I have a great job that gives me the opportunity to interact with healthcare innovators on a pretty regular basis. I had a really encouraging discussion last week with a couple of executives from a US-based healthcare provider with a respected, global brand about their vision to make healthcare delivery much more personal. Taking a cue from other consumer services industries, these guys were talking about understanding not just the clinical needs, but also the preferences of their patients – then tailoring their service for each individual.
Too often, when we have to go into a healthcare facility it feels way too much like going to the DMV. Take a number, get in line, fill out these forms, wait your turn … very impersonal and “clinical” (using the “devoid of emotion” definition of the word).
One of the execs used an example of mass patient survey information sometimes overruling individual preference. The example: in patient surveys, the large majority indicate that a quiet hospital room is important BUT some individuals really need some level of background noise (white noise) to relax and feel most comfortable. The hospital has done everything possible to make their patient rooms silent, leading to discomfort for some individuals. What if the hospital knew about those preferences on an individual basis? They could make the hospital stay more comfortable and speed recovery; and improve the overall experience of that individual patient.
I wrote a while back about the way that we are leveraging Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to help healthcare providers enable their accountable care initiatives and better coordinate care for individuals inside and outside their facilities. That is a great, innovative use of CRM software. But what about the basics of better understanding your customers’ (patients’) preferences? That is what CRM was originally designed for and could make a world of difference in the patient experience.
It’s encouraging to hear healthcare executives beginning to talk about personalizing the delivery of care.