Saturday, November 14, 2015

Healthcare industry - customer experience

There is an ongoing rebirth of customer experience as a key organizing principle of health care delivery. If we go 10-20 years back - most healthcare delivery processes were structured primarily for what was easiest and most effective for the providers, but with less emphasis placed on the actual experience of the patient. I will give 2 relevant examples:

1) Major hospitals focusing on customer service: Many of the leading hospital organizations have in the last 5+ years extensively upgraded their focus on customer experience and satisfaction. Retraining of ALL employees to help everyone contribute to patient positive experience, bring in methods and processes from the hotel and travel industry. The emphasis is on offering more focus on each individual, supporting unique needs and preferences - from language, food, communication, physical ability, and more. Ultimately, these hospital chains aspire to increase their market share by providing superior customer service. Meanwhile, of course healthcare clinical quality is understood to be at least equal to that for their competitors.

2) Coordinated care of elderly: traditionally it has been challenging for older persons to access the different forms of healthcare they need - from primary care, nutrition, daily services, mental health, transportation, physical therapy, and more. The organization of services used to be organized around the healthcare PROVIDER. The patient typically had to go from one healthcare provider to the next, often wasting time, repeating test, and getting confusing or contradictory answers and advice. In recent years there is a movement to instead organize the health service around the PATIENT. This way the aim is to make it easier for individual patients to access the right type of care at the right time. The coordination of timely and cost effective care is facilitated by electronic medical records, and pro-active case management - often emphasizing preventative care as a way to hopefully reduce the costs and effort spent on high-cost intensive care models too often seen for elderly patients.
 Currently, there are efforts under way to also align incentives, payment models, and performance metrics to support this more patient-centric care model.


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