Being in a service oriented business I am always looking for ways to improve the quality of service to our customers, which in my case happens to be patients. Today I went to a meeting in which I had the chance to listen to an excellent physician speaker who happens to work for Palmetto GBA (Medicare). It was interesting to hear things from the other side, as we are healthcare providers and they are third-party payers who pay physicians for their services to their beneficiaries. During his lecture he talked about the need to listen to the voice of our customers (VOC) to be able to improve the quality of our service. He told a story of a hospital E.R. (Emergency Room) that was losing patients to a hospital that was 20 minutes further away in a different town. When the hospital begin researching as to why this was happening they found that patients would rather drive further in order to get better service. When it came down to it at the other hospital the patients were able to see a doctor sooner, their families were kept informed of their condition and they were treated with respect. These do not seem like hard qualities for a hospital to have, but apparently they were at this particular hospital. The hospital decided that they needed to take a good look at how their E.R. was running and found that out of the first 47 minutes that patients were there (just in the waiting room) only 7 of those minutes had any value, the rest were taken by inefficient systems. They found out this information by mapping the patient E.R. experience, seeing how long it was actually taking to cycle patients in and out of the E.R. and then looking for the ways they could improve. They were able to improve the quality of service (cutting waiting time down) and ultimately the care they gave to the patients and became a viable E.R. to their community.
This really made me think about our practice and how we need to put on our stethoscope and take a good listen to the heart of our business, which is the VOC (voice of our customers), to make sure we are keeping up with their needs because without them we have no pulse.
Take time to map your customers experience with your business to see if there is something you can do to improve the quality and service you give them.
“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it. ~Peter Drucker