What Patients Don’t Tell You about Your Clinic or Hospital
Exclusive Article at EMRIndustry.com by Dennis Hung.
Dennis Hung is a business consultant and writer who’s passionate about health technology trends and medical technology topics. He’s spends most of his time consulting for healthcare companies in North America.
As the revolution that is taking place within the healthcare industry continues to progress, it is becoming increasingly important for health care providers to develop a lucid perspicacity of the importance of improving the customer experience. Customer and patient engagement is no longer simply about treatment, it is about meeting the expectations of the patient. In order for health care providers to meet their patient’s expectations, they must be able to have their proverbial finger on the pulse of the expectations of their patients.
Not only does understanding and meeting patient expectations help to improve the patient satisfaction rate, but it also reduces liability. Depending on the type of treatment that a patient is undergoing, there will be specific expectations. For instance, patients who visit the emergency room of a hospital are dealing with either some type of trauma or an acute illness, requiring a timely response to time-sensitive issues, in addition to having stress management mechanisms in place.
First of all, it is immensely important for health care providers to understand that patients arrive at treatment facilities with certain expectations that they may or may not be completely cognizant of. The rapid expanse of the internet and the rise of social media has provided platforms that serve to educate consumers, and while healthcare is driven by necessity, it’s important to see patients as consumers. The overexposure to information concerning health care has served to increase the expectations of patients, and it is imperative for health care providers to be aware of these expectations. It is also important that specific plans be implemented to ensure that the provider will be able to meet the expectations of those whom they treat and serve.
Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment
One key expectation of every patient will be that their provider accurately and properly diagnose their condition. Two of the leading causes of malpractice suits are misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose. The need to improve the accuracy of diagnosis has led to a paradigm shift in the manner in which many diagnostic processes are carried out. One major shift is in the use of enterprise imaging as an imaging solution for medical facilities. Advances in technology have made this possible, and imaging software and tools are becoming a major element in the attempt to meet patient expectations as far as diagnosis is concerned.
In the past, it was not uncommon for patients to be forced to wait multiple hours to see a physician. The failure to respect the patient’s time is no longer acceptable, as patients have made it clear that they are willing to find a provider who will respect their time. Health care providers are currently in a position in which it is necessary to properly schedule treatments and procedures. They are also being forced to adequately staff their facilities.
Courteous and Prompt Engagement
The expectations that patients have concerning how they are treated during their visit or hospital stay are increasingly demanding in the area of courtesy. While the competence of medical personnel is of immense importance, it is no longer sufficient, in and of itself, to produce complete patient satisfaction. While patients expect to have a certain level of confidence in the capabilities of their provider, they also expect those responsible for providing their care to treat them with respect and concern. The best way to address the issue of the peripheral care of patients is to deal with it at the time of hiring — hiring those who display an authentic passion for serving others. Additionally, it is a good idea to offer periodic training courses that are designed to address patient engagement.
In the past, the billing processes of health care providers have been convoluted, to say the least. Providers are now being forced to produce bills that are more simplified and clear, making it easier for patients to confirm that the invoice or bill is accurate. This can be achieved by using vendor neutral archives that can be accessed by most standardized systems — allowing each entity to effectively record services rendered on a patient’s file.
Understanding and meeting the expectations of patients will become increasingly relevant moving forward. Those health care providers that are able to meet patient’s needs most effectively will fare best moving forward.