Healthcare is the fastest growing service industry in the US, and as baby boomers age, there is a continued need to enhance the patient experience. One way to achieve this goal is by building on a culture of caring with digital innovation.
The vocation of healthcare professionals is to make a difference in the lives of others. Caring and empathetic by nature, they are dedicated to serving their patients’ needs.
Customer service has not always been a priority for hospitals, however, often taking a backseat to quality care, safety and clinical outcomes. More recently, the importance of patient satisfaction scores and online ratings to measure a hospital’s performance has reinforced the need to ensure an outstanding patient experience.
Four concepts of best practice
Hospitals can learn lessons in best practice from other service industries. Sectors such as retail, entertainment and hospitality prioritize their service to consumers to enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction.
For example, Disney has created a “can-do” organizational culture.
The Disney Institute recommends establishing and nurturing a workplace culture where people are genuinely willing and able to provide exceptional service, even when asked to carry out tasks that are not in their job description.
This culture is based on four main concepts:
- Hire people with a heart for service.
- Ensure that everyone understands your organization’s common purpose.
- Empower employees, and thoroughly equip them to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
- Recognize (and celebrate) when your employees go above and beyond what is required.
Healthcare systems are fully positioned to embrace this culture with ease.
- They already hire people with a heart for service – a culture of caring.
- They already have a common purpose – the health of the patient, both physical and emotional.
- They can equip their employees with tools to deliver an exceptional patient and family experience.
- They can recognize (and celebrate) when their employees go above and beyond.
How can hospitals move forward with an innovative strategy to build on this instinctive culture and foster excellent customer service?
Today’s customers and patients have more choice than ever before. There needs to be a tool to offer the following:
- Empower patients and make them feel special.
- Allow hospital leadership to understand the patient journey more deeply, throughout the patient’s stay and in real-time.
Understanding the patient experience through patient and family engagement is a priority set by AHRQ. The AHRQ Guide to Patient and Family Engagement: Best Practices for Hospital Leaders  recommends that hospitals identify opportunities for patient and family engagement.
They direct hospitals to:
“Establish channels for direct communication with patients and family members. Senior leaders can communicate and interact directly with patients and family members in ways that publicly emphasize two-way communication…Creating an organizational structure with a place for patient and family engagement helps ensure responsibility and accountability for progress.”
Delivering digital innovation with iSUGEZT
Leaders in innovation in healthcare cost reduction, VIE Healthcare Consulting has developed iSUGEZT, a unique app that can be installed by patients and their families to foster that engagement process throughout the patient journey.
Using iSUGEZT, patients and family members can make recommendations, share stories, offer praise, express concerns, or ask for assistance.
This unique technology delivers confidential feedback in real-time, directly to a location selected by hospital leadership. The information provided can then be rapidly shared with frontline staff to address any concerns promptly and directly with patients and their families.
These observations can be further used as a teaching tool for process improvement, to highlight staff excellence and shed light on overlooked issues in the patient experience. The Disney mantra of building a “can-do” culture can be promoted as stories emerge of employees going “above and beyond” in their role with caring gestures.
The ability to receive “point of care” information, prior to discharge and prior to patients completing HCAHPS surveys will be transformational.The ability to receive vital feedback prior to patient discharge and completion of HCAHPS surveys will be transformational for hospitals. Click To Tweet
With iSUGEZT, hospitals have the ability to:
- Gain invaluable insight.
- Align with best practices for patient engagement.
- Boost HCAHPS scores.
- Address operational challenges in a timely manner.
- Enhance patient loyalty.
Combine the power of the patient voice and data analytics in your hospital with iSUGEZT.
 How Disney Works to Eliminate the Words “That’s Not my job” from its organization; February 28, 2018 – Harvard Business Review
 Guide to Patient and Family Engagement; Dec. 2017; AHRQ-Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD https://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/professionals/systems/hospital/engagingfamilies/howtogetstarted/Best_Practices_Hosp_Leaders_508.pdf