Reading reviews of a GP practice in London recently, the phrase “terrible customer service” was frequently used. Throw in the mix other complaints about calls being left on hold, little information on the website and having to wait to be seen are comments you might also see on a review for a bank or broadband provider. Service level expectations are not so different in healthcare as they are in retail or hospitality, in fact they’re elevated.
There is a fallacy that patients should expect to be patient. There are currently seven million people in the UK, roughly 10% of the population ‘patiently’ waiting for treatment. There are a plethora of factors influencing this but this shouldn’t be the case and tolerance levels are clearly depleting no matter how much providers speak about high demand and being overburdened.
But how can you address this?
One way to start is to better understand the needs and demands of patients on a deeper level and to harness the benefits of partnership, digital transformation and the whole healthcare ecosystem.
In a recent paper, Siemens Healthineers outline a three dimensional perspective for providers to create a frictionless care experience by understanding the patient, consumer and human perspectives. You can read the full paper here.
A paradigm shift is needed in how patients are viewed, not as a homogenous group but as individuals with their own expectations, conditions and cultures and each needing a specific more personalised care path. But this is no mean feat, especially in overburdened and underfunded systems.
Addressing the human perspective means supporting and educating staff to understand cultural differences, build empathy and trust and work to create a personal and social connection. From a patient perspective clearly defining the clinical pathway, leveraging technology for interactions and information and supporting both the physical and mental wellbeing is needed. The consumer, or user of services, perspective means making it easy to book appointments, access information and use data to build a seamless interaction. High satisfaction for both clinicians and patient, building long term value and sustainable systems is the reward for putting in the work.
How ‘frictionless’ is your patient’s experience? Read the full paper from Siemens Healthineers here featuring case studies from providers and see if the way you interact with patients can be improved.
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