A cost-effective patient experience solution.
A strong patient experience is more difficult to achieve than ever because of today’s hypercompetitive, consumer-centric healthcare market.
In fact, many of the hospitals we serve have struggled with patient experience challenges ranging from egregious wait-times and lackluster customer service to staffing shortages and nurse burnout.
In this post, you’ll discover the four biggest benefits of patient concierge programs.
Plus, learn how our healthcare clients have successfully leveraged concierge services to enhance their hospitals’ patient experiences.
1. Manage ED Wait-Time Experience
Never have an angry patient walk out of your ED without being seen again.
With 70% of hospital inpatients admitted through the emergency department, your healthcare system must get the ED experience right. And turning your crowded wait room into a high-touch, customer-centric experience can go a long way toward this effort.
A concierge service can set the stage for a positive experience – despite an overwhelming wait – by managing the expectations of patients, their families, and caregivers.
There’s even potential for the service to shorten wait times by improving patient flow because concierges manage the non-clinical aspects of patient care.
In the EDs we serve, our healthcare concierges:
- Greet new patients as they arrive.
- Explain the triage process to visitors, give them a wait time, and guide them to the reception area.
- Provide periodic updates.
- Round patient bays and the waiting room to fulfill non-medical requests for patients and their families.
- Offer patients or their family members an empathetic ear, an answer to a simple question, or wayfinding assistance.
While automation and technology are playing an increasingly prominent role in wait-time management, patients overwhelmingly prefer the personal connection, warmth and empathy that face-to-face interactions provide, especially in times of distress.
2. Cost-Effective Staffing Solution
Speaking of long wait times, the COVID-19 Delta variant surge has merged with the nursing shortage to create a capacity crisis for emergency departments. As a result, patients around the country are dealing with life-threatening waits in the ED.
At the same time, hospitals are facing intense competition for talent. There are bidding wars over nurses, LPNs and LVNs. And traveling nurses have become an ED mainstay at an exorbitant cost.
Instead of getting tangled up in a recruiting frenzy, some hospitals are supplementing their nursing staff with cost-effective alternatives.
For example, our hospital clients have leveraged our concierges to manage administrative work and customer service tasks so their clinical staff can focus on medical care.
Our healthcare clients look at it as a way to “stop the bleeding.” With patients facing emergency department wait times that span days, nursing teams are happy for the extra set of hands that frees them of the non-clinical burdens that slow down patient flow.
3. Improve Patient Flow
Has your hospital ever measured how much time your clinical staff is wasting on non-clinical factors and what kind of an impact that’s having on patient flow?
88% of nurses in our last survey said they spend up to two hours a shift on patients’ non-clinical needs.*
But for every non-clinical task nurses outsource to our concierges they save one hour of time.**
Concierges manage patients’ and their families’ needs as they move through a hospital system, creating a continuity of non-clinical care that has the potential to improve patient flow without sacrificing quality.
With less stress, more time and an extra set of helping hands, clinical staff can focus on medical outcomes and move patients closer to discharge.
How Hospitals Leverage Healthcare Concierge Services
Our hospital clients typically have concierges work in conjunction with a nursing team.
The concierge checks in with a nurse manager at the beginning of their shift so the nursing team can assign any outstanding non-clinical, patient-related tasks to the concierge.
- At the same time, another member of the patient concierge team can round, providing patients and their families with any care or comfort items they need.
- All the while, another concierge could be on a recon mission, floating through patient bays, noting potential problems and opportunities to advocate for patients, and then reporting them back to the nursing staff.
Much like a firefighter, a patient concierge’s job is all about putting out fires. In this case, non-medical fires. And if they’re not doing it, your clinical staff is – or worse, it’s not being addressed at all.
4. Reducing Clinical Staff Stress
One of the biggest benefits of a patient concierge program is the least expected: a happier, less stressed clinical staff that’s more engaged.
By managing patients’, families’ and caretakers’ non-clinical needs, concierges reduce clinical staff workloads. As a result, medical teams are less stressed and have more time to focus on clinical outcomes.
Less stressed clinical teams provide friendlier, higher quality patient care. Friendly, higher quality care enhances patient satisfaction, and satisfied patients improve financial performance.
Hospital-sponsored employee wellness benefits have become popular as more healthcare systems recognize the vital link between patient experience, employee satisfaction and the bottom line.
Healthcare is facing unprecedented staffing and patient experience challenges. Leveraging healthcare concierge services to overcome these difficulties is a creative and cost-effective solution.
By outsourcing non-clinical patient tasks to professional concierges, hospitals are providing patients with a warm and empathetic experience while also improving the efficiency of clinical staff. Together, these changes create a type of positive feedback loop that increases patient and employee satisfaction.
*Best Upon Request Nurse survey conducted at the ANCC National Magnet Conference.
**Data from a Best Upon Request survey conducted after serving a year in a large hospital ED.