patient care | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

When You Can’t Say “Yes to the Address” - 2/7/23


I was interviewing a frontline staff person for one of our local government clients recently as part of our CSS Training Development Process.  They described their customers and the difficult situations that they face, their tougher conversations with customers. This individual supports local events, so there’s a lot of planning involved.  Read more

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a 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.

Did you like this post? Here are other Healthcare-related posts:


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.

Did you like this post? Here are other Healthcare-related posts:


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.

Did you like this post? Here are other Healthcare-related posts: