Archive for August, 2011

What hospitals are learning from other service industries

Written by Jay Lawrence on August 12th, 2011. Posted in Cancer Care, Healthcare strategy, Hospital kiosk, Hospital management, Patient satisfaction, Patient Self-Service

mickeymouse What hospitals are learning from other service industriesDisney recently announced a healthcare service program to help hospitals better prepare for the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS).

Patient satisfaction has become more important than ever, as it is now directly tied to reimbursement.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requires hospitals to report patient satisfaction of (HCAHPS) results.

In light of this growing priority, Disney has introduced its new program, that incorporates the five most powerful Disney philosophies – leadership excellence, people management, quality service, brand loyalty and creativity/innovation – to help healthcare organizations exceed the expectations of patients.

Our program helps hospitals and healthcare organizations focus more on the overall patient experience, rather than just clinical outcomes” says Disney Institute consultant Patrick Jordan, a former healthcare executive. “This is incredibly important for building a culture of excellence.

Results to date have been positive.  For example, Fierce Healthcare reports that:

“Florida Hospital for Children has seen patient satisfaction scores increase after their time with Disney Institute. After measuring patient and family satisfaction scores two years in a row, administrators were shocked to find their facility ranked in the bottom ten percent of hospitals nationwide.

FHC began embracing change through Disney Institute seminars, site visits and subsequent training sessions at the hospital. As a result, Press Ganey patient/family satisfaction scores jumped from the bottom 10 percent in the nation to the top 10 percent, employee morale soared, employee retention rates improved and the hospital’s pediatric emergency room is now ranked top in the nation.”

So beyond Disney’s ability to capture the imagination (and wallets) of millions with their theme parks, what other industries should hospitals look to for ideas?

How about the airline industry?  I know, I know, we all have nightmare stories from the airline industry…but hear me out.

The last time that I took a flight, I registered online and added my preferences.  The airline provided some valuable instructions and offered the option to pick my own seat.  Once I arrived at the airport, I checked-in at a kiosk, got my boarding pass, and made my way to security.  From a customer perspective, the experience was convenient because it saved time and gave me more control over my flying experience (I got a window seat!).

From the airline’s perspective, they captured more complete and accurate data from me before I left home.  In addition, as soon as I checked-in from a kiosk it updated their system automatically and I was told exactly where to go next.  By having even a small number of customers using the self-service option it significantly reduces line-ups and streamlines the flow of travelers from the front door of the airport to the correct seats in the plane.

Hospitals using self-service technology are seeing measurable benefits and improved patient and staff satisfaction within months of implementation. Southlake Regional Health Centre, a 365 bed hospital, is already getting a 78% uptake by patients who have a scheduled appointment.  As a result of the high adoption rate from patients, they achieved in the first year:
-$400,000 operational savings;
-30% reduction in registration staff (redistributed 10 FTEs to other functions within the hospital);
-50% reduction in registration data errors.

Kemptville District Hospital, a small 30 bed rural hospital, has been piloting the same model for three months with day surgery, and they are already forecasting a potential $100,000 in savings.

Specialty clinics such as the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre are also looking to self-service options to enhance the patient experience.  In this case, cancer patients enter a record of their symptoms at the same time as they check-in at a kiosk for their scheduled appointment.

In closing, if Disney can help hospitals to skyrocket their satisfaction scores, and the airline model can help streamline the flow of patients, what other lessons are out there that could benefit our hospitals?  We would love your thoughts.

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