The quality of healthcare facilities in a region is one of the most important parameters to measure that area’s quality of life. Healthcare facilities range anywhere from specialty clinics to urgent care centers and large hospitals with emergency rooms and trauma centres. The standards that the administration establishes determine the circulation of quality of service throughout a facility. However, healthcare institutions have a set of challenges that hinder their service quality.
Challenges in Private Sector
There are innumerable challenges that healthcare as an industry faces on a daily basis in India, like duplication of work owing to accountability to multiple ministries, lack of investment in infrastructure, and resistance toward digital transition. The industry breaks through some such obstacles but succumbs to others that are beyond the control of healthcare professionals; instead, they are governed by policymakers. Let us take a look at some of the grassroots challenges facilities grapple with daily.
It has been observed that most staff at a healthcare facility are executives like technicians, nurses, and ward staff who need formal training in providing these services. Practically they are the people at the front end, the first points of contact between a patient and the clinic or hospital. This makes their role most crucial. Unfortunately, administrations focus little time on providing them with primary education or at least training them for the position. Consequently, when such work opportunities are offered, unskilled candidates look for a role that lures them best and switches jobs without hesitation or delay. This results in the high attrition rate that the industry struggles with today.
Adapting to Technology
India has always been a market full of skeptic players who are resistant to change. With the steep rise in issues related to cyber security in 2022 and the ocean of misinformation readily available to lead people astray, the general public is more resistant to the transition to technological advancements like electronic consultations or prescriptions, which is rather essential looking at the current scenario. Not just patients but the senior healthcare providers find it challenging to adapt technologies like maintaining electronic medical records (EMRs) or digital pens and encoded letterheads that help doctors digitize their patient documents because there is a lack of training.
Variation in Quality
Given the above-mentioned challenges, patients are bound to observe irregularity in the provision of services as neither can they expect an experienced staff to handle their case nor fall back on technology to eliminate deviations. It is shockingly common for patients to revisit clinics or visit hospital owing to word of mouth only to have an underwhelming experience.
Solutions for Quality Control
In order to tackle with the obsolete practices of providing healthcare services discussed above, the following are some robust solutions to ensuring the consistency of quality for all patients at all times.
The time and resources invested in upskilling staff all go to waste due to the issue of job hopping. The right way to start in this case is to break it down backward. You can do that by going deep into exit interviews and listening to the reasons behind resignations. Then you need to strategize solutions for their requirements and become the problem solver in such situations.
The straightforward way of retaining these staff members is to also manage them well by showing them a career progression. You can do this by organizing mentorship programmes, ensuring a comfortable, inclusive, and encouraging work environment, running internal acknowledgments and recognition programmes, and ensuring good upkeep of infrastructure and other facilities at the place of work. You need to ensure employee feedback is taken seriously and there are redressals and growth opportunities provided if you want the staff to stay loyal to your organisation.
Educating through Communication
The healthcare industry’s tech resistance can only be solved through embracing innovation with education.
Healthcare providers will have to take the lead in initiating awareness programmes under their brand name, engaging in knowledge management activities like brand journalism enriching their customer interaction with more updates on upcoming technologies and safety measures involved, if convenience and sustenance are what they are looking at for the future. Through strategic communication on the right platforms, healthcare facilities can become the trend setters, winning the first mover advantage in the industry, which shall not only ensure capturing market share but also gaining trust and credibility in the market.
Ensuring that the point of induction, right from the top management down to the executive level staff, is soft skilling. Administrations at bigger healthcare facilities must set up departments of training and development with regular critical-level training of all staff. It has been observed that an industry standard of minimum 10hours of training before adopting a client-facing role doesn’t just improve coordination between the back and front-end offices but also stimulates team building.
For smaller clinics, ensuring the staff, you onboard receive primary education before engaging with patients must be a prerequisite. You must focus on soft skilling of all staff members and handholding them through creative ways like setting up sit-down Q&A sessions or circulating handouts and other study material.
Though there are innumerable challenges that the healthcare industry faces, these are the primary solutions where private sector players can begin and upgrade their quality of service at the organizational level to bring about some industrial change. It is vital for the management itself to walk the talk at the grass-root level for an organisational upheaval and set the trend for quality.
Mallika Dhupar is an Account Manager with WeYou Partners and specializes in brand strategy and positioning.