Monday, May 09, 2011
My family does our part to keep up demand for physician services. Consider it a form of business development.
I am never just a father or a patient on those trips to the doctor. I can't help but observe, and question, things about the practice that overlap with my day job.
Are they using an EHR? If so, which one and how? How is the billing process and can I interpret the patient statement? Is there evidence of any data being used to run the practice better? Where are they doing interesting things by using technology to make the staff and physicians more productive? And oh yes, I think my oldest has something going on with her asthma.
Recently I was at a practice that I have been in many times before. And the poor customer experience was shocking. It was not suddenly bad, but suddenly standing in stark contrast to places where the experience is improving. I was thrilled this was NOT one of our clients.
I don't know if there is a causal relationship, but I did observe a lovely 1980's use of technology. Hand writing my co-payment on a sheet of paper clipped to my chart. Asking me to fill out, again, patient history information that will never change (I think my birthday will be on that date forever until I die). Getting a paper script that I get to take to my pharmacy, which was made worse by the fact that they lost the two phone calls and the fax the pharmacy had sent earlier to request a refill.
When I asked the PA about ePrescribing, or heavens, an EHR, I got a scoffing response. The same response that I get from the physicians and the office staff. 'Aw, who needs that stuff. It adds no value.'
Again, I am not drawing a causal relationship between the lack of technology and the bad customer experience. But maybe there is a connection at the mindset level. A 'no progress' mentality, the lack of a commitment to getting better every day may be what is behind both of my observations.
Tim Coan, CEO
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