|Technology has made our lives and our jobs easier and has redefined what it means to be a health care organization. Unfortunately, the down side to technological wonders like robotic surgeries, electronic medical records, tele-appointments and other advances is that the human element is sometimes replaced with technology.In an industry that requires the trust and comfort of those it helps, this can pose a significant obstacle in offering satisfactory care across all service lines. Sometimes patients simply desire face time with doctors, a personal phone call, someone to hold their hand throughout a difficult procedure. Many hospitals are finding that the solution to this obstacle is to put purposeful effort into merging high-tech with high-touch approaches to offer exceptional care that’s highly marketable.|
Take the Oklahoma Heart Hospital for instance. One of the most technically advanced health care organizations in the nation, OK Heart is also said to be one of the most hospitable. OK Heart has a 24-hour nurse-to-patient minimum ratio of 1 to 4. Nursing stations are set up to serve eight-room pods and each pod is self-sufficient with its own supplies and refreshment area. Admissions are completed in the patient’s room. The hospital lobby was modeled after a hotel lobby, complete with concierge desk and grand piano. Unless medically necessary, patients don’t have to eat at designated times but rather order “room service” at any time of the day. Signage is limited to encourage patient or guest and staff interaction. And when someone isn’t happy, OK Heart has been known to reimburse families for gas or put family members up in a nearby hotel for free.
Patient satisfaction rates for OK Heart are through the roof when compared with similar hospitals, but it doesn’t end there. OK Heart shows nearly 100 percent compliance on several critical measures associated with cardiovascular conditions, outpacing the national averages in categories such as timely use of aspirin therapy to treat heart attack patients, according to Medicare Hospital Compliance.
Perhaps your health care organization is light years away from being able to offer this kind of care. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take efforts to find the balance between high-tech and high-touch right now. Consider a few easy ways to integrate this concept today:
Similarly, go above and beyond
Provide a “patient services” orientation
Offer a personal touch
At the end of the day, health care doesn’t have to be high-tech or high-touch—it can be both. Following this trend offers patients a comforting environment that will no doubt match the exceptional care your organization is already providing.
Miller, Julie. “High-Tech, High-Touch – The Oklahoma Heart Hospital Emerged from a Vision to Deliver Cutting-edge Care the Old-fashioned Way – Managed Healthcare Executive.” Managed Healthcare Executive – Managed Care Trends and Analysis – Benefit Strategies for Medicare/Medicaid and Commerical Populations. Web. 02 Aug. 2010.
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