• 9Aug

    Patients or consumers?

    Blog from The Patient Experience Library: There is a perpetual debate in the world of patient experience and patient/public involvement about how to describe anybody who is not a health professional.  The terms “patients”, “service users” and “consumers” are all used – with varying degrees of comfort or conflict.

    This report from the Beryl Institute sheds interesting light on the matter.  They looked at “Consumer Perspectives on Patient Experience” (possibly hedging their bets with that title) and found that for most people, “patient experience” matters more than “consumer experience”.

    The report states that “Most people… would not suggest that individuals in healthcare facilities are simply customers in the traditional sense of the word“.  But it goes on to say that “While it is often suggested that healthcare is not the hospitality business or primarily a retail environment, those leading healthcare would be naïve to think they are not being compared to those other experiences people are having“.
    In other words, in the commercial sphere, people – as customers – have come to expect convenience, responsiveness and personalisation.  In the healthcare sphere people – as patients – may well have similar expectations.

    In spite of this, when people were asked “Why is having a good patient experience important to you?”, the top three answers all touched on physical needs and how patient experience contributes to healing and health outcomes.  By contrast, the bottom three answers were all about customer-focused items such as time and money.

    The authors conclude that “while people do acknowledge that to some extent in healthcare it is about being a customer, their health and their humanity are of greater importance“.  Indeed, “experience is not about just satisfaction, but the real outcomes people hope for in their healthcare encounters. [The reason] why experience is important to consumers is that it’s first about their own health“.

    You can download the report via the website

    Read more here: https://www.patientlibrary.net/cgi-bin/library.cgi?page=Blog