Patient Value: The key to success
We are currently living in the age of consumerism. While other industries have well trodden on this path, healthcare is still evolving in concepts that can be beneficial to the patients, partners and the organisation. With consumerism slowly seeping into healthcare, patient service, patient satisfaction, and patient loyalty becomes the North Star for organisations to centre their business strategies. This panel discussion centred around how hospitals today need to translate their organisational values and skills into patient satisfaction and patient loyalty.
The panelists were Joy Chakraborty, COO, PD Hinduja Hospital, Dr Harish Pillai, CEO, Aster Hospitals and Clinics (India), Gaurav Loria, Group Chief Quality Officer and Head Administration, Apollo Hospitals; Dr Subhrojyoti Bhowmick, Clinical Director, Academics, Quality and Research Depts, Peerless Hospital; Dr Ujjwal Rao, Senior Clinical Specialist, Elsevier and Dr Priti Nanda, Co-Founder and CEO, AB hospitals and Mediskool health services. Experts on this panel outlined ways and means which hospitals can adopt to understand the create patient value and sensuring business success.
The discussion began with Chakraborty pointing out that every provider in India with or without Ayushman Bharat scheme has been trying to provide the maximum value to their patients since a very long time. “However, the issue is that very often we are not very clear on what this value is all about, how do you measure this value and whether what we perceive as value delivery is considered as value by patients,” he stated. He also pointed out that measuring value in healthcare is a difficult task, but quoted the words of Micheal Potter, who in his book, Redefining Healthcare writes that value is the outcome achieved against per dollar spent by the patient. He then urged hospitals that it is important to follow this principal in order to measure value.
Chakraborty then set the tone for discussion by asking panellists to share their comprehension of value for patients and how do they meet the needs of the patients at their hospitals. Loria highlighted that the biggest challenge in delivery of patient value are process inefficiencies and communication inefficiencies. He said, “Patients sometimes come across inefficiencies in processes right from the time they enter the hospital. Therefore, it is important for hospitals to study their processes, correct the inefficiencies, set targets for improvements and adopt best practices. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. A lot has already been done in these areas, we only need to look for efficient models, strategies and practices and replicate them in our organisations.”
According to the National Healthcare Services, patient communication and cost play a key role in delivering value. Chakraborty elaborated on this important element too. Further, Dr Bhowmick spoke about the effectiveness of patient reporting and outcome tracking mechanisms. Explaining further on the same, Dr Bhowmick pointed out that the National Health Institute in the US has come out with a patient reporting and outcomes questionnaire that judges the physical, mental and social well-being of patients. India too needs to have similar methods for patient reporting, he urged.
Dr Pillai spoke about how organisations need to align their human resources in a way that can positively impact the patient value chain. “To run a successful organisation, you need a formal structure of hierarchy but it is the informal structure of relationship within an organisation that will give you the X factor and this is sustainable for the long term. An empowered team is one of the key components to ensure better patient experiences,” he shared.
Dr Nanda shared insights on how organisations can train and empower employees in providing value-based healthcare to patients. “Compassionate communication, patient information and pain management as well as response of the patients, are crucial elements that employees need to be trained in,” she said.
The discussion then went on to deliberate on the role of technology in enhancing patient value. “Ethics, equity and empathy are the core principals for patient care. If technology takes away the heavy lifting of patient information and deburden doctors and nurses, hospitals can then focus on these core principals to deliver value to patients,” added Dr Rao. The discussion further triggered some questions on which technologies can help in getting rid of inefficiencies and how hospitals can create platforms that enhance patient experiences.
- Ethics, equity and empathy are the core principles of medicine and are the most impactful ways to earn patient value
- Inefficiencies in processes can cause huge disappointment in patients’ treatment experience. It is important to rework our strategies and processes, look for inefficiencies in all departments and ensure that these issues are mitigated.
- Patient input matters. Increase communication between patients and healthcare providers. Use patient-reported outcomes to provide better patient experience
- To improve patient experience, it is important to improve employee experience and create an empowered team. Leadership among employees will help maintain high quality standards and ensure patient satisfaction
- Patient value is primary, but happy employees are vital to smooth running of any hospital. Many believe that investing in staff training is not cost effective, but that is a wrong assumption. Not training your staff can actually burden your finances.