Hospitals are in losses these days as they are all running after the same patient in the same manner. In future, only those hospitals which are different will be able to compete and survive. Only patient focused services will determine the success of a hospital. Shiny floors with air-conditioner and smiling staff will not be able to fool patients for long.
It’s your hospital, and you can make it unique in many different ways to have a long term view. The patient can also build a healthy relationship with the family for various stages of life treatments; right from delivery till the end of life.
Have a long term view
A hospital cannot build trust and faith overnight.Hospitals must make efforts to have a long term view as under:
1. In the market, hospitals which require 1-2 days admission, if you can do those surgeries at your hospital. As a day care procedure because of the technology available today, patients will rush to you as it saves them time; money, infection rate and is a big convenience. Patients want to go back home asap on their bed and not the hospital bed. Moreover, cashless media claim insurance companies will refer such patients to you as it saves them money to reimburse. Adds to their bottom line. Your business will grow while others struggle.
2. Provide pre-surgery & post-surgery services at nominal pricing. Provide one-stop solution & even follow up medications to at home at the right time. Attendants should be aware on what to do. Currently, patients get lab test elsewhere, ambulance else where, attendants stay in hotels/ relatives places, physiotherapy and post-op services elsewhere and buying medicines elsewhere.
The reason is either hospitals do not have these services, or they are so expensive that the patient goes out. Once your patient goes out of your hospital, have lost the patient for sure as so many others in the market are waiting to tap him.If hospitals can provide complete one-stop services from pick and drop under one roof at reasonable pricing, hospital income grows. If others in the market can provide better pricing the same level of quality services, why can’t we match that? Why let our patients go outside?
3. Since most of the hospitals have empanelments, patients want convenience once they show up at the hospital with their card. It is for the hospital to get approvals/ clarifications/ stamping documents from empanelled organizations. And the patient is the last man who needs to run around various places in the city/ cities to get this done. Imagine the hospital coordinator is getting things verified and approved for the patient on showing up the empanelled card. He can rest in the lounge and pray for his early recovery than worry about documentation follow-ups
4. Launch services which are not available within few km and thus no competition. Patients/ attendants want convenience and not getting unwanted suffering beyond what is happening already with them. For example, dialysis in town instead of going 50 kilometers/week for so many yrs or a catheter lab nearby or ICU facilities nearby. It will make your hospital the first point of contact for emergencies. And that is the time patients are willing to pay any price as they need instant and nearest hospital services.
5. Lab reports/ followups at phone/ email/ Whatsapp without the patient running around. It’s so difficult to take out a patient from their bed to hospital for a diagnostic test.Then again go to collect the report and then to show the doctor for review and follow-up. Think like a patient. Will you like to go through this pain or you will pay if things happen at your home until a visit to the hospital is a must?
6. Give variable pricing for rooms/ surgery like airlines/ restaurants happy hours. The patients should be allowed to decide when they should be treated.
7. Complete update with clarity in writing to patients/ attendants about the line of treatment, procedure, followups, cost in a transparent manner. No unwanted surprises on seeing bills at the end as he has already suffered enough and does not wish to be cheated/ exploited.
8. Online check in for surgeries instead of wasting hours on that day waiting for documentation to happen for surgeries. If airlines/ hotels can do all this before the passenger reaches the airport/hotel, why can’t hospitals do so? This saves many hrs of just showing up early in the hospital, arguing with staff and fearing about his surgery?
9. Discharge within 15 minutes when the doctor says that now they can go home. Save from waiting for half a day to get bills to pay and to collect the discharge summary.
10. A follow-up call with the patient/ attendant the next day will remove so many doubts/ problems for the patient. This earns tremendous goodwill for your hospital.
Think & feel like a patient and his attendant undergoing this difficult phase of life and how you would like to treat in the hospital. Once you do so, the sky is the limit for growth of your hospital forever.