In nearly every industry across the country, customer service is an item of the utmost importance. Even so, rarely has the healthcare field been on the cutting edge of pushing for better customer service. For many years, hospitals and provider offices knew that people would continue to need their care, regardless of whether they offered quality customer service. For that reason, it has never been much of a focus. However, that looks to be changing as patient experience is becoming paramount in a variety of healthcare facilities.
Instead of assuming that people will continue using the facilities out of necessity, healthcare executives are realizing that patients are using a slightly more critical eye to evaluate the care they are receiving. This shift has massively increased the value of creating a positive patient experience to ensure the future of your healthcare facility and the healthcare professionals that provide care to their community every day.
There are a variety of factors that have impacted this shift. Some of them are:
- Competition is increasing. As more options are opening up in communities and online, providers are faced with having to operate as a business, competing with other choices that patients have within the same community.
- Patients are paying more for care. Many plans that are available to patients carry high deductibles, so patients are more likely to spend time researching and choosing the best option for their money.
- Your pay may depend on it. That’s right, patient experience based on measurement tools like the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is beginning to play a role in the pay that hospitals and doctors are receiving. There is even an online catalog called Hospital Compare provided by the Medicare program that provides patients with the HCAHPS rating for the hospitals near them.
- The healthcare landscape is changing. This factor may be the most powerful. Healthcare facilities and their healthcare professionals must come to the conclusion that the patient is the boss. They must be make the mindset shift to recognize that it is imperative to treat each patient with dignity, respect, and compassion. It’s important to remember that the patient is the customer and that they can go elsewhere for service if treated rudely or with indifference.
As the competition increases, healthcare costs rise, transparency is demanded, and the landscape shifts, healthcare facilities and the doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and other healthcare professionals in them must change with the times. This is really good news for patients and their healthcare providers. The positive byproduct of creating a positive experience for patients is a more enjoyable career experience, improved relationships all around, and maybe even better pay. It will soon be evident which facilities have made the commitment to providing positive patient experience and which haven’t.