Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Technology vs. Team Work in the Medical Practice

Team Work in the Medical Practice
Team Work in the Medical Practice
A recent article published by the consulting firm McKenzie got me thinking. The premise made a very simple but profound point. A patient who experienced a doctor visit or hospitalization 20 years ago and then came back today would be amazed at the technological advances for their care. But they would still have to wait, be treated exactly as they remember as a patient.

Technology is great and we have adjusted, changed with the times to incorporate many wonderful tools. We have become more efficient (EMR discussions aside!) with diagnosis, results, and the use of technology.

Have we changed how we manage the patient experience? Sure we have nicer reception areas, we have kiosks to register and update information, we have coffee, the entertainment options while waiting are great. Does this meet the customer expectations or needs or are they basically treated on a personal basis the same way. They enter, sign in, are told to wait, and eventually are called to the triage area, wait again in the exam room and get the prescription, check out and go home. All in the same amount of time that it took 20 years ago. No wait – it takes longer now since we have to use the EMR!

My goal in posting this is to have you realistically ask the question how do we treat patients?

Put a team together, call is a patient experience and transition team. First assignment is for each member to relate a recent experience with another business – could be a doctor’s office, a trip to the grocery store or whatever. Think about it from what they remember from years ago to today. What changed and was that change for the better? Has their experience improved? Was it more efficient? Was it more pleasant? What was the measurement? It is possible to learn from others what you could do better!

Once the team shares their observations, what if anything can be done to improve the patient experience. Take those ideas and develop a transition plan.

After three months of this team observing and making improvements, thank them for their assistance and create a new team. Ask them to follow the same pattern. The ideas for improvement will come, employees will be recognized, and all will be more enthused about making some positive improvements because they were involved, their opinions mattered.

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