Healthcare is focused around one primary customer: the patient. But in reality, there are many moving pieces to consider, from physicians and administrators to technology and financing. So, in a world where the customer is increasingly important, administrators need to ensure they are running a patient-focused practice. And this is fundamental to how Ram Chettri does his job.
As Program Administrator for the Heart and Vascular Care program at Goshen Health, Chettri places a great deal importance on caring for patients. He knows how to build, launch, and evolve services lines that are centered around patient satisfaction. Below, he shares his insight on the importance of customer service in cardiovascular care and how to ensure a service line keeps focus on the patient.
Maintain a Shared Vision
When focusing a service line around patient satisfaction, the first key ingredient is aligning to a shared vision. Getting the entire service line on the same page is vital. In Chettri’s words, in order to implement changes for patient satisfaction, “we have to make sure that every single person in the office is equally informed and equally prepared to implement.”
Whether it’s a patient service representative, a scheduler, or a medical assistant, the entire team must be up-to-date. They need to have a fundamental understanding of what changes are happening and why they’re important. This ensures the team is fully bought in and that any proposed changes are successful.
To ensure alignment, Chettri shares monthly information with everyone involved. He keeps his team informed on what is being done to improve patient satisfaction. He also solicits feedback to learn about what is and isn’t working. This means Chettri isn’t the only one strategizing next steps – the whole crew has input. As a result, team members feel like their opinions and experiences matter. This ensures greater buy-in, greater engagement and greater success.
"...we have to make sure that every single person in the office is equally informed and equally prepared to implement."
Motivation is Key
According to Chettri, another key factor is motivation. To be successful in elevating patient satisfaction, the goals of employees and the organization need to be the same.
“We can have the most advanced degrees in medicine or in business administration,” says Chettri, “but our motivations… must be aligned with the mission and values of the organization. We have to care about what we do, why we choose to be in the professions we are.” Technical skill, academic preparation and accolades ultimately don’t make a difference if providers don’t care about the work they do. And in this case, the work revolves around wellness and restoring the wellness of the patient.
"We can have the most advanced degrees in medicine or in business administration... but our motivations... must be aligned with the mission and values of the organization."
Know How You're Doing
Another key tenet of Chettri’s strategy is focused around data. His team has developed a reputation for leveraging data to effectively measure patient satisfaction , and the first step starts with asking the right questions.
For instance, in the outpatient office, Chettri might ask questions related to patient access:
- How easy is it for patients to call and get questions answered?
- How quickly does the clinic get back to patients to talk about results and outcomes?
- How nice was the clinic with patients and families over the phone or in person when they come to visit?
- How efficient is the movement of the patient from the time they park their car to the time they leave the facility?
- How informed, how pleasant, how engaged, how inclusive are the providers?
All of these elements are layered into a patient’s experience. Whether a patient encounters a clinical or nonclinical professional, and no matter the medium, their experience is measured and then reported out to the rest of the team. For more of Chettri’s insight on this subject, look to his tips for improving patient satisfaction.
A Constant Evolution
"Even as we put these new models or paradigms in place, we have to constantly look at what's next."
Chettri is always looking for innovations, new platforms and new technologies that complement what the team is already doing to advance patient satisfaction even further. This means the practice has to evolve alongside patients. For instance, as tech-savvy generations get older, they increasingly become customers of the service line. They expect information to be delivered in different ways and at a different speed than boomers do, and the service line needs to account for this.
The idea of never being finished could be daunting. For Chettri, however, it seems to be a source of inspiration. “It’s not just meeting expectations of patients, but consistently exceeding their expectations all the time,” he says. His relentless focus to improve patient satisfaction results in new principles and ideas that are patient-centered to the extent where patients are amazed by their experience – and he’s got the data to prove it.