Customer satisfaction is key to patient care as it has a direct impact on clinical outcomes, patient retention and medical malpractice claims.
Excellent customer satisfaction is seen as a critical component to the long-term success of any business. This approach to the customer’s experience has however seen a much slower adoption in the healthcare sector. Corporate healthcare providers have become more innovative in getting their customers’ feedback, however very rarely will an individual healthcare practitioner gather and analyse customer feedback from their patients. This needs to change to meet the everchanging needs of patients in the healthcare marketplace.
Healthcare is at its core a service industry. We serve a sector that is both as rewarding as it is challenging. We seek to care for those often in their most vulnerable states while advocating for the use of best operating practices in a minefield of legislation and policies. In the complexities of it all we may forget, that at the end of the day, our patients are our customers too. Patients are now being seen not only as the receivers of healthcare but also consumers of healthcare services, enjoying the inherent rights that go along with that. This sees a shift in the previous power dynamic between a healthcare practitioner and the patient to that of a healthcare practitioner and a customer.
A customer’s experience is extremely subjective and will vary from person-to-person depending on what they value. The customer’s understanding of their clinical outcomes and the input from the healthcare practitioner will also impact this experience. These are all factors that complicate the ability to objectively measure and compare a customer’s experience in the healthcare sector but should not be the reasons why we do not create a space for our patients to voice these perceptions and experiences. Customer satisfaction is key to patient care as it has a direct impact on clinical outcomes, patient retention and medical malpractice claims.
In today’s world of mega data, social media and instant access to information, the rate of adoption of international trends in the local setting is increasing exponentially. As customer centricity is empowered in the healthcare sector, we will find an increasing pressure to adopt customer satisfaction practices. As healthcare practitioners the challenge on our doorstep is to adapt to an increasingly more customer centric healthcare sector that acknowledges the patient’s voice. We can do so by equipping ourselves with the necessary tools to not only gather our customers feedback but also analyse it and adjust our services appropriately if we are to remain the providers of choice for the market.
Leron Hector is the Managing Director at Physiotherapy@Home, which is a partner of Medwell SA – The Home Health Care Specialists. For more information visit www.physiotherapyathome.co.za or www.medwell.co.za