Technology for Healthcare Concierge Services: A Business Driver for Healthcare Organisations
Just a week ago, I was reading about a company that claims to be a world leader in Concierge and personal assistant services. To give a background, Concierge is the French word for a caretaker or a staff member at a hotel in charge of special requests. I was amazed not only by the breadth of services but also by the number of industries this organisation could cater to.
Being in the healthcare industry myself, I was drawn to their offerings in this industry. With the growing consumerisation of healthcare, patients are also demanding hospitality-grade services. After reading some of the case studies on their website, I started wondering about the various opportunities for a digital Concierge solution within a healthcare setting, and that is what I am going to pen down in this blog.
Key Learning Points
- Digital Concierge services can help hospitals provide a hospitality-grade patient experience without hurting their bottom line
- An enhanced patient experience can lead to higher patient satisfaction, which in turn will lead to a better reputation for hospitals, eventually driving higher occupancy rates
- Concierge services can help in meeting various department-specific needs of patients, such as food and baby products for the Obstetrics & Gynecology department
- Hospitals can provide a better discharge experience to patients by keeping them informed of the expected turnaround time for each stage of the discharge process
- Patients can avail of transportation services, such as booking a taxi, during discharge from a service provider of their choice
- Patients can use Concierge services for booking post-discharge services, such as physiotherapy sessions, during the hospital stay
- Admitted patients can take care of the needs of dependents at home, such as ordering grocery or laundry services
First and foremost, let me start with the basic intent of such a digital Concierge for IP (Inpatients). It improve patient experience by bringing in transparency for any kind of requests that the patient/bystander would raise during their stay at the hospital.
The idea here is that:
Enhanced experience → Better patient satisfaction → Better reputation → Higher occupancy rates.
Digital Concierge services also provide operational efficiencies to hospitals. Employing caretakers increases costs, which can hurt hospitals’ bottom line. A digital Concierge solution helps hospitals provide premium services to patients while keeping costs in check.
However, as mentioned earlier, the possibilities of digital Concierge services are not restricted to handling inpatient service requests. Let us look at how digital Concierge services can augment the digital transformation of patient experience at hospitals.
Potential Use Cases of Digital Concierge Services Across the Patient Journey
Let us take the example of the Obstetrics & Gynecology (OBG) department within a hospital. Imagine if a maternity patient or their bystander can order food (like cakes/sweets for celebrating the birth), baby products (like diapers, wipes, pacifiers), clothes, etc., right from their bed. Wouldn’t it take the patient experience to a different level? I call these department-specific needs. Hospitals can extrapolate the same to other departments like Geriatrics as well.
I am sure many of us would have faced situations in hospitals where a doctor advises discharge in the morning, and the patients cannot get out till evening. Imagine if a digital Concierge can guide patients about the steps involved in discharge and transparently show them the current status with TAT for each of the steps involved. Wouldn’t it bring down the anxiety levels? I am sure it would. It will also help you measure the delays and streamline the whole discharge process.
Next, if we can cater to the transportation needs of the patients/bystanders, it will definitely add to the experience we provide to the patients. For instance, while getting discharged from the hospital, if there is an option to book an ambulance or a taxi from the comfort of the room and be assured of timely arrival, that would indeed enhance the patient experience.
Digital Concierge services can also help meet the post-discharge care needs of patients from the comfort of IP rooms. This would cover a wide range of services like scheduling lab sample collections from home, physiotherapy sessions at home, home nursing services, etc.
If we can have the digital concierge service take care of patients’ dependents’ needs like their laundry and grocery when they are away from home (e.g., when admitted for a planned surgery), it would take the patient experience to a completely different level.
To conclude, the possibilities with a digital Concierge are endless. The need of the hour is to take a leap of faith, adopt technology as a part of your patient experience improvement initiatives, and the results will speak for themselves.
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Author | Dilesh Dattani