Healthcare has typically displayed indifference to customer satisfaction. Health is a prerequisite to living, the NHS supplies healthcare free at the point of need and therefore the service is stretched to its limits such that throughput takes precedence over quality of service. Little insight is paid to the importance of service to deliver trust. Many businesses exploit a captive marketplace (a gift shop at the exit of a theme park) but many more rely on investing in future repeat business. Patients now have choice, which derives competition and traditional indifference will now undermine service. Patients remain at the heart of the service and now empower the rise and fall of the business minded healthcare provider. Indifference suggests patients are objects and if the fundamental compassion in healthcare is disregarded, business is lost.
Maister describes a formulaic illustration of satisfaction (S) in queuing being the difference between what is perceived (P) by the customer and what is expected (E).
Both elements of P (what is observed) and E are in the mind of the customer and may differ from reality. Virtual queues of course lend themselves potentially to false interpretation, either positively or negatively. Both require efforts on the part of the provider to yield what is seen as being better than expectation. Undermining expectation of course would offer little business sense. Following this, several elements of queue strategy must be borne in mind to understand perception.
- Fairness is a vital element of satisfaction, unjustified queue jumping is poorly tolerated.
- Uncertain waiting times are less tolerated than defined waiting times. Waiting customers need acknowledgement and reassurance, with recognition of accurate expectations
- Increasing waits without reason is poorly tolerated
- Customers tolerate longer waits for higher value explaining the dwindling satisfaction following long waits and reduced consultation time “I waited for an hour and the (overrun) doctor only saw me for 5 minutes”
One problem we see is that time inhibits the softer side of healthcare, consultations require time spent listening, examining and guiding, not to mention explaining, taking consent, injecting, prescribing, etc. No consultation is the same, timings vary according to the depth of enquiry, examination and discussions, therefore clinic schedules are based on best guess of time required per consultation. This is inherently flawed, thereby reducing chance of keeping to time.
Healthcare requires accessible data and reporting but the systems available are cumbersome. The handwriting of a doctor (note-taking, prescription) so infamous by its illegibility is borne out of a necessity of speed. The solution to create IT systems that collate information and reportable data is resisted as they are commonly even slower.
It makes sense that the integration of digital systems with data capture allow analyses of clinics to refine and improve schedules. A clinic specialising in hand conditions takes less time to expose and examine a finger than the thorough exposure and assessment required in a spine problem, for example. Data capture could serve to analyse and review throughput, thereby influence scheduling. Measurements form the basis upon which improvements can be designed.
DASHclinic is clinician-designed smart mobile solution to the clinic and is the only solution to capture information faster than the pen. Clinician-centric solutions creates satisfaction of the patient, the healthcare customer. It allows clear dashboard information to facilitate acknowledgment to those waiting, creates fairness, acknowledgment, dynamic data and offers more time to care, increasing perception and satisfaction.
DASHclinic – Wait no longer.