This is a question that was associated with Mayor Koch from New York as he greeted his constituents. It was a great branding tool but more importantly, it enabled him to get instant feedback and address any problems that New Yorkers had.
Encouraging feedback is a great way to improve services but also to engage people within your community. This idea has been taken to heart by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. Recently, I attended a fair there where everyone was encouraged to sign in to Healthwatchnameof community.co.uk or in this case www.healthwatchrichmond.co.uk. Representatives also reached out to those who did not have access to internet services.
In addition to finding answers to questions about local healthcare, patients are encouraged to share their experiences. Their mission is to “give children, young people and adults a powerful voice- making sure that views and experiences are heard by those who run, plan and regulate health and social care services.”
Patient views and experiences are analyzed and acted upon to improve services. If there are any complaints, Healthwatch travels to the provider location, observe care and then make recommendations.
Information is used to create an image of where services can be improved and meet patient needs. Evidence based feedback is given to providers providing the services.
Patients can also sign up to receive regular bulletins that keeps them abreast of the latest health news in their community.
This continues to be a popular and valuable service and one that you can consider implementing into your own practice. It would show that you have empathy and care about what your patients have to say. It also enables you to correct any problem before it damages your branding and your reputation. By finding out any problems and “nipping them in the buds’, you have very content patients who will then go out into the community and promote your practice and your services. It is great to be known as the doctor that cares. So few doctors and medical practices are currently perceived that way!
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See you at the next post!