patient care | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

Tap the Employee to Better Treat the Patient

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 7-3-15 - 2nd postIn the article Hospital shows improved patient satisfaction, the author highlights a hospital that is using key strategies to drive up patient satisfaction. And in hearing Ivision Memorial Hospital leaders describe the approach, one starts to draw conclusions. Here are some quotes:

What we do is we get a group of people from all aspects related to that process, get them in a room for four days and really give them the leeway to fix the problem.

We’re firm believers that the people who know the work are the best ones to fix it.

Next year’s score card goals are set to change, some of which are based on staff suggestions.

What we’re really going to push in this next year is something we call our bright idea program. The idea is that we give staff a way to improve their work.

Did you catch the theme? The CEO and Chief Quality and Strategy Officer are constantly talking about using the voice of the employee to drive improvements. Whether it be on an improvement team or through an employee suggestion system, the best ideas to improve the patient experience are coming from those closest to the patient on a daily basis.

Leaders must chart the vision and set the strategy in most organizations, but the employees are the ones often with the best ideas on how to execute the ideas and improve patient satisfaction.

Create a patient satisfaction improvement strategy where the employee’s voice rises up for the benefit of the patient.

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Journalists are Sharing Patient Satisfaction Scores

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 4-17-15It’s happening. We knew it would come. It’s not that the hospitals haven’t been measuring patient satisfaction for decades. It’s not that the Federal Government is just now monitoring patient satisfaction and reporting it publicly. It IS that it’s become such an easily-obtained set of information that journalists are quickly pulling the data and writing articles. The article See how Triad hospitals fare when it comes to patient satisfaction is a perfect example. It identifies specific hospitals in North Carolina only getting 2 “Stars” out of 5. It notes that nobody in the region is above a 4, and it interviews those performing “badly” in the eyes of the writer, putting them on the defensive. Now here’s the question: What is your organization doing to continually improve patient satisfaction? Some of the answer is process-oriented, some is culture, some directly relates to engaging employees, and some relates to communications and relationship-building with patients. Our suggestion is to start with the Voice of the Patient – What are their true satisfaction drivers? Uncover the true drivers of willingness to recommend and return, if needed. Then identify what correlates most to those drivers. At that point, you can be efficient in your efforts. At that point, you’re tailoring your strategy to improve and sustain that improvement in patient satisfaction through employee engagement, patient engagement, process, communications, cultural, and other initiatives. Continually work to improve your patient satisfaction. Your scores could be in the next headline, the next television segment, or the next in-depth article. The data on the hospitals have become stories waiting to be written.

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The “Patient Engagement” Conundrum

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 8-27-14

One of the latest healthcare buzzwords is “Engagement,” as in “Patient Engagement.” Unlike patient satisfaction, clinical care, customer service, and other service-oriented terms, Patient Engagement is a little more nebulous to the average healthcare consumer.

However, the term’s definition is abundantly clear to most healthcare institutions. In the article Patient engagement creates Stage 2 challenges for providers, Patient Engagement requires that “5% of patients be engaged in their care through an online portal or electronic medical record. Hospitals that don’t achieve 90 consecutive days of meaningful use at Stage 2 during the 2014 fiscal year will be penalized financially. They must do this to continue receiving their incentive payments and avoid losing 1% of future Medicare reimbursements.​” Ouch!

Essentially the Federal Government has narrowly defined Patient Engagement as getting consumers to sign-in to a system with their electronic medical information. There are many reasons given why this is so difficult, and many suggestions followed: “Updating organizational policies addressing patient EMR access (particularly looking at gaps in the system); continuously educating patients and providers of their roles related to the engagement; making sure information is robust, including more than just appointment dates and lab results; staying current with standard development that supports consumer engagement; and eliminating patient fees for electronic health information.”

But much of this is missing one key point. The culture of America, in particular, revolves around the fact that we don’t have to directly pay for a significant portion of our healthcare. Sure, we pay premiums and pay taxes, but it’s not like paying cash for a car – where you either keep the $20,000 in your bank account or write a check today for $20,000. Many Americans pay virtually nothing out of pocket for a visit or procedure, and the others spend the vast majority of their healthcare expenses on premiums. We’re a culture that’s focused on requesting the best procedure and expecting physicians, hospitals, and other institutions to deliver the best care. Whether that happens or not is another debate, but that’s the current state of the culture.

Until this culture changes, Patient Engagement – as it’s defined by the government – will continue to be a challenge. I have had 2 medical procedures lately, and it was like pulling teeth (healthcare pun intended) to determine my out-of-pocket costs before the procedure. Even then, they were only rough estimates. There was no proactive sharing of that information on the part of the healthcare providers, so it was all on the customer to determine the cost and make an informed decision.

Also, I was asked to create a log-in to my EMR last year, but I was just given a copy of a detailed form with instructions; there was no incentive, no promotion – just “here’s the form if you want to login.” To change a culture, the provider has to share what’s in it for the patient to do something different, to begin changing behaviors.

For Patient Engagement to truly succeed, the culture has to change.

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