Physicians

PHYSICIANS/HOPSITALS/INDUSTRY: Customer service: are new market entrants showing the way?

Interesting piece from a marketing consultant called Chris Bevolo from boutique firm GeigerBevolo Inc., in Minneapolis. The report looks at new entrants into health care services and responses to improve the patient experience at Mayo and Park Nicollet.

The new entrants profiled are Steve Case’s Revolution Health, Best Buy’s eq Life ( a pharmacy with manicures while you wait), and MinuteClinics (nurse practitioners in shopping malls). The choice of Revolution Health is a little off, and its attempts (as well as the track record of its advisory board)  has been well slagged off on TCHB and by Joe Paduda before. But the other two are well worthy of a look.

And the message seems to be a) provide shopping while people are waiting to see the doctor as Americans like shopping, and b) do it in Minnesota, because those Minnesotans like innovation. I actually think that Chris has missed a third option which is edutainment while patients are waiting.  But I’ll have more to say about that when I finally get around to discussing Phreesia’s in-office tablet entertainment/patient history service again.

But while I’m more than half-joking, I am full serious. The level of customer service in health care remains abysmal, and whether or not the market forces plans and providers to do something about it sooner rather than later, it surely can’t hurt for them to get out ahead of this trend.

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Service1med studentTrapier K. Michael Recent comment authors
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Service1
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The AMA just approved healthcare mystery shopping. The leaders will adopt the practice and pull away on service excellence.

med student
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med student

If health care was a pure free market, then you’d see improved customer service.
As it stands though, health care is not a free market so customer service is not rewarded.
No universal system either in Canada or europe, or anywhere in the world, has what anybody would call “good” customer service. Its the nature of the beast.

Trapier K. Michael
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A Health Affairs piece touched on this issue in the Jan/Feb issue, but it says market competition will push customer service the opposite way. I don’t believe it though. [1]
“Health Affairs gets it wrong,” Hayek, MD, 6 March 2006,
http://marketplace.md/community/blogs/hayekmd/archive/2006/03/06/1183.aspx