Hospital Customer Service Programs taking off …

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

hospital customer service thumbs up 150x150Hospital Customer Service … a disappearing Oxymoron.

Hospital Customer Service is getting more and more attention these days and that is a very good thing for patients.

It was not very long ago that the worst customer service experiences in the world were any time you came into contact with the healthcare system.

Serving your patients a quality experience did not compute within the business plan of the average medical group and or hospital system.

Provider networks eliminated competition for patients on the basis of the quality of their experience. Better service did not mean more pay for the provider … so there was no financial reason to offer quality. Patients were locked into visiting only preferred providers anyway … most really had no option but to put up with shlock.

You got MUCH better service at McDonalds … even on the best day at the doctor or ER.

Fast Forward to 2012
and enter a whole new emerging world of Hospital Customer Service

A new and more competitive healthcare environment, the ongoing wave of practice consolidation and the onset of payments based in part on quality as assessed BY THE PATIENT are forcing a wave of innovation in getting and keeping loyal patients for many hospital systems. We are witnessing the end of an Oxymoron and the emergence of the concept of “hospital customer service”.

Enter the “VIP Patient Loyalty Program”

For instance, Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., in 2010 began a hospital customer service program issuing free VIP cards, which entitle holders to free parking, a 10 percent discount on nonprescription drugs at the outpatient pharmacy and the gift shop, restaurant discounts, service establishments such as an oil-change garage and financial perks for health seminars. Even more, VIP members get a free one-year membership to a program for people 50 and older for organized outings, including a trip to a Canadian casino,

Here’s a hospital customer service article from the Washington Post all about this new trend in courting patients with Hospital Customer Service programs. This trend will continue and intensify in the months and years to come as the underlying forces driving the pursuit of loyal patients intensify.

  • What are your thoughts on this trend in Hospital Customer Service?
  • Good thing, bad thing?
  • And what role do you see the doctors playing in these programs? Does it increase the doctor’s satisfaction or effectiveness when a patient is a VIP?

Please leave a comment below.