Customer Service in Health Care

Even though it seems that customer service is not a priority in today’s society, in the healthcare industry it needs to be a priority. The reason healthcare should be a priority, is because at some point everyone is going to need medical care. And depending on what type of care you receive customer service can determine your outcome. If a customer receives poor customer service, they are likely to complain to some outside source (like the BBB), which can sometimes hurt a business. It can also cause the customer not to heal properly, which means the customer is receiving poor medical care. Because of this poor customer service, the social reform, over the years has currently been making changes to the healthcare industry. In 2006, the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) a national survey, started randomly administrating these surveys to inpatients at hospitals. (Ruesink, 2012). The purpose of these surveys was:

1. To allow hospitals/healthcare facilities to know about the quality of care they were providing to their customers
2. To hold them accountable by providing the public with the findings
3. Also, allows these facilities to see the quality of care the competition is providing

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act established the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP), which is similar to HCAHPS. This program randomly surveys patients and rewards acute-care hospitals with monetary incentives based on quality of care they provide to people with Medicare. (Ruesink, 2012). Along with these two surveys, the government and different healthcare businesses have started providing their employees with annual customer service training, hoping to one day be the best at offering customer service.

Customer service in the healthcare field not only deals with medical care, but it also deals with patient education, privacy and billing. Patient education is a service that is provided to the customer free of charge. When educating patients whether it is about a procedure, illiness, are medication be sure to explain it in a way that they can understand. Sometimes you might have to take time with them. Always double-check to make sure you are giving them the right information and prescriptions. Always take the time to listen to them and never rush them, because you must have patience and compassion when dealing with the customer.

You should always inform and explain to the customer about your companies billing practices upfront. Customers should be provided with invoices that show what services that they received and how much each service cost. Medical facilities are required to take measures to protect patient’s privacy. As medical professional we should never give or discuss medical information with family or friends unless we have permission.