Academic medical centers in Boston are starting to adopt customer service methods from the hospitality industry. Now, patients can expect to see smiling staff, have their phone calls answered, and even to know the names of the doctors and nurses treating them! The new push is a response to competitive pressures, consumers taking a more active role in their health care, and Medicare’s intention to require customer satisfaction surveys by 2007.
There’s still a tendency for providers to talk about “patient experience” rather than “customer satisfaction” –a bit like utility companies calling their customers ratepayers. But things do seem to be getting better. It’s about time.
See Lessons in Hospital Courtesy in the Boston Globe.December 28, 2005