Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Customer service?

We try really, really hard to be good at customer service. (This is in addition to offering very good medical care!) By customer service, I mean what the patient's experience is like when he or she calls on the phone or comes to the front desk. How well do we help each person navigate the unwieldy system in a big hospital? Often we do well, but sometimes we blow it! Here is an example of the latter:

I want to share a less than optimal experience, just so you know.

I have an appointment Thursday at Dermatology. I've been well reminded: a paper letter with map, two email reminders, and (tonight) a voicemail on the home phone. This is all fine. Clearly taking responsibility for making sure the patient doesn't forget, and doing it all automated, cost-effective.

However, I want to *change* the appointment, and that's not going so well.

Over the weekend I tried using PatientSite. No option to change apptmt.

Today during office hours I didn't get to it. Oops. So on the way home I called in. No menu option to change an appointment, but there's one to cancel. I selected that, to see what I'd get, and I got:

"The cancellation voice mailbox is full. Please call back during normal business hours."

No catastrophe - I'll deal with it, obviously - but not a particularly good customer experience.


So . . . we will keep trying to improve! We do learn from these comments, and we make changes in how we do things. For those of you out there who experience this or any kind of problem, please do not hesitate to write me.


Anonymous said...

As a product designer and strategist, this has been my primary focus over the last year or so: how to make the customer experience a part of developing new healthcare products and processes, the way it is a part of developing consumer products.

Of course this is an entirely new mindset for healthcare, which is a notoriously conervative and cautious indutry.

Still, there is enormous value to clinicians, administrators, investors and patients in making people and their experiences a bigger part of healthcare's development.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above post. This is a good example of how the lines between website, PHR, and EHR is blurring. More and more people are going to be frustrated with non-automated systems to handle things like rescheduling. The problem is that there are so many potential complications with such systems. I experienced situations where the "dermatology" department of a hospital was not part at all, it runs its own EHR and scheduling system. So how to you get the hospital PHR to reschedule in that environment? Tough issues....


Anonymous said...

Please tell us what EHR and PHR are, OK?

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I went on line and I found what is EHR and PHR.

EHR = Electronic Health Records
PHR = Electronic Health Records

I hope ti helps.

Your blog really good.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, LS. I think that does not quite do it. :) Please try again.