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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Healthcare Customer Satisfaction: More Talk AND More Action



Healthcare Customer Satisfaction: More Talk AND More Action





Customer satisfaction (Voice of the customer) is a recurrent theme at this blog.  Usually I focus on developing a better satisfaction survey.  Sometimes I focus on my personal experiences with the apparent absence of interest by healthcare institutions who should know better.
Recently I have been busy speaking on the topic in a variety of settings, both national and international and I realized what probably is intuitively obvious to most of you. 

  1. Very large healthcare organizations often have a program of monitoring customer opinion, but it is common this is an intellectual exercise that does not really result in changes.
  2. The most common strategy for gathering customer opinion in most of these large healthcare organizations is that there is a counter somewhere with a neat pile of  four-by-six cards with “tell us what you think” in bold print.  Patients are invited to fill this in and put it in a box with a slot. 
  3. Most community based healthcare organizations say that monitoring opinions is something on their agenda, but at the moment it is not at the top of the pile; but we're going to get to it soon.
  4. Most smaller healthcare organizations say that monitoring opinions is not necessary because the place serves more as a community or family centre where everybody knows everybody else.  “We hear everything we need just by being here.
  5. Rare is the training centre that trains any healthcare professionals about what customer satisfaction means.  Rare is the trainee (or trained professional) that gets beyond “our customers are our patients” or “we don’t have customers.  We don’t make widgets; we treat patients.” 

I guess that was OK back in the 1950’s but none of that works today, at least if you are interested in improving healthcare, not just making a living from it.  

(Parenthetically I have previously commented that the greatest killer of quality in healthcare is having a constant flow of new patients, with no kudos or benefits for doing well, and no real consequences for doing poorly.  I still think that is true).

So after going through this “revelation” I decided that if I wasn’t trying to implement something better, then I was a part of the problem.  

So we are going to take a two prong approach.

  • We are putting on a conference/workshop on the subject and inviting students, residents, educator to participate.

  • We are introducing a module in our Certificate Course for Laboratory Quality Management that will introduce Customer Satisfaction / VoC as a key discussion point.

More on the workshop.

I have found a set of very impressive speakers who can talk with authority on the subject of monitoring healthcare customers, mainly from the perspective of the medical laboratory, but also from the broader perspective.  We have a speaker from ASQ speaking to the topic “Customer Satisfaction is THE Quality Imperative”.   We have a speaker talking to the topic “Customer satisfaction; what we have learned, and what are our opportunities for improvement”. 
This will be a great introduction and give a good foundation for discussion.
The conference will be in Vancouver BC on October 5, 2016 on the UBC campus.   Registration is very low, to no introduce a barrier to attendance.

For more information visit: 

At some point you have to decide: 
Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution






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