What We’re Reading – Top 10 Changes in Patient Expectations (Part I)

Undoubtedly, the first rule of customer service is to find out what your customers want and then to give it to them.  This article’s author states that, “Understanding how patient expectations and behaviors have changed is the first step toward successfully navigating the next five years of change.”   This is a must-read for every healthcare manager and clinician, because what we think  is important to our patients isn’t always the case.

Listed in reverse order, the bottom five expectations are:

Expectation #10 — New and better drugs:

Our country’s medical advancements can be a double-edged sword.  More and more patients expect bigger and better, instant results and a cure for many diseases, such as cancer.  Of course, the average clinician can’t be held responsible for the absence of such cure, but communication of alternatives and options (see Personalized Medicine #6) can go a long way.

Expectation #9 — Portable Medical Records:

Consider investing in EHRs; patients expect it and you could reduce admin time by 25%.

Expectation #8 — Accessibility:

Here again, technology has shrunk our world and our patients have become accustomed to instant gratification.  When patients need their doctor, waiting until tomorrow to reach him or her can seem like waiting forever.  The author advocates the use of texting, which will alleviate patient anxiety while meeting their expectations and also reduce the burden of call-backs on the provider.

Expectation #7 — Communication:

Efficiency and patient satisfaction can co-exist.  This article encourages the use of technology to confirm appointments, and email/Internet to educate patients and empower them to participate in their own wellness.

Expectation #6 — Personalized Medicine:

The one-size-fits-all mentality is a thing of the past.  Patients expect tailored approaches to their treatment and wellness.  The author strongly recommends that providers stay current on the latest developments in order to advise their patients and defend against unrealistic expectations.

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