The patriarchic days when the doctor was the all-knowing father who decided which treatment was suitable with no involvement of the patient is over. The “new-normal” is the patient centered method. This means that patients have a stronger and more proactive participation in personal matters of health. Today, the patient not only is the decision maker but also a highly engaged customer that have expectations and needs.
Every hospital nation wide is evaluated on performance. The key performance indicators ranges from budget performance, production performance (how many patients are treated) and quality of treatment. Another key performance indicator is patient satisfaction.
Why is patient satisfaction so important? First of all patient satisfaction has an impact on compliance and outcome, meaning that satisfied patients tend to follow their treatment better and have better survival. This means that hospitals that perform great on patient satisfaction also perform better on quality of treatment.
Budget performance also increases with patient satisfaction. “A happy customer is a great customer” also counts for health care consumers. This saying is also true in landscape where public hospitals not only battles with private hospitals for patients but also with politicians for more money.
Doctors should learn from entrepreneurs and understand the needs of their customers – the patients. Today, state-of-the-art treatment is not enough – it is imperative. Health care consumers take it for granted that doctors are well-trained, experienced (or at least have an experienced supervisor at hand) and are qualified.
The modern patients have a wide range of expectations: Patients expect engaged and personalized care. Patients expect to be informed in a language they understand. Patients expect good service. Patients expect convenience and to have their time valued. Many of these needs are neglected in the modern, public health care sector of Denmark today.
The hospital (or pharmacy, general practitioner or any other health care provider for that matter) – the “seller” – who understands and delivers to these needs and expectations of the patient – “the buyer” – has a distinct marketing advantage and will outperform the others on every parameter – including treatment and survival of patients.