Service Innovation for Improved Satisfaction: Designing Patient Call Back in Emergency Healthcare
33 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 17, 2014
Healthcare delivery is becoming a significant proportion of the service economy around the world. Within healthcare, the Emergency Department (ED) constitutes one of the most challenging areas of service delivery. Patient (customer) arrival is highly unpredictable, job scope is variable and uncertain, and timely service response is essential to save lives. In addition, emergency physicians and hospitals may soon be monitored and compensated with a new set of metrics including patient satisfaction measured after service delivery. In this paper, we report data and results from a study that involved a service process innovation at two academic EDs – the proposed redesign involves utilizing the addition of a new process step that uses health provider capacity when available for follow-up patient calls after discharge from the emergency department. We examine the overall impact of this process redesign on patient satisfaction as measured by the “likelihood to recommend” question on patient surveys. We also examine how follow-up caller identity (nurse vs. medical doctor) and patient characteristics influence customer/patient satisfaction. Our findings first confirm that the addition of a follow-up call back step to the service process has a significant impact on reported patient satisfaction. We focus on identifying ways to improve the efficiency of the call back step in the service design. Specifically, we find that patients over age 65 are more likely to respond positively to call back than those under 65 and the impact of call back is strongly associated for certain healthcare insurance (Medicare and MediCal). These findings can help hospitals redesign the ED service process and segment patients for call back in an effective manner. Underlying fundamental implications and future work possibilities are discussed.
Keywords: Emergency Medical Service, Process Innovation, Call Back
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