This post is sponsored by PEL, LLC.
As the health care industry continues to evolve, patients are looking for more time with their providers, better service and greater transparency. This pressure means that practitioners must find ways to improve their customers’ experiences.
In this post, we talk with PEL CEO Mike Sotak about how the industry is changing and how companies can help practitioners provide better service.
What are the major barriers to providing a positive patient experience in clinical care?
Uncertainty of being reimbursed and regulatory compliance are the most significant barriers. Practitioners spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with reimbursement paperwork and explanations of individual patient treatment to insurance providers. It is frustrating to practitioners that these government and insurance regulations and policies keep them from spending more time with their patients. In essence, these barriers are diluting the quality of care and meaningful experiences that practitioners would like to provide to patients.
How have patient expectations about service changed over the last few years?
Patients are requesting more of a voice in their treatment. Information is readily available about some treatment options so patients may question the recommendations of their health care providers. Prior generations were more likely to accept recommendations offered by their practitioners. Today, requests for second opinions are more frequent. When practitioners are able to spend more time with patients, research shows patients have greater trust in their advice, they are more compliant with instructions, and better outcomes are achieved.
How does the patient experience factor into creating value in health care today and how has that evolved?
Patient expectations are higher, partly because large hospital groups and HMOs are raising the bar for service, convenience and speed. Patients are now becoming the center of care, and there is a greater focus on delivering better care at every juncture along the continuum of care. It is not unusual to survey patients about their experiences along the way. Online ratings also offer unprecedented transparency for patients to evaluate the experiences others have received from practitioners. This transparency and drive for referrals places greater pressure on practitioners to improve the speed of service, quality of care and quality of outcomes for each patient. The quality of patient satisfaction ultimately affects referrals and the economic outcomes of practices.
What advantages do companies gain from helping their customers provide a better patient experience?
Companies that help practitioners save time by eliminating barriers to time spent caring for patients ultimately form stronger relationships with the practitioners they serve. It is good for everyone when a company’s products, services or processes help practitioners spend more of their time on the needs of patients.
How can companies such as PEL help O&P practitioners provide better experiences?
PEL and other service providers need to anticipate the needs of patients and work to align service levels for practitioners to better meet or exceed patient and referral source expectations. Service alignment is an ongoing focus at PEL because patient needs are constantly changing. Key measures of performance at PEL are response time and service levels. We are constantly working to improve these critical areas of practitioner support. The easier we can make finding a product on our website or the faster we can respond to a practitioner question, the more we are contributing to a better patient experience.
Mike Sotak is the president and CEO of PEL, LLC. He has more than 22 years of experience in the medical products industry. Prior to joining PEL, he spent six years as an executive with Invacare.