MAPSTED BLOG

Service Excellence in Healthcare: The Role of Customer Service in Hospitals

May 20, 2024
Categories:

Hospitals & Healthcare

“To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always.” 

This timeless quote by Hippocrates perfectly captures  all of the key components of service excellence in healthcare.

When patients arrive at a hospital, they do not only bring their diseases and injuries, but also their worries, stress and longing for care. Service excellence in healthcare is more than just medical care, it includes every aspect of the patient experience such that they feel supported and valued. Customer service in hospitals plays a pivotal role in this, shaping how patients perceive their care and making sure that they have a positive experience from the beginning to the end. This blog addresses the fundamental elements of hospital service excellence and how to provide better patient care.

What is Service Excellence in Healthcare and Why Is It Important?

Key Statistics:

  • Patient Retention: 82% of patients consider quality customer service the most important factor when choosing care.
  • Financial Impact: A 5-point increase in overall hospital rating leads to a 1% increase in hospital profit margin.

Service excellence in healthcare has always been important, but in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, its importance has reached new heights. Patients are no longer  passive recipients, they are now informed, empowered and have higher expectations. Here is a list of five reasons why customer service has become more important than ever in healthcare and how it affects patients and providers.

1. Improved Patient Satisfaction and Trust

Patients nowadays have a wealth of information right at their fingertips. They read reviews, compare healthcare providers and seek referrals before selecting a hospital. Excellence in healthcare plays a critical role in building patient confidence and satisfaction. The feeling of being valued, respected and well taken care of by a healthcare provider leads to an enhanced experience for the patients thereby building trust.

For instance, when a patient comes to a hospital for the first time, they can be easily anxious and not sure what to expect. Patients can be reassured by empathetic staff, clear communication and timely assistance in hospitals, thereby reducing their anxiety. It has been found that patients who receive compassionate care tend to have more trust in their providers, practice medical advice and come back for future care. It is not only the patient treatment that goes on with the trust built but also the institution’s reputation, as it will attract more patients and build long-term loyalty.

2. Improved Health Outcomes 

Service quality in healthcare unquestionably holds the key to lower healthcare costs and better patient health. The healthcare providers who focus on patient-oriented care create a setting where the patients are able to share their worries and health signs without hesitation. This way of communication gives a basis for more precise diagnosis, the tailored treatment plans and the timely intervention. 

Take for example a situation when a patient with chronic pain walks into a hospital. When a patient is rushed or feels dismissed, they might not share all the vital information, which will then result in misdiagnosis or unsuccessful treatment. Contrarily, a healthcare provider who delivers hospital service excellence will bring more successful treatment, faster recoveries and overall better health outcomes.

3. Higher Rate of Patient Participation and Treatment Adherence

Healthcare service quality promotes the patients’ participation and compliance with the treatment regimen. Engaged patients tend to play an active role in their health, follow the prescribed procedures and show up for their follow-up appointments. This is especially essential for managing chronic trails, where regular care and monitoring are of the utmost importance.

Think about a diabetic patient, who needs regular testing and lifestyle changes. A healthcare provider that is good at customer service will educate the patient about their condition, give clear instructions and be available for follow up support. This will enable the patient to effectively manage their condition and thus, minimizing the risk of developing complications. When patients sense that they are being supported and understood, they will be more likely to follow their treatment plans, which in turn will give them better long-term health and fewer hospital readmissions.

4. Lowering Stress and Anxiety Levels

Going to the hospital may be regarded as a stressful event for patients and their families. The unusual environment, intricate procedures and fear of the unpredictable can magnify anxiety. Service quality in healthcare means creating an environment that is warm, friendly and easy for patients to access.

For example, indoor wayfinding solutions assist patients in smoothly searching large hospital complexes without getting lost and frustrated. Smart signage, approachable employees and timely help are among the things that can change how patients see the hospital. When patients have trustworthy hospital support, their stress levels go down and they can concentrate on their recovery. This empathetic method not only enriches patients but also develops a good atmosphere for healthcare workers, bringing forth an increase in morale and productivity.

5. Economic Benefits and Operational Effectiveness

Service excellence in healthcare goes beyond patient care, it also leads to important financial benefits and the optimization of hospital operations for healthcare institutions. If patients have a good experience, they are more likely to speak well of the hospital to others, thus resulting in more patients and income for our facility. Moreover, smooth operations result in a decrease in unnecessary expenses such as hold-ups, mistakes and patient complaints.

Facilities that invest in technologies such as asset tracking and predictive analytics can bring efficacy and accuracy into their processes with optimal resource allocation and less wastage. For example, service maintenance of medical equipment could be done through asset tracking, which will prevent costly breakdowns and ensure the availability of necessary instruments. Predictive analysis reduces overtime and improves employee satisfaction by forecasting staffing levels. The resulting increased efficiencies gradually translate into better patient care, higher satisfaction rates and a better financial position for the hospital.

Key Drivers of Service Excellence in Healthcare

To ensure the best patient experience, hospitals must prioritize certain areas. These comprise location-based technology such as advanced analytics, indoor wayfinding, asset tracking and other emerging trends. Below we have looked into each of these elements and their function in improving the patient experience.

1. Advanced Analytics

In many ways, advanced analytics represent the basis of service excellence in health care. Healthcare providers, through the use of data, can gain meaningful insights into patient behaviour, resource utilization and efficiency. Analytics empower hospitals to identify patterns and trends, enabling informed decisions and enhancing healthcare services.

Details

The complex IT process in which data is extracted from multiple sources inside the hospital and analyzed is referred to as advanced analytics. This is supported by patient records, appointment schedules, staffing levels and resource use. The data from different sources such as machine learning and artificial intelligence is processed to generate actionable insights. Major components of advanced analytics in healthcare are predictive analytics, monitoring in real-time and data visualization.

How Does It Help?

Unlike other industries, healthcare has not yet embraced advanced analytics. Through forecasting patient admissions, hospitals can streamline staffing hours and allocate resources where they are required. It minimizes wait  times and helps make patients comfortable. The knowledge of patient behaviour or choices enables personalized treatment plans, which results in improved health outcomes. Data-driven insights allow for operational processes to be optimized and efficient, and costs to be reduced.

Predictive analytics enables the hospital to determine the optimal number of employees for proper patient care. Also, analytics capable of identifying patterns in patient behaviour, e.g., the main reasons for missed appointments, which can help hospitals develop specific approaches they can use to deal with these problems.

2. Indoor Wayfinding

The task of finding their way through a big hospital is stressful for visitors who are also worried about their health or the health of a loved one. Indoor digital wayfinding systems can guide them throughout the facility in a clear and precise way, helping them easily find their destination while relieving stress. 

Details

Indoor wayfinding systems in hospitals use location-based technology to create digital maps, mobile applications and interactive kiosks to guide patients and visitors through the hospital. These technologies offer point-to-point directions highlighting the optimal paths that take visitors to chosen areas of the hospital. Technology like Blue-Dot navigation, which shows the user’s live location on the map, as well as accessibility options for voice navigation, give everyone the opportunity to navigate the facility without difficulty.

How Does It Help?

Effective and clear navigation will decrease the confusion and anxiety that often come with maneuvering large, complex hospital facilities. Patients will arrive at their appointments on time, thus reducing delays and improving overall efficiency. Adequate and user-friendly accessibility features guarantee that people with disabilities can maneuver the facility conveniently, hence promoting inclusivity and an elevated patient experience.

Indoor wayfinding systems can also boost hospital staff efficiency, allowing them to concentrate on their duties without having to assist lost patients and visitors. Hospitals can also analyze patient flow data derived from wayfinding solutions to pinpoint bottlenecks, which in turn allows them to make informed decisions for redesigning layouts and implementing strategies to reduce congestion.

3. Asset Tracking

Effective asset tracking is a critical factor for excellence in hospital services. Lost equipment or tools can cause delays in treatment, and increase costs and frustration for both employees and patients. Sophisticated real-time asset tracking systems guarantee that medical equipment is available whenever it is required.

Details

Asset tracking is a process of tracking medical equipment using technologies like RFID, GPS and internet of things in real time. Such systems provide precise data on the location of equipment, usage patterns and the maintenance schedules. Key features include real-time locating, inventory management and automated maintenance notifications.

How Does It Help?

Asset tracking systems prevent equipment loss, thereby saving hospitals a considerable amount of money every year. Through monitoring equipment in real time, hospitals are able to minimize these losses and resources can be distributed more efficiently. This ensures that equipment is available when it is needed, thus ensuring the quality of care provided to patients.

Effective asset tracking improves operational efficiency by easing inventory management and decreasing the amount of time people spend looking for equipment. For example, the asset tracking system can be used by a nurse who is in need of a particular device during a critical procedure, thereby making the search much faster and preventing any delay in patient care. 

4. Personalized Patient Experiences

Personalization is a very important aspect of service excellence in healthcare. To patients, it is important to feel understood and respected. Personalized care will elevate their experience tremendously. This entails personalizing services to meet the unique needs of a patient by means of customized treatment regimens and personalized communication.

Details

Personalized patient care involves customizing various healthcare aspects to meet the specific needs of each individual patient. It encompasses personalized communication such as appointment reminders and follow-up messages, as well as service plans designed for each patient’s history and preferences, which are based on patient feedback to improve services continuously. Technologies such as customer relationship management systems and patient portals play a key role in the provision of personalized care. On-site technology can also personalize experiences by using geofencing to trigger a welcome notification when a patient arrives at the facility. This notification can include a helpful link to their appointment location.

How Does It Help?

Customized experiences build trust and loyalty, making patients want to come back for future service. For example, a chronic disease patient may get regular calls and personalized health tips, which will help him feel supported. Individualized care plans that take into account patients’ unique requirements are more effective in improving health outcomes. Patients who feel understood and cared for adhere more to treatment plans and actively take part in their care.

Personalized communication (appointment reminders, follow-up messages, etc.) assures patients that they are cared for and appreciated. As an illustration, if a patient receives a reminder for a follow-up appointment with extra information about their treatment plan, it can help them to feel encouraged and valued. Commitment and compassion ensures service excellence by creating a strong mental link between the patient and the provider.

4. Integration of IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the healthcare industry by developing a smarter, more convenient environment. The IoT devices that can monitor patients’ vitals, track equipment and provide real-time data to healthcare providers contribute to the advancement of the quality of care.

Details

In healthcare, IoT implies the use of connected devices in order to gather and send data. Besides this, it includes patient monitoring devices that track vital signs in real-time, smart devices for inventory and asset management and environmental sensors that monitor conditions like temperature and humidity. IoT platforms collect and analyze this data, helping healthcare providers gain insights that enable informed decisions.

How Does It Help?

Real-time health monitoring of patients using IoT devices ensures quick action and proper management of chronic conditions. For example, a wearable device that monitors a patient’s heart rate can alert healthcare providers of irregularities. This efficiency can lead to immediate action and ultimately leads to better patient safety and health outcomes.

IoT automates mundane jobs like inventory and equipment maintenance, giving nurses more time to care for patients. Real-time information which IoT devices produce provides a great understanding of hospital workflow that helps reduce time and expenses. For example, sensors can track medical supplies, assuring that inventory levels are ideal at all times and decreasing waste.

On top of this, IoT makes patients more powerful by giving them access to real-time health information. Patients can monitor their own vitals, track their progress and become actively involved in their care. This, in turn, improves their health management, gives them independence and makes them take charge of their health. 

5. Telehealth Services 

Telehealth services have gained much attention as they provide patients with an opportunity to access healthcare conveniently. These services help to cut down the trips and to provide individualized treatment from a distance.

Details

Telehealth incorporates a broad spectrum of services. Such services include video and phone consultations, remote monitoring and online access to health data and information. Telehealth platforms enable healthcare professionals to hold virtual consultations using connected devices and provide patients with learning materials and support.

How Does It Help?

Telehealth allows patients who live in rural areas or have physical limitations to receive healthcare. For instance, an elderly woman in a rural area can meet her doctor via video call without having to travel. This makes healthcare affordable and patients are able to get the treatment they need without delay.

Telehealth greatly simplifies the process by allowing patients to receive medical care in the comfort of their own homes. The patients can book the online consultations, get information and receive follow-up care without any need for physical visits. This enables the avoidance of stress and saves time, ultimately leading to better patient satisfaction.

Also, it guarantees continuity of care through the provision of continuous monitoring and follow-up care. Remote monitoring devices, by tracking patient health in real-time, detect any abnormalities that need the attention of healthcare providers. This preemptive care improves the patient’s outcomes and affirms the healthcare’s extraordinary quality.

7. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

AI and ML change healthcare by automating simple tasks, analyzing big datasets and providing predictions. With these technologies, the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery have increased. 

Details

AI and ML in healthcare feature algorithms and models that are capable of analyzing data, predicting outcomes and automating tasks. It involves predicting patients’ needs through analytics, automation of administrative tasks like appointment scheduling and billing, as well as AI-powered tools for diagnostics and planning of treatment.

How Does It Help?

AI can foresee patients’ needs and outcomes through proactive care and early interventions. AI algorithms can examine patient data and identify those in danger of acquiring chronic conditions. Then, healthcare providers can implement preventive measures. This brings about better patient outcomes and at the same time reduces pressure on the healthcare system.

Routine procedures like appointment scheduling and billing can be automated so that staff can devote more time to patient care. AI-powered tools help to automate these processes and hence boost their efficiency and accuracy. 

AI-powered tools give precise and timely diagnoses that make a difference in patients’ care and outcomes. For instance, AI models can analyze medical images to identify anomalies, favoring early diagnosis and treatment. This improves the quality of care and shows how good healthcare services are.

Service Excellence Case Study

St. Clair Health is an independent state-of-the-art medical centre in southwestern Pennsylvania. It excels in effective healthcare delivery through its 329-bed facility, 600 physicians and 2,500 workers. Honoured as an accomplished member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, the facility has repeatedly proven its exceptional healthcare provision.

As part of their strategy to improve the patient experience and optimize operational efficiencies, the facility collaborated with location-based technology provider Mapsted to overcome the challenge of navigating its large, multi-level hospital and making it accessible to all patients. The hospital implemented Mapsted’s cutting-edge indoor wayfinding solution with clear directions and digital maps reachable via their website, mobile application and kiosks. The Blue-Dot indoor navigation system seamlessly leads visitors to any point in the building, thus decreasing stress and providing timely arrivals for appointments.

In addition, location- and behaviour-based messaging enables personalized communication with patients and visitors by sending specific messages, which increases engagement and satisfaction even more. Moreover, the technology’s real-time location analytics provide end-to-end business intelligence, helping the medical centre to grow and enhance its operations.

This innovation is just one example of St. Clair Health’s vision of service excellence in healthcare by creating a patient-oriented ambiance that builds more trust and loyalty among the patients. Their outstanding efforts were recognized in 2023, when the facility was awarded a Patient Safety Excellence Award™ and Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ from healthcare portal Healthgrades. St. Clair Health is one of only 83 hospitals to receive both honors, placing it among the top 2% of hospitals nationally.

Conclusion

Customer excellence in the healthcare industry requires a holistic approach that synergizes modern analytics, indoor navigation, asset tracking and other innovative trends. Through these core elements, healthcare providers have the opportunity to elevate the overall patient experience, develop trust and loyalty and increase operational efficiency. Customer service in hospitals is the cornerstone of this process, with all encounters being kind, understanding and individualized. As the healthcare industry keeps advancing, the adoption of these technologies and strategies will not be an option anymore but a necessity for the best hospital services and for high-quality care delivery to patients.

Ready to raise your hospital’s service excellence to the next level? Discover our wide range of location-based indoor navigation, asset tracking and personalized patient care now. Contact us to learn more about how our solutions can help you achieve peak healthcare excellence. If you found this blog engaging, discover more insights into the innovations transforming healthcare with our must-read piece on Ways to Improve the Patient Experience in Hospitals Using Smart Technology. Plus, don’t miss out on our enlightening video on how to Transform Patient Care and Healthcare Facility Efficiencies With Location-Based Technology – your next step in exploring cutting-edge solutions that redefine patient care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the concept of service excellence in the healthcare industry?

Ans. Healthcare service excellence is the concept of providing compassionate, swift and the best possible care that is required by every patient and satisfactory to him, resulting in the best possible patient experience.

Q2. How does the hospital’s customer service affect patients’ satisfaction levels?

Ans. Trusted and anxiety-reducing customer service in a hospital leads to patients who feel valued and served well, thus contributing to their overall experience and loyalty.

Q3. What part does the professionalism of in-patient services have in a patient’s treatment results?

Ans. Hospital service quality improves patients’ outcomes by encouraging constructive relations, timely interventions and individualized care, thus helping to achieve better diagnosis and treatment.

Q4. What could advanced analytics bring to the healthcare setting in terms of performance improvements?

Ans. High-end analytics assists healthcare providers in optimizing resource allocation, forecasting patients’ needs and offering personalized treatment plans. The consequence is improved efficiency at the operation level as well as better quality of care.

Q5. How is indoor wayfinding relevant to the outstanding quality of service in hospitals?

Ans. Indoor wayfinding reduces patients’ stress and frustration levels by indicating the right directions, aiding their smooth movement in large hospital complexes and allowing them to arrive on time for appointments.

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