The client delight approach
Not just care but memories.
When we talk about the future of the healthcare industry, the paradigm should be shifted from patient satisfaction to client delight. The horizon of clients includes patients who receive care and the relatives and caretakers. We have been focusing on providing care to the patients, looking after their needs, and ensuring they have a good experience. We have reached a stage now where healthcare providers should shift their vision to delight – care beyond medical service, exceeding expectations, and thus creating a positive emotional reaction.
Hospitals come under the purview of the service industry; we should think out of the box, extend our hospitality to new facets/arenas. Each custodian of the touch points of patient care is crucial. It starts before the patient reaches the hospital, e.g., visiting website, booking an appointment or enquiry at the front office, security, emergency, etc. The touch points furthermore extend to post-discharge home care.
Easy access to information through websites, brochures and visual presentations wherein the patients and the stakeholders get clarity in approach, diagnosis, treatment methodologies, and participative decision making.
The electronic communication is the key to the patient delight. The concept of pre-registration and online payment at home or through kiosks at the hospitals will help in skipping the queues and thus save time.
The patient can check the time of appointment, waiting time through the app/software so as to manage his or her work accordingly. We can even think of electronic communication with the OPD staff for smooth process.
Post doctor’s consultation, the advised pathology investigations can be addressed immediately, and investigations requiring fasting can be planned the next day through home collection; radiology investigations should be accommodated on the same day whenever possible. The investigation reports can be mailed for ease and speedy access to medical care. These initiatives will reduce the number of repeat visits to the hospital.
The concept of SPOC – single point of contact, who will coordinate with patients right from the entry and continue beyond exit. This SPOC can reduce the response time and the patient’s healthcare needs get attended on time, which add into patient delight.
During hospitalization, patient delight can be contributed by architectural design of a hospital facility with the best environment to stay, which involves rooms with natural lights, view to nature or gardens, play areas for children, noise control, etc. The stay can be indeed delightful by catering to the personal needs of the patient and relatives through customized food preparations.
The discharge process can be expedited by atomization/digital technology – real-time view/communication to the patient/relative about the discharge process. Continuous engagement will allay the apprehension, especially in case of insurance patients. The exit should be escorted till the vehicle. Post discharge, nursing care and rehabilitation can be provided at home through homecare services.
In the changing times, it has become essential to cater to the needs of the patient’s family members or caregivers who escort them. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, many accompanying relatives find it challenging to take leaves; hence well-coordinated patient care would save them valuable time. One could think of providing them with small spaces for using their laptops, Wi-Fi service, helping arrange basic amenities like food, water, recliners, etc.
A special mention – in critical care areas/ICUs, where relatives/care givers are provided complete logistics, which might include private space for counselling (often grief counselling) and immense support to understand the conditions of their loved ones and help them in tough times.
Going an extra mile will leave everlasting memories in all the clients. The leaders in healthcare should focus on creating a task force, motivating the staff to introspect, be pro-active, build a culture, and consistent training to all employees of healthcare. All these enthusiastic efforts will definitely have intangible positive outcomes and indeed delighted clients.