Yesterday I was forced to interact with the healthcare industry. Luckily I wasn’t the patient but being an interested party, I got to observe how patients are treated. I must admit that it was an interesting, although frustrating experience. There was a distinct lack of interest throughout the process. In an industry that is supposed to be about sympathy, none seemed to be present, except for the porter that happily wheeled the bed around from the x-ray department to the casualty ward. He was engaging and friendly.
Not only was there a general lack of interest, but the processes and procedures were laborious and wasteful. I had to fill out 2 different forms that asked for basically the same details, except for a few minor differences. One was for the hospital admittance while the other was for the ER doctors providing the healthcare. The question most people ask is “why the duplicate forms?” , but after working in large enterprises for so long I already know the answer. The hospital system and the system used by the ER doctors are separate. They don’t share information, so the same patient information needs to be entered twice – once into the hospital system and again into the doctors system. The perceived logical solution to this problem is for the patient to fill out their information twice on 2 separate pieces of paper. But this isn’t customer-centric at all. The patient is already in pain and this simply adds to it. A better solution would be to have a single form for the patient to fill out. This form could then either be used by the relevant admin people one after the other to input the information into the 2 systems, or a copy could be made if a paper version is needed for filing by both groups.
Too often the solutions we come up with are thought up only from the perspective of the business and not the customer. We push our problems onto our customers. We get stuck in our world with our processes and procedures and we forget to ask our customers for feedback. But it’s time to start caring. If you don’t, others are waiting to take your customers away from you.