Monday, June 21, 2010

The "D" Word

Disney World ! I said it. I am sure that someone in their infinite wisdom at your hospital administrative level has mentioned Disney World and their wonderful Customer Service successes. I am confident that most of you have heard the "D WORD" story or speech and it probably caused some frustration. Can you compare the wonderful world of Mickey Mouse to Emergency Medicine? The answer is simply NO! However, There is a valuable point I want to share with you.
Fred Lee,hospital administrator, left his job and worked at Disney to see how they handled customer service. What came of it was a book: If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently. You may have read it, someone in an upper management position at your facility definitely has. It is a very well written synopsis of Disney's strategies to achieve superior service. What can we learn from the Pixie Dust?
"THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE", your hospital probably describes its' Customer Service Initiatives this way.
Has anyone told you why?
In my opinion its is the most valuable concept to bring back to Healthcare. The Disney Concept created by Walt Disney.
As the story goes, Walt Disney was at an amusement park with his family and he was sickened by the broken down rides, bad food and well less say; less than trained ride attendants. I mean you get the idea right , the traveling carnival that shows up in your town once a year. It inspired Walt Disney to create an entire "Experience" when you entered his "world". Disney World is an entire experience of fun, from the moment you start driving to the park , the grass is greener ,the signs are bigger. I mean when you are in the parking lot , the music is playing, characters are jumping around; "whee this is fun!!!!" your in the parking lot for the love of GOD! He created an experience from the time you entered the park to the time you left. The person that took your ticket from the gate as you pulled in, to the last person that showed you where to leave----- he created an experience of Fun. Every employee added or subtracted from that experience. Walt, wasn't out there offering great customer service 24/7, his employees were and still are.

This concept is what I am asking you to embrace, it is no different in Healthcare but it is more important. Healthcare is an experience of HEALING. People are coming to your healthcare institution in a time of need . Do we offer the same Experience?
If you were a patient.... and from the moment you arrived at your hospital, sick and in need of healing and evey single person you came in contact was dedicated to achieving the greatest amount of pride and success in making you well again , how great would it be?

You may say its impossible, and where you work it may very well be -----why is it Impossible? because of the B Team Employees.

ACLS / Acute Customer Life Support

Welcome everyone to Acls-- ACUTE CUSTOMER LIFE SUPPORT
The pun is intended. I know that many of you have spent half their lives training in healthcare: ACLS, BLS and PALS to name a few. You have spent hours on clinical units improving your skills through practice. Take a look at your loans to see how much schooling you have been through.

Where is the customer service training? It is a part of healthcare isn't it?

Exactly, we received none, or maybe if you want to call the in hospital mandatory meeting that your patient representative department made you attend, or the "be nice or else" speech you have heard from your managers. Customer service in your hospital could be giving out newspapers and garbage like that. These things lead to one thing :FAILED CUSTOMER SERVICE INITIATIVES.
Please leave all you know about costumer service behind you. Free yourself from scripting and and the nonsense that your hospital has told you. What do they know about taking care of patients in an ED? Most of them have not seen a patient in 20 years. I will start to give you the tools you need to have great customer service skills and increase your job satisfaction.
I know you are saying, "I should have taken the "Blue Pill"

First: I must go into the "D" word before we continue.

Clinical Quality vs. Patient Satisfaction?

I know your thinking that clinical quality is all that should matter in healthcare. The most amazing thing is that you are right. Patients come to an Emergency Department with an understanding that you will make the right diagnosis. You go to bed every night thinking about your clinical decisions and work very hard on your clinical acumen to be a great health care professional. Your patients and Chairman expect that from you. Is it good enough to be average in healthcare? Average means some of the time you are making poor decisions which may cause injury to patients. Medicine is a constant strive for perfection, even though we can't obtain it, it is the goal of every healthcare institution.

Is this any different in other industries that pertain to life and death? When you get on an airline for your next medical conference and it is in Las Vegas, Do you expect to land in Idaho? You expect to arrive in Las Vegas, God forbid not on time; that competence is a given.
Would that airline ever get another consumer again if it couldn't deliver that?
On that same flight, what made you satisfied?
How you were treated?
Were you treated with respect?
Were your questions answered?
Were you made comfortable?
If you answered no to these questions,would you Recommend that airline to someone else?

There is no difference between Clinical Quality and Customer Quality anymore in healthcare. That boat sailed long ago, forget crying about it and let me teach you how to succeed in it.
Your CEO believes in it , your Chairman believes in it. Your job may depend on it.

Well at least I hope managers in your institution care , because really Customer Service makes your job easier.
If you work in a place that doesn't care about patient satisfaction than you are saying you don't care about :
Alignment of resources
Streamlined and proven Processes
Accountability of people.

Are you fighting all day with your patients?
If so.... keep reading

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Breaking Down the Matrix Part I in a series

Did you take the RED PILL?

Hello, I am so glad that you stopped to read a real blog to help Emergency Department Clinicians to deal with the the everyday life in a busy Emergency Department. Keeping your patients alive, making emergent medical decisions, LWOBE, CMS protocols, and every other parameter and data point your managers and hospital has asked you to do. But I left out the one that has caused the most trouble and controversy...WE HAVE TO BE NICE TO OUR PATIENTS TOO???--- Customer Service Initiatives.

I will show you that Good customer Service makes your Job easier. Yes , you read that right, It will make your job easier.

That is where the Matrix comes in.( I hope you all have seen it) besides being a great movie, it is very symbolic to what I am asking from all of you. The Matrix describes a future time where computers have trapped humanity and placed them in these little embryonic units where computers keep them alive to be used as an energy source. In order to facilitate this, computers generated a "MATRIX" , a false reality imprisoning human minds. During a pivotal part of the movie Neo, the character asked to lead the war to save humanity , was asked if he would wanted to break his reality by taking a red pill shattering all that he knows , all that he feels is real and correct.

Many of you feel that customer service is just one more step in an overused system. You feel that Clinical Qaulity is what matters. You feel that I can barely do what is need to do never mind cater to the needs of the patients. These are just a few of the countless sentiments I have read in these so called "Healthcare Blogs"

I am asking you to forget everything that you have heard or was taught about customer service in health care and take the red pill and "Free your Mind". I will show you a new reality of Increased job satisfaction and Customer service. Stay tuned.