Charging Stations in Waiting Rooms Can Deliver a Better Customer Experience
It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago, the waiting room was a place where patients an or family sat and idly flipped through old copies of Time Magazine, Sport Illustrated, National Geographic or House & Garden begging for the recycle bin. Now they’re using smartphones to stay connected with family and friends, find health-related topics on social media, blogs, website articles and videos for information about symptoms, drug costs and treatment. Based on this digital surge in healthcare, waiting rooms are a great first opportunity to tell patients that you care about them and their family. Healthcare organizations are measured and reimbursed on how well they deliver patient experience. And, one strategy to help raise customer service scores hospitals around the nation are using charging stations in waiting rooms.
In an effort to improve customer satisfaction hospitals need to know what areas they need to improve in. To measure customer satisfaction thousands of hospitals use Press Ganey which provides patient satisfaction surveys that help health care organizations drive targeted and sustainable improvement across the continuum of care. Based upon the customer service scores Press Ganey offers proven solutions to help providers take meaningful action for rapid improvement. This is important, as 30% of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) is attributed to the Press Ganey score.
Not only does the federal government rely on these customer survey results to determine reimbursement levels, some insurance companies do as well, plus some hospitals are basing staff pay levels on the results. There’s a lot riding on customer service findings. And they’re about to get even more important. In 2017, the one percent withheld from hospitals for Medicare reimbursements – approximately $850 million – will double to two percent. Only hospitals with high patient satisfaction scores will earn that money back, and top performers will earn bonuses from a pool. As financial pressure stiffens and empowered patients begin to act more like choosy consumers, healthcare organizations are looking for ways to nudge their patient experience scores higher and the waiting room is a good start. Competition in the healthcare marketplace is a full-blown reality, as consumers have more choice and more comparative information at their fingertips.
Often the first customer impression of a healthcare facility is in the waiting room. During a long wait in the waiting room batteries in smartphones and other devices are sure to wear down. Especially if friends and family are calling every five minutes to check on the situation. Seeing the battery power drain from a phone is a sure stress point and not a good experience for patients and their families. Help them out by putting charging stations in waiting rooms, emergency rooms, cafeterias and other places people gather. Hospital systems like Virtua Health, Texas Health Resources, and Baylor Health Care System have invested in charging stations to help improve a better customer experience. Now the family members can read e-books or play games, and keep their devices active in case of an emergency phone call. All of this while knowing their battery won’t die.
Whether it’s a large hospital or a physician’s office, the traditional waiting room is becoming the new hub of patient engagement. Even as the industry shifts toward integrating the concepts of care and health into everyday life, the waiting room remains a powerful space in which patients are most focused on their care needs — presenting an excellent opportunity that healthcare providers can’t afford to ignore.
From the moment patients walk into a hospital emergency room until the time they are discharged, the average time spent was four hours and seven minutes. That is the national average here in the United States and it’s staggering. But, a comfortable waiting room can lay the bedrock of a positive patient experience. Simple factors such as comfortable lighting, television, and having enough chairs and space to accommodate patient load are simple, but crucial. Additionally, outdated and messy magazines can leave the impression that patient comfort is an afterthought, so more up-to-date investments such as charging stations in waiting rooms are a powerful tactic to ensure waiting rooms meet the expectations of a modern patient.
Patients and their families are demanding a better experience. Research shows that approximately 7 percent of patients have switched healthcare providers due to poor customer service and this switching could translate to a loss of more than $100 million in annual revenue per hospital. As consumers bring their service expectations from other industries into healthcare, providers are likely to see higher consumer switching rates.
If you haven’t added charging stations in waiting rooms maybe now is the time to upgrade your mobile strategy.
KwikBoost is a leading provider of charging stations to the K-12 and higher education, healthcare, retail, libraries, recreation centers, malls, airports, government, and corporate sectors. KwikBoost offers an array of mobile device charging options, ranging from freestanding charging kiosks, wall mounted charging stations, charging lockers, phone lockers, power tables, power wall workstations, and power hubs.
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