Can you and your team design an experience your patients actually-want to have?

  • Posted on: Jan 14 2019
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Tom Peters, a Harvard business guru states, “Customers perceive service in their own unique, idiosyncratic, emotional and irrational terms. Perception is all there is.”

We understand, when patients evaluate a product or service, they weigh its perceived value against the price. What consumers truly value can be difficult to pin down and psychologically complicated. Potential Plastic Surgery patients are sophisticated, technologically savvy and particular. They expect innovative, well designed, state of the art custom services and products.

Organizing Teamwork for Operational Effectiveness
We have found in our clinic that we must practice agile teamwork. Mark and I work to provide our employees with the essential direction that is not stifling to their performance. Physicians and Practice Managers must give their team a clear sense of the Practice’s purpose, priorities and principles. Provide a coherent framework that helps employees develop a deeper understanding, which can boost employee performance. Equip them with a framework to be able to make autonomous decisions that are in the Practice’s best interest, including engagement, quality, creativity and customer service.

To do this you must hire disciplined individuals who are team oriented. You need to trust that your employees have the Practice’s best interests at heart. Agile team members need to think constructively and act independently, exercising choice and voice in daily operations. But leaders must be able and willing to get rid of personnel who are not capable or trustworthy.

Rules that Govern Best Practices
It is the role of the Practice Manager to holistically think about patient’s “value elements” such as safety, caring, delivery, costs and performance improvements. Here are questions and answers to help.

1. How people carry out their jobs? All work is highly specified in its content, sequence, timing and outcome. Create a well-defined sequence of steps for a specific job. This enables staff to see and address deviations immediately. Encourage continual learning and improvement.

2. How do team members interact with each other? Develop systems that help agile performance. TPS (Toyota Production System)
– Method and Service Mapping:
– Lean Management
– Data collection
– Brainstorming goals
– Intervention
– Impact analysis
– Service Mapping allows the entire team to understand all the different encounters throughout the patient’s Cycle of Care.
– Settings Standards of Care for evidence-based outcomes.

3. How do services and products flow? Every Service and Product flows along a simple, specified path.
– Goods and services don’t flow to the next available person, but to a specific person.
– Job sharing, “stand up” meetings, reviewing progress and identifying road blocks, alleviates downtime and poor patient care.
– Scheduling work for each employee is critical.

4. How do people identify, address and process problems? Any improvement to process or flow path must be made by “scientific process”.
– Frontline workers make improvements to their own jobs.
– Agile teams resolve disagreements/ problems through experimentation.
– Physician and team provide direction and assistance as teachers.
– Service Failure Recovery

The power to make each patient’s experience “magical” is in your hands

Patients expect you to get it right! Customers don’t know how things get done. They do not have the technical expertise to judge their outcomes. Their attitude and focus centers upon their own expectations. What they can judge is the service you give them.

Service Touchpoints are moments that you and your staff are listening and being responsive to The Patient. Always focus on listening to what your patients are saying. The team needs to create a feeling of inclusion. Spend time educating your patient so you can include them in developing the surgical plan, participating in their post-op care and avoiding the risks of surgery. Remember when patients participate in their care, they are less fearful and happier; and happy patients refer their friends and family.

Troubleshooting Service Failure needs to be a priority for the entire staff. At our clinic, we label any customer who complains as a “Valuable Consultant”. Each employee must demonstrate: responsiveness, empathy, and assurance at the patient’s fail-point. We implement the Walt Disney Method of Service Recovery:
– Acknowledging
– Apologizing
– Amending

Remember the dangers of detractors.

Your patients are smart, internet-educated, and at times demanding. Build a team that is effective in delivering patient satisfaction. Design efficient algorithms of care which clearly define the art of customer service. Establish professional expertise. Determine if patients have realistic expectations; and if they do not, try to reeducate them or do not do their surgery. Listen to complaints & act wisely. Finally, survey your patients to provide staff feedback. This helps you see just how well you are doing in designing the experience your patients actually-want to have.

– Mary Jewell, Practice Manager

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