Everybody in healthcare is trying to figure what their role is going to be in the new healthcare era that is still defining what it will be and look like. One component that would appear to be abundantly clear is the increased importance on customer relations. It's not news that consumers are assuming greater control over their own health. But what may be novel to healthcare systems is their need to take the service principles from consumer-focused organizations; managing customers' expectations and applying them to their operations in a different delivery model than in the past.
There is literature being published that would suggest the healthcare industry should look closely to the retail model. The success of retail clinics at the major pharmacy chains would tell us patients will seek out healthcare needs that offer ease of convenience and quality care. Yes we all know a limited menu of services has allowed them to be very successful. In this case, the service offering is a secondary strategy, the results in supporting their primary busy model as retail pharmaceutical. My lesson learned from this observation is that “limited menu” option is not a bad thing, in the eyes of consumer, because they have been educated on the expectation and execute on delivery.
In my prior C-Suite years leadership years, one-stop shopping was the popular business model, believing that having everything on a healthcare campus setting will drive patients to utilize our services. If one looks at the retail industry revolution over the past 10 years, the growth has been in the specialty stores, especially those that included an internet commerce strategy. The large traditional “Department Stores” are acknowledging this preference. Last week, Ron Johnson, the former Apple Inc. retail chief who joined the retailer last year, took 300 analysts on a tour of a 30,000- square-foot prototype of a J.C. Penney store in a Dallas mall. He aimed to show how he is working to transform most of the company’s stores into a collection of 100 branded shops and gathering areas, a linchpin of his strategy that he says will revive sales. It all sounds logical, right? Megatrends demand this sort of change. But I fully admit it is not necessarily an easy leap for health care providers (doctors, employers, and payers) and regulators to make. They don't quite get that patients are moving toward providers that can offer them higher quality of care, better customer service, and innovative ways to receive the health services they need.
I believe the adoption rate of the EHRs has the potential to be the equivalent of the retail internet commerce strategy. Combined with Patient-Centered-Medical-Home philosophy are two key tools that will assist in the healthcare delivery transformation. As for the “linchpin strategy”, that has yet to be discovered in my opinion. I am going to find a way to see Ron Johnson’s prototype if for no other reason than to use as a tool to help our clients in collaborative design meetings. For now I will leave you with three questions to ponder that I use to stimulate conversation in planning meetings.
1. How do users (patients, staff, and doctors) work around roadblocks?
2. What are the barriers to adoption and how do we eliminate them?
3. What are the tension points in our organization?
In the midst of your everyday challenges, I would encourage you to reflect and recall that the word leadership is a noun and innovate is the verb that rallies leadership into action. If one of your outcomes of innovation discoveries leads to the need to reassess your facility needs, we at ACI-Boland
would be pleased to share our Lean-led Healthcare Design experiences and expertise with your team.