Patient service is key in healthcare in any medical facility. A good patient experience can greatly improve his quality of life, which is the cornerstone of the hospital’s success. Accordingly, enhancing the patient’s quality of life and focusing on how to improve the medical service provided to him is fundamental to achieving satisfaction.
Customer service in any facility, whatever the nature of its work, is very important. However, it is paramount in medical facilities, therefore, regional hospitals and medical institutions were keen to provide the finest humanitarian and medical services. A nice smile, a gentle touch, and simple gestures are all essential factors in healthcare. Patient-centered care is the basis of our work and its primary goal and benefit is to improve individual health outcomes. Focusing on the patient is the way to enhance work efficiency in the hospital and improve its reputation. The hospital must combine modern technology and the human touch in order to improve the patient experience.
The medical services provided are divided into two parts: high-quality medical service, as well as luxurious amenities and hospitality that ensure patient comfort. In the past years, many hospitals splurged heavily to improve their services and develop the skills of their employees on how to serve customers, whether in nursing and healthcare or in hospitality and personal care. Every hospital worker, no matter his position, must be fully aware that he is providing a service to patients and his daily activities should focus on improving the quality of care provided to them. Patients who were happy to deal with the medical and nursing staff and who have received full attention and care, will definitely return again to the same hospital, should the need arise. Not only that, but they will speak positively about the hospital among family and friends. Thus, word spread fast about the hospital’s excellent reputation, which will have a positive impact in the long run.
One of the elements of patient service and achieving patient satisfaction is complete medical data and records that reduce errors and give the doctor the necessary information about his patients and their medical history, so he can easily make accurate diagnostic and treatment recommendations.
The importance of customer service to patients
The patient does not seek healthcare services while he is in good health, however, he needs them during his illness and hardship. He often feels anxious and tense about his health condition when waiting for results or when feeling severe pain. In such difficult situations, the only thing the patient wants is a human gesture and compassion to make him feel better.
After his hospital admission, the patient expects more than a mere treatment, he is rather looking for care and safety that should be provided by hospitals in order to improve patient satisfaction. Hospital administrations in the Gulf States are well aware of the importance of this step and put it at the top of their concerns so that they treat the patient as a family member. Patients have some basic expectations from the hospital, including good medical care, a comfortable and safe atmosphere, caring and compassionate staff, accurate and well-maintained patient records with utmost data privacy, in addition to efficient and time-saving operations.
Patients also look for a streamlined communication with healthcare providers by answering their questions, reassuring them about their health condition, and providing them with help and assistance when needed without complaining. For instance, if the patient experienced some fears about his eating / sleep patterns, or physical activity, he can be reassured by calling the doctor that will give him some instructions and will guide him to implement them in order to feel comfortable and calm. To meet and exceed patient expectations, every hospital employee has to fulfill his duties in providing a patient-centered customer service.
Steps to improve patient experience in the hospital
In fact, the patient experience from admission to discharge includes many interactions between the patient and healthcare providers. The more valuable these interactions, the happier and more satisfied the patient will be. Among the things that the patient looks for are the services provided by this facility, in addition to following up on their reviews, advertisements and referrals from care providers.
Therefore, leaving a good impact among patients has positive consequences in the long run, in addition to the marketing department’s role in publishing the hospital’s achievements and contributions, as well as the most important medical work of its doctors and surgeons.
Appointment scheduling is typically the first active engagement between the patient and a healthcare company. During this interaction, the company often collects basic information about the patient and his or her healthcare needs. With this information, the provider is able to perform an initial assessment of urgency and schedule an appointment for the patient.
Healthcare organizations can improve the scheduling experience by minimizing wait times to talk to a scheduling agent, reducing the time taken to capture patient data, having accurate and up-to-date scheduling data that identifies the most convenient time to schedule the appointment, and providing appointment confirmations, instructions, and reminders via email or text messages prior to the appointment.
The patient’s first doctor’s visit is in fact the first personal interaction between him and the hospital, and this would either leave a positive or negative impression, depending on how the patient was received in addition to the efficiency of check-ins and waiting time to see the doctor. The cumbersome nature of the data collection process and the wait time for a provider heavily affect the patient’s impressions. Hence, the hospital management should be fully aware of the importance of hiring a specialized staff to receive patients professionally while being compassionate, which will make them repeat their visit.
Many healthcare experiences require more than one activity and often more than one appointment. Thus, customer impressions are based on their holistic, end-to-end experience.
Healthcare companies can improve this part of the customer service experience by optimizing how referrals and transfers to other providers are performed. Customer service systems can provide practitioners with the tools and right data to locate referral resources, make appointments on behalf of the customer, and submit orders for tests. This helps the patient feel the healthcare company is concerned about their overall health and is not just treating them as a business transaction.
Patients may reach out to your clinic through various channels like phone calls, email, social media, etc. Therefore, it is important for the doctor to interact with them on these channels especially after what the world has been through in the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the trend towards remote medical consultations.