Hospitals generally aren't known for their customer service scores, but as the health care market broadens, that is beginning to change. This weekend, I accompanied my mother to Texas Presbyterian Health for a double hip replacement. The doctors, nurses and surgeons were spectacular, checking her name, birthday, reason for surgery and ID no fewer than five times before she went in.
What's really amazing, however, is the support that is available for the family. Once the patient is wheeled out, the family's job is to wait and worry, something that can be rather unpleasant, depending on the situation. What helps with waiting and worrying? Transparency.
Texas Presbyterian Health has just implemented a surgery update board in the surgery wing. Patient status is displayed using an ID number that is given only to the family. The progress board shows where the patient is in the process: patient arrival, pre-op arrival, surgery arrival, surgery complete, recovery arrival, case complete, and even a final column to list the hospital room the patient is discharged to. It all works much like the flight status board at airports.
As the waiting/worrying family member this time, this was a great resource. And I imagine it also took quite a bit of pressure off the staff on providing constant updates and allowed them more freedom to do their jobs more effectively. And what was involved? A database, one big flat screen TV, and a corporate culture of customer service and transparency.
And the kicker? Free wifi available throughout the hospital, so family can answer emails, get some work done and generally busy themselves instead of pacing and drinking too much coffee.