The following is a guest blog post by Brittany Quemby, Marketing Manager of Stericycle Communication Solutions as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, some of my single friends are sharing the difficulties they are having while trying to find “the one.” This got me thinking about the relationships in my life where I’ve struggled to find “the one.”
Most of us put in a lot of time and consideration when choosing a healthcare provider. If you think about it, it’s almost like online dating. We research our physicians online, take a look at their reviews, get feedback and recommendations from friends, and meet with them to make sure it’s the right fit. After what could be months of trying to find the right doctor we finally make a decision and bring them onboard as a trusted healthcare advisor. You entrust them with your health, your life, and your future. This got me thinking…are our healthcare providers taking the same amount of time and consideration when evaluating the services they provide to us?
Healthcare providers offer a number of services and contract many different service organizations when it comes to running their organizations. Everything from EHRs, to Patient Engagement tools, to Lab Facilities, to Digital Health apps, to their telephone answering service is outsourced in one way or another. I wonder, how can you ensure you’re selecting a physician who takes as much care choosing service providers and their amenities as you did choosing them? After all, your care and health outcomes are impacted by both people in the relationship being the “right match.”
After working in the healthcare industry for several years, I treat my visit to my doctor’s office like I would a first date. I take notes, try to spot the red flags and ask lots of tough questions. Anything from which EHR they are using, to how they document my visit, how they dispose or store patient files, how they remind me for my appointment, how they route my calls, what patient educational tools they offer me, my wait-time, and even who they buy their supplies from.
Now…I am able to spot these things because I have an idea of what I am looking for and the right questions to ask. But what about patient’s who don’t know what to look for? Do they know what they are looking for in a long term provider relationship? What are the most important characteristics to them and what are they willing to compromise?
Here are some of my deal breakers:
- Old Equipment and Technology. It’s important to me that my provider uses the best healthcare products and services on the market that can help manage my health effectively.
- Lackadaisical Security. It’s imperative that my health data is secure. My provider must understand the importance of maintaining secure patient information and employing vendors who are HIPAA compliant.
- Unavailability. I get that my healthcare provider may not work 24 hours a day, but there are times that I think their service providers should. What if I need an appointment on a Saturday? What if I need to get a hold of my physician after hours? Who will take that call? A provider who I can only communicate with Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm is a deal-breaker for me.
- Poor Communication. I always have questions about my health and how to better maintain it. For me, my provider has to be available, approachable, caring, and communicative to serve as a consultant in my healthcare journey.
- Makes me pay. When I am searching for the right providers, insurance is the first place I start. Does the healthcare organization accept my insurance, or will I have to pay for my services? Don’t take my insurance? Deal breaker!
Unfortunately, there is not a Match.com to help pair the right patient with the right provider….yet. (With the demands patients are putting on healthcare organizations I wouldn’t be surprised if we are swiping left or right when picking our providers in the next 5 years). However, as patients become more and more involved in their care decisions and continue to expect more from their providers I’d encourage everyone to create their list of deal breakers and ask the hard questions, and when in doubt, introduce them to your mom!
The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality telephone answering, appointment scheduling, and automated communication services. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services. Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms