A painful counter-current to a positive patient experience is the patient’s wait time. Nobody likes waiting. And the longer an individual waits for healthcare service, the more their level of satisfaction and positive patient experience erodes.
Patients are waiting long before they get to the “waiting room.” On average it takes about three weeks to get an appointment for medical care.
Disguising the waiting experience…
The Disney folks have created a science to “deliver a positive wait time experience.” They do everything they can to distract their customer and make “the wait” as enjoyable as possible. They do this by tactics including:
- Shaping pre-visit awareness and patron expectations
- Communicating openly and often
- Treating customers respectfully
- Offering “soothing amenities” and comfortable surroundings
- Enabling “distractions” such as beverages, wi-fi, and educational info
The Walt Disney Company has years of practice and a sterling record of success in creating a positive customer experience. But even Disney would agree that the bigger and better solution would be to completely end wait times throughout the process.
Designing a doctor’s office for wellness…
The Oscar healthcare center creates a positive—perhaps delightful—patient experience. (A Brooklyn facility for Oscar health insurance participants. Photos from Business Insider are here.)
The aim is to create an environment that is both a medical provider’s office and a community wellness center. The Oscar Center is a partnership with Mount Sinai physicians. The bright, open and inviting space provides yoga instruction, fitness and wellness classes, and community interaction.
Will hospitals disappear in a decade?
One vision of the not-so-distant future says: “Goodbye hospital, hello home-spital.” To translate, an article in the World Economic Forum envisions medicine without much need for hospitals in the year 2030. Melanie Walker, MD, co-chair of the Forum’s council on neuro-technology and brain science, writes: “Who needs a hospital when you can prevent or treat conditions from the comfort of your home?”
What’s more, “80 is the new 60, with all of the regenerative options on the horizon,” Dr. Walker writes. “By 2030, the very nature of disease will be further disrupted by technology. So disrupted, in fact, that we might have a whole lot fewer diseases to manage.
“The fourth industrial revolution will ensure that humans live longer and healthier lives so that the hospitals of the future will become more like NASCAR pit-stops than inescapable black holes. You will go to a hospital to be patched up and put back on track.
“Some hospital practices might even go away completely, and the need for hospitalization will eventually disappear.” In a decade or two, hospitals may be a thing of the past. “The next stop. Not the hospital but the home-spital.”
As medical science advances, patients will take more responsibility for their own health and prevention. And in this new, healthy living environment, the quality of care and positive patient experience will be less reliant on a facility and more dependent on the consumer-patient.