Concierge Medicine Learns from Service Industries

Brian Powers, Amol S. Navathe, and Sachin H. Jain published “How to Deliver Patient-Centered Care: Learn from Service Industries” on Harvard Business Review Blog Network on April 19th, 2013. The article is an insightful look into the patient centered health care movement and how it can benefit from looking at the models of service industries.

Concierge medicine practices have already moved aggressively into the patient centered care sphere. The services offered by a concierge doctor offer a good example of the implementation of some of the tenants suggested in the HBR blog post, particularly their use of the internet and social media to increase awareness of this type of care and making it easy to find a concierge doctor.

HBR-

Over the past decade, patient-centered care has become a mantra for high-quality health care. Policymakers, researchers, physician-leaders, and patients have all cited the need for care to be tailored to patients’ unique needs and preferences. And there is solid evidence that patient-centered care can help improve care quality and reduce costs. However, in the rush to become more patient-centered, the health care system has misplaced its focus.

Current approaches to patient-centered care are based on aggregated preferences rather than individualized needs. Researchers and health systems deploy focus groups and surveys to assess general patient preferences in an effort to determine “what patients want.” But patients are a diverse group with diverse needs. Characterizing general beliefs and preferences alienates those whose needs and preferences do not align with the majority. The result has been a monolithic view of patients and their needs — a framework that prevents the delivery of truly patient-centered care.

All service industries share the challenge of providing tailored, individualized service. In response, leaders in customer service have developed tools and infrastructure to understand and respond to individual needs and preferences. Health care providers should leverage these approaches. Tailored services and consumer marketing tools.

Read Full Story to see their insights into the tailored service approach and the use of consumer-marketing tools.

The Doctor Weighs In, #1 ranked healthcare blog, contributor Paul Levy, offers an OP/Ed piece review of the article which is a great companion piece.

Brian Powers, Amol S. Navathe, and Sachin H. Jain offer a thoughtful and interesting approach to the question of patient-centeredness in a recent blog post on the Harvard Business Review page, learning from service industries.  Here’s the lede:

Current approaches to patient-centered care are based on aggregated preferences rather than individualized needs. Researchers and health systems deploy focus groups and surveys to assess general patient preferences in an effort to determine “what patients want.” But patients are a diverse group with diverse needs. Characterizing general beliefs and preferences alienates those whose needs and preferences do not align with the majority. The result has been a monolithic view of patients and their needs — a framework that prevents the delivery of truly patient-centered care.

The authors call current efforts “well intentioned” but stemming from “a misguided focus on the needs of the average patient.”  They point to other service industries that have gotten clever at segmenting their customer groups, learning about particular aspects of service that are relatively more important for those segments.

Customer segmentation is ubiquitous across service and consumer product industries, but its application to health care has lagged. As health-care-delivery systems expand and more data is stored in electronic databases, there exists the potential to prospectively segment patients according to their needs and preferences.

Why does the health care segment lag in this approach?

One reason is providers have been reluctant to see health care as a service industry. Only by accepting the reality that it is one can providers learn from the successes of others in the field. And there is plenty to learn.

One commenter notes with approval:

The patient sitting in front of a doctor is no longer “his” or “hers” patient. It is an individual with his own needs. Meaning the center of attention is no longer the doctor and his expertise but the patient.  More precise[ly] the demand[s] of the patient. Which [are] not the same as by the doctor perceived demand[s].
  
Or, as I would put it, “patient-driven care.”

CMJ- What are your thoughts on the influence of service models from other markets on patient centered care and concierge medicine practice specifically?

About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: