct any issues and ensure they don’t go home unhappy. Mobile health innovations such as the External Messaging feature offered by Lua allow for secure communication between care teams, patients and their families, making follow-ups and appointment scheduling that much simpler.
Anticipating a guests needs makes for a much greater experience in the hospitality industry, and the same logic can absolutely be applied to healthcare. As in any industry, staff must be treated with the kind of respect they are expected to extend to the patients so as workers don’t become disengaged with the process.
Whether it is upgrading the hospital lobby or welcoming process for patients, or collecting further nonclinical information that can improve a patient's stay, the end goal should the same: to improve patient satisfaction while always providing optimal care. Personalized service with clear communication and well coordinated care will lead to happier and better patient outcomes.