What matters to patients, relatives, carers and other service users?
Many healthcare centers are competing for patients on the basis of amenities such as private rooms, beautiful lobbies, and hotel style room services. But the relation between amenities and clinical care is ambiguous. Unaware patients are normally drawn towards such amenities without considering the quality of service and care that is been provided. It’s quite sad that hospitals spend more on such amenities to attract insured customers than concentrating on the basic needs of the customers.
The magic mantra to attract customers is no hotel-style service but it is “patient-centered service”. Knowing what matters to patients, relatives and other service users does not mean asking for a wish-list, it’s about knowing things that really matters to them while visiting a healthcare center. Understanding the needs of the customer should be aided with improved ability to listen to them and respond immediately. Many patients complain that their doctor try to push them out even before they start explaining their problems. Healthcare centers should remember that customers experience with doctor affects the patient’s emotional response either positively or negatively. Patients feel that the actual wait time is hours and the face time with doctor is just few seconds. What every patient want from their physician is some personal attention. Customers want services that are tailored according to their needs, which meet the best treatment and outstanding customer experience. Patients feel that participating in their own health care needs will help them have a positive outcome. Customers demand patient-centered healthcare services that respect their individual needs, preferences and values. Healthcare organizations should make sure that their staffs treat patients, their relatives, carers, and other service users with dignity and respect.
Few basic things that customers expect from their healthcare providers are
- Eye contact while talking or discussing with them
- Patients should be a partner in decisions and choices made for them
- Patients should be treated as a lively person, rather than a symptom
- They want doctors to patiently give ears to what they say
- Patients should not feel like entering in to an alien territory, communication should be made easy and comfortable from both sides
- They want doctors to spend time with them to be able to explain their problems and to be explained by the doctor
- Thoughtful and courteous staff
- They want to be treated with respect and dignity
- Doctors should talk positively and encourage them to keep things under control
- Doctors should give them the required support
- A safe and high quality treatment is expected
Precisely, they demand a “Patient centered service” with high quality treatment, required support, and want to be an active partner rather than a passive recipient in their care. Everybody likes choices, for patients some choices are more significant than others. For patients, choice of care and treatment is more important than choice of provider.
Experience as a core driver of patient’s choice
In today’s cut-throat competitive world, customers are considered the king of any business. To maintain its competiveness it is important that every organization keeps its customers happy and satisfied. To move ahead of competitors it is important to satisfy the needs of customers. Customer satisfaction depends on the service provided by the healthcare centers in relation to customer’s expectations. If the customer is dissatisfied or fairly satisfied they can easily switch to some other healthcare center along the way.
It is quite natural that customers prefer and continue to go to a healthcare center based on their previous experience. Many customers say that non-clinical experience is as important as clinical reputation of the healthcare center in making choices. Experience is the key driver in deciding whether the customer wants to go back to the same healthcare center or wish to change the provider. There are maximum and increasing numbers of evidences showing that addressing customers needs in healthcare leads to improved healthcare outcome. When the customer’s experience is positive his perception is also positive and the clinical outcome is also more likely to be positive. This positive experience will make the customer go back to the same healthcare center and also share it with friends and family. So making sure that the patient had a nice positive experience in the healthcare center will make patients visit again.
Healthcare industries exist only to serve people. When trying to evaluate and compare different healthcare systems patient experience is very crucial. Today healthcare centers are facing tremendous pressure in delivering effective clinical and financial results but unfortunately at the expense of patient experience. But however, healthcare centers are ready to accept that patient experience can have a major effect on both clinical and financial outcome of their organization.
Retaining and satisfying the old customers is as difficult as finding another new customer. Hence, to make sure that customers come back to their organization to receive the best quality treatment and the best customer experiences all healthcare centers should give importance to customers so that no customer is lost just for a simple reason – poor service. Every healthcare center should remember that nothing makes a customer happy and come back than attention and courteousness from the healthcare provider.