Monday, August 25, 2014

High Tech Creates Patient Inconvenience

high tech in medical officeA few weeks ago I had the misfortune of walking on a sidewalk and having a car jump the curb and hit me from behind. Fortunately, it was in a parking lot and the car was not traveling very fast and it was a knock down rather than a flight!

My wife drove me to a 24 hour free standing emergency room (affiliated with a local hospital – important later), the cost of the ambulance was vey high and I was not hurt that badly. The experience there was fine, seen timely, X-rays, staff handled paperwork and my personal needs very well. I am critical of these types of things, as you will see in other posts. Nothing broken so discharged home to rest.

My main concern was the pain in my right leg and what this might mean since about seven months prior I had a hip replacement and two years earlier a knee replacement on the same leg. So after the visit, we decided to see the orthopedic surgeon who had performed the procedures just to make sure. Called the office and the next available appointment was in three weeks. I explained the situation again and was told that the appointment staff would check with the doctor and get back later that day if a work in option was available. They actually called back as promised (not always what happens with other physician office experiences) and an appointment was available in a couple days.

I explained that we had listed the orthopedic doctor as primary because he would then have direct on line access to the X-rays. Apparently only one provider, either the PCP or a specialist may have access but not two in this system! When I told the doctors office appointment team that X-rays were accessible on line they asked that I still locate a CD and bring along since access to the hospital electronic record system was not always available.

So instead of this great patient communication system of combined, accessible patient information the patient is asked to call, find out how to get a CD, get the CD, and bring along to the appointment.

Key points:
  • Understand what you are asking patients to do, how convenient or inconvenient the circumstances are.
  • Work with your hospital or referral sources to insure that the electronic exchange systems work.
  • Provide access to key data through your patient portals.

The VOC and how your relationship works throughout is critical to maintaining your relationship with your customer!

photo credit: via photopin cc

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