Medical tourists experience your hospital or business brand in numerous ways: treatment, doctor consultation, pricing, physical setting, website, marketing, sales personnel, and more. Each of these contacts or touchpoints molds the medical tourist’s impression of your brand.
Some of these touchpoints are obvious, like treatment outcome, and emailed interactions. Other touchpoints, such as communication with nurses, billing procedures, or discharge management play more subtly on the patient’s perception of your brand.
Trust and the medical tourist
When you accept a patient or client into your care environment, you are initiating a bond of trust – trust between the patient and your institution or service. This bond of trust is one manifestation of your brand.
A greater degree of trust is required if the patient is a medical tourist. Away from home, family and familiar settings, a medical tourist needs an extra level of security and trust from care givers.
This partnership of trust creates expectations in the medical tourist. This partnership of trust is a promise – a promise that must be kept. At the heart of this promise is your brand.
How do you keep your promise to your patient?
You keep this promise through delivering on the patient experience while the patient or client is in your care. This patient experience cannot be left to chance. It should be actively designed and controlled in a manner that fulfills your promise and enhances your brand image.
It must be great every time.
Every patient touchpoint must carry that promise without fail.
Here are four steps to building a most favorable patient experience, strengthening the bond of trust, and reinforcing your brand’s message.
1. Identify patient touchpoints
Each individual step in your administrative and managerial processes contains a number of touchpoints when the patient comes in contact with your brand – and your promise..
Walk through these processes. Walk through the marketing process, the treatment and the operating room processes. Create a simple touchpoint map that defines your patients’ interactions with your brand.
2. Determine the most influential touchpoints for medical tourists
All touchpoints are not created equal. Some will naturally play a larger role in determining your organization’s overall patient experience. For example, if your specialty is orthopedic treatment, the patient’s rehabilitation program is more important than a comfortable lounge. Both are touchpoints, but each has a different effect on the patient experience.
3. Design the Great Patient Experience
Once you have completed these two steps, you should be able to plan the optimal medical tourist experience at your hospital.
GREAT EVERY TIME, a MTQUA Best Practices in Medical Tourism Report, can guide you in delivering excellent patient experience by managing critical touchpoints in medical tourism and help you create the best medical tourism experience for your patients.
4. Align the organization to consistently deliver the optimal experience
A holistic approach to aligning your organization to consistently deliver the optimal experience is essential. Identify the people, processes, and tools that drive each key touchpoint.
Look beyond the doctors and administrative staff that have direct contact with your patients. The impacts of nurses who provide care on the ward, and behind-the-scenes employees like food service, cleaners and orderlies may be less obvious but no less important.
Similarly, the impact of workflow processes and tools (i.e. technology systems) on the patient experience is vital to consistent delivery.
Identify which activities or areas don’t align with your envisioned patient experience. Determine how to address them so that these components can be brought into alignment.
Best Practices In Medical Tourism
Read more about these important touchpoints of the patient experience in GREAT EVERY TIME: Delivering Excellent Patient Experience By Managing Critical Touchpoints In Medical Tourism
For more ways to the medical tourist’s experience, read Care and Management of Traveling International Patients, the most downloaded paper in medical tourism.