PatientWay Blog

5 principles of successful self-service

Written by Jay Lawrence on January 7th, 2013. Posted in Healthcare strategy, Healthcare Technology, Hospital kiosk, Hospital management, Patient satisfaction, Patient Self-Service

Book1 5 principles of successful self serviceBy Jay Lawrence, CEO, PatientWay

I recently read Micah Solomon’s book High-Tech, High Touch Customer Service, in which the author echoed a lot of what PatientWay has been telling its clients for years.

Namely, it’s not enough to implement a self-service channel for “users” (or in healthcare’s case, patients): there are many other factors that must be considered for your technology to be deemed successful.

Here are a few of Solomon’s principles which lead to a successful implementation, and how I see it relating to healthcare:

1.   Customers need a choice of channels

Self-service can’t be mandatory. If a patient wants to speak with an actual person to check in for their appointment, let them! Being in a healthcare environment is stressful enough for the ordinary person without having such options available to them.

2.   Don’t make your users think about your organizational structure

All patients need to know is where to go, and who to speak to. They don’t need to know the confusing hierarchy of each and every person in your hospital. Keep your self-service channel simple.

3.   Usability is a science that needs to be respected

There are many tried-and-true practices out there regarding peoples’ ability to use self-service technology. Don’t go trying to reinvent the wheel—pay attention to what has worked for other hospitals and medical clinics.

4.   Self-service can’t be set and forgotten: it’s an endless work-in-progress

Your self-service technology may be working great—at least, technically. But what do your patients and visitors (not to mention your staff) think of it? You need to monitor and review usage regularly, to ensure it’s doing its job the way you originally intended.

5.   Your staff needs to have used—recently—your self-service channel(s)

Your medical staff can be your organization’s strongest advocates for self-service…but only if they understand how it works. Ensure they are well-trained in its usage—and that they try it out semi-regularly, so they are able to talk intelligently with patients and visitors about it.

Solomon’s book is a great overview of how technology and customer service can consistently work together to meet the growing expectations of the public.

Ultimately, his goal is to help organizations “touch customers in a way that builds true customer loyalty—loyalty you can bank.”

In healthcare, that’s something we can all aspire to.

Jay Lawrence

Jay Lawrence is the CEO of PatientWay, a leading provider of patient self-service technology and process improvement services.  Jay's vision of bringing measurable cost and time efficiencies to health care organizations, while improving patient and staff satisfaction, is quickly being realized as leading providers such as Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Southlake Regional Health Centre and the Stronach Cancer Care Centre, are just a few of the many that have adopted PatientWay technology. Jay is a recipient of the Ottawa Business Journal's Forty under 40 Award in 2009, Industry Canada Innovation Leader also in 2009, and Chair of the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) Path to Recognition (PTR) National Steering Committee.

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