South Florida Hospital News
Thursday January 23, 2020
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January 2020 - Volume 16 - Issue 7

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Improving Patient Experience to Transform your Health System

In years past, it was sufficient for healthcare systems to provide good care—treat the patient and send them home. Today, however, that is not enough. For hospitals to be successful and to retain patients, they need to prioritize the patient experience. This ultimately leads to better outcomes and improved patient satisfaction which culminates in more patients and increased revenue. Patient experience is the totality of the experience from the moment they search for a provider, receive a referral, or set foot in your facility. 

Patient experience is unlike customer service in other industries, notes Murray Izenwasser, VP Consulting and Healthcare Practice Lead for OZ, a leading global consulting company whose services and solutions enhance Customer Experience through digital innovation.
 
“When your patient first begins to engage with your healthcare system, such as an ER visit, you want to make it as good an experience as you can,” says Izenwasser. “The difference in the healthcare industry, compared to other industries, is that you're not just trying to get patients to have a great experience. Your goal is to eliminate the friction to getting someone the healthcare that they need to get back to the status quo of their lives.”
 
There are several variables that factor into providing a positive patient experience, from clinical, operational, and behavioral. For example, creating great patient experiences may require better integration of your back end systems such as streamlining admissions, referrals, or transfers of care. It might be allowing your support staff to be more proactive to support patients.
 
No matter the variables, OZ works with healthcare systems to help make patient care more personalized, simple, and efficient. The company helps hospitals squeeze optimal value out of their budgets to drive patient experiences, so they can continue delivering the best patient experiences.
 
“To create a great patient experience, you have to integrate all of your systems and become more proactive,” says Izenwasser.
 
How often have you seen a tweet or Facebook post from a patient complaining about waiting a long time to be seen by a physician in a hospital ER? Some systems hire agencies to monitor negative feedback, or they have a dedicated person on staff managing this.
 
It’s not unheard of to see a negative tweet about an ER visit in the middle of the night. What happens next is that the person from the agency monitoring the social media feed has to make a decision whether the comment was something critical enough to call their hospital contact and wake them up in the middle of the night. That person then would have to decide whether this comment was bad enough to call someone on call at the hospital to alert them that this is happening?
 
“That person would then have to go and try and find this person in the ER waiting room and talk to them,” says Izenwasser.
 
Instead of being reactive like this, hospitals have to become more proactive, Izenwasser says. What if they had a system in place that allowed them to know:
• When did the patient come in?
• Where are they in their visit?
• Where are they supposed to go to next?
• How much time is it taking?
• What are they waiting for?
 
“You can have a system alert automatically notify you that this patient has been waiting in the emergency department over a specific threshold,” he says. “With a proactive system in place, you go out and talk to them before it becomes a negative experience.”
 
At every stage along the patient journey, OZ can help hospitals create something that truly integrates to the business of doing healthcare while creating a great experience for that patient, physician or employee. Its longevity in the field has been one of the keys to the company’s success.
 
“Our focus for the past 22 years has been a core of integrating data and the bulk of the work that we've done has been in healthcare over those years,” says Izenwasser. “We understand how to do that kind of integration to most of the different internal and external systems as well as all of the gateways that healthcare staff navigate while serving and working with patients, such as the approval gateways or pharmacy gateways.”
 
Ultimately, what makes a great patient experience for OZ is where the processes, procedures and administration of modern day healthcare do not get in the way of getting the patient back to the status quo of their lives, adds Izenwasser.

For more information, visit www.followoz.com.

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