Some industries have been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic more than others. We’ve talked about hospitality and retail, markets where thousands of businesses worldwide are fighting for survival. But it’s not the only industry struggling through this time; healthcare during COVID-19 comes with unique challenges not experienced by any other market. In fact, even before this year, health and medical companies were under pressure. Changes in governments’ legislation, financial stresses, technology enhancements and shifting expectations have been forcing operators to look closely at the way their businesses are operated.
Just like the hospitality market, consumer satisfaction is increasingly affected by the wider ‘experience’, not just the standard of treatment received. Medical centres can be stressful places for patients; healthcare providers are under pressure to optimise the patient journey, ensuring patients feel supported from the moment an appointment is booked, to the moment they’re discharged.
Communication is key to achieving this in 2020. At what is a very confusing time, it is vital that all stakeholders feel they are aware and comfortable with processes and procedures in place. That means clear written and/or verbal communication prior to an appointment, followed by well managed operations on-site.
Patients may feel nervous in a medical setting, especially one where COVID-19 positive cases are present. Having confidence in their safety and in the professionalism of staff is absolutely essential. The question is, how can that confidence be secured?
The simplest way – beyond obvious hygiene practices and PPE – is by providing a smooth, unfaltering on-site customer experience. Digital appointment screens that alert patients when they’re ready to be seen, and which promote medical initiatives and status updates provide a level of transparency that can’t help but be appreciated. Whether it’s notifying people that there’s Wi-Fi present, or informing them that doctors/dentists/clinicians are running 20 minutes behind schedule – this simple, contactless technology prevents unnecessary movement around the waiting room, impatience or stress.
COVID-19 or not, medical experiences are often nerve-wracking. The use of discreet staff pagers provide an easy – and cost-effective – way to manage on-site operations. They allow for medical and admin staff to contact each other without unnecessarily concerning or alerting patients to the fact. Team members can request the attendance of a peer or senior at the touch of a button, and quick notifications can be sent without interrupting the appointment.
Many healthcare facilities are not able to welcome patients into waiting rooms at the moment due to health and safety reasons. Where this is the case, they’ve often been asking people to wait outside and a member of staff will collect them when they’re ready to be seen. This is problematic for a number of reasons. The weather – especially as we go into Winter – isn’t inviting or comfortable for people to stand out and wait in; no one wants to go to the dentist for a toothache and come away with sniffles and a chill. Additionally, some people aren’t physically able to stand for long periods.
A simple solution is the use of a guest pager. The patient can be handed a pager upon arrival and can then return to wait comfortably in their car – or elsewhere close by. Once ready to be seen, the facility can recall the patient through a simple, vibrating and flashing pager. It’s a simple solution which makes social distancing easy and helps patients choose how and where they wait – making the experience as relaxing as possible.
With the right technology in use, patients can be confident in the knowledge that appointments will run smoothly, staff can be contacted as and when required and their safety is a priority. Click here to see some of the solutions Theravada provides the healthcare industry.