Patients demand “customer-focused” practices in the health care industry
As patients become less passive in their health care and become more proactive and self-empowered, health care providers must begin implementing more consumer-oriented practices and processes. With the possibilities of advancements in technology and market forces, the main drive behind a patient-centric model is the societal desire to improve the health and well-being of our citizens. Health care organizations must take the initiative to understanding how it will operate in this consumer-centric health market and what type of consumer-centric practices to implement. When consumer-oriented initiatives are in place, health care providers are improving business processes, adopting new technology, implementing higher training standards, and creating quality products and other modes of excellence in order to achieve the optimal levels of patient satisfaction and care. By focusing on perceived quality, patient expectations and perceived value, customer centric initiatives can, in simple terms, create a satisfied customer base through service excellences, which leads to higher revenue and profitability.
A question to begin with is, “What customer-centric lessons can the health care industry learn from other industries?” In most industries, there is the issue of solving the company’s internal efficiency management by changing focus and examining customer service complaints. In other words, it is imperative to examine why customers call customer service and to pinpoint what problems are found to be repetitive and continuously unsolved. When a company begins seeing its customers as individuals rather than as numbers, it can begin identifying customer needs and focusing on those that can be met immediately to achieve a quicker ROI. Many companies create a core customer profile that lists various attributes in order to identify and match customer needs and prioritize them, as it relates to current product offerings, future solicitations and account management tools.
When wanting to gain a competitive advantage, the health care industry can create a highly personalized experience for each customer. To do this, relevant staff need access at all points of service to accurate customer data related to needs and preferences, interaction history and other pertinent information. The key directive would be keeping information up-to-date in the data warehouse for building smart, proactive reports that contribute to adding value to a customer’s experience. Market opportunities should be evaluated to provide new insight on how a company can meet the increased demands and market competition.
From a health care standpoint, the industry can take these customer-centric processes and create a model that empowers patients through improved access to information, such as wellness measures. The centric model will encourage the use of technological advances, which will reduce health care costs. In the end, the common goal of the patient-centric model is to improve upon the quality of the experience for the patient, by enhancing the level of care and shaping more affirmative patient outcomes.