Defining The Scope Of Customer Service In The Healthcare Field
The concept of customer service in healthcare was not actually prevalent till the Affordable Healthcare Act 2013 introduced a new definition of healthcare service, requiring patients to evaluate the standard of healthcare services on the basis of parameters, such as communication with doctors and nurses about diagnosis, treatment, and medicines, and the responsiveness of the hospital staff, as part of its Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. This has encouraged the healthcare industry to focus on achieving high levels of customer service and according to a survey, 36 percent of participants that mainly comprised of doctors, nurses, and senior management employees revealed that they considered the improvement of HCAHPS scores as a primary goal for improving patient experience.
But how does ‘customer service’ get defined in the healthcare field? Well, customer service has the same meaning as in other fields and it is basically defined by two major parameters – responsiveness and communication. While it may appear that these are the basic factors that create the foundation of customer service in the healthcare field, but you will be surprised to know that hospitals often ignore these needs while denying patients their rights to get quality care.
Being diagnosed with a medical condition and getting admitted to a hospital can pose as a really scary experience for the patients. Being surrounded by strangers and having doctors and nurses visiting frequently to administer medications and conduct tests, patients definitely do not feel good about their experiences in the hospital. However, if healthcare providers make it a point to convey to their patients what they can expect at different stages on a day-to-day basis, they can make lives easier for them. With patients being customers who pay for the services that they avail, they have the right to be informed about everything.
Whether a healthcare facility has 50 beds or it has the capacity to handle 500 patients, it is the right of every patient to be treated as the only patient who deserves all the attention. This translates into the fact that doctors and nurses should give proper attention to address the unique needs of every patient and take considerable time in identifying the best course of treatment for them. Unfortunately, patients are still unware of their right to receive superior quality of customer service and they believe that they should not weigh the customer service standard in the healthcare field in the same scale as the standards in other industries. Patients should know that it is their right to demand quality customer service from the healthcare providers and the healthcare providers should know that it is their legal, ethical, and moral obligation to serve their patients with the highest standard of medical care.