The Patient as Customer

By viewing patients as customers, hospitals can come up with and implement services that will keep patients satisfied and engender loyalty.

In order for hospitals to continue providing patients with the sort of treatment they are expecting, hospitals and physicians need to start viewing patients as customers, according to Accenture. In fact, it’s because hospitals have come so far in improving the level of care and the quality of a patient’s experience that patients have raised the bar and are expecting even more.

Instead of only focusing on improving medical care, hospitals need to engender loyalty by offering services that “deliver a unique and differentiating experience,” according to the article. Providing health information via podcasts, webinars and other web-based multimedia education programs for patients will engage them and “reduce the number of calls patients make asking routine questions.” These programs can enhance the relationship between the patient and the physician, which will increase loyalty.

Hospitals should also look to programs and services that will help patients keep up with their health. Follow-ups can be improved so that ongoing care continues the way it should. Accenture also recommends a concierge team “to ensure patients receive onsite assistance.”

A satisfied customer is more tuned into what his or her health care provider says, and as a result is “more likely to make follow-up appointments, take prescribed drugs and keep up with recommended screenings.”

These extra services will translate not only to more satisfied and loyal customers, but to lower costs. These programs allow customers to use online resources before calling a customer representative. They also do something health care professionals are looking to improve: patients now work to prevent illness rather than seek treatment after. This approach to medicine decreases the costs.