Making the healthcare customer experience like buying a car .

Making the healthcare customer experience like buying a car .

As consumers, we all purchase various goods and services, so we’ve all played the role of a customer at some point. We expect great customer service, whether we’re buying groceries, shoes or a car. But what about our experience as a customer when we go to the doctor, urgent care clinic or hospital? Does our customer experience in healthcare look different when compared to our retail experience?

Healthcare providers have to look at the entire patient experience as an opportunity to not only care for people, but provide care that is patient centric and based on the individual needs of each person to increase positive outcomes. For providers to remain competitive, “clients” have to leave their healthcare encounter feeling the same way they felt when they got a really great deal on a car. The Affordable Care Act has led to greater competition for those seeking medical services. Healthcare’s shift must continue to include not only great patient outcomes, but memorable experiences as well.

Consider a woman entering a hospital to deliver her first baby. She comes with hopes, dreams and a bit of anxiety. I spent several years caring for moms who labored for hours and brought life into the world. Providing great patient care that led to a healthy mom and a healthy baby was just the tip of the iceberg. Moms needed to feel they were being cared for—they wanted unforgettable experiences that they could share with family and friends.

So how do we as healthcare providers shift our focus? One way is to incorporate best practices into our daily routine. Evidence-based research supports the utilization of appropriate staffing and scheduling to support better patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. When staffing and scheduling is not appropriate, adverse outcomes may occur. Quality of care and patient outcomes will be impacted with insufficient staff while an abundance of staff impacts a hospital’s continued viability. It’s time to reevaluate and redesign the “whys” and “hows” of staffing and scheduling in healthcare, with a focus on what the evidence now tells us about providing the safest practices to support positive outcomes for both our patients and nursing staff.

Implementing a solution must be based on current evidence. The use of an electronic staffing and scheduling system can be utilized to provide healthcare providers with real time data based upon the ever-changing needs of the patient.  Nursing Economics states that this system must be matched to the most appropriate nurse with the ability to provide care safely for all the patients in his or her total assignments.

Great patient experiences begin the moment patients enter the hospital, and continue with the interactions of each and every team member. Becker’s Hospital Review claims that insufficient numbers of nurses on duty leads to poor patient experiences, and that influences reimbursement rates and may even cause patients to choose a different healthcare provider.

The time for change is now. Please share how your organization is working toward better patient experiences. How are you making sure you have adequate nursing staff assigned for your patients? Please share your thoughts here.