ghp July 2015 pdf

ghp July 2015 | 37 industry insight What can doctors learn from bankers? Doctors can learn from bankers? Really? While at first glance banking and healthcare may not seem to have much in common, when you take a closer look the transformational overhaul experienced by banks may have lessons to benefit our frontline health service. The retail banking sector is almost unrecog- nisable from how it interacted with its customers 20 years ago. Back then, you had a local branch, which you would visit during opening hours to withdraw and deposit money. You would talk to your local bank manager who you would know by name and could trust to discuss your personal financial situation. Now, you rarely speak to the same person or visit the same branch, if your bank even has branches. Where once branch banking was the only method available to seek the service you required, technology now enables a completely different approach with phone banking, online banking and mobile apps, to name just a few. So, can the patient and healthcare provider interact in a similar way? And, will this help the NHS budget go further at the same time as deliv- ering higher quality patient care? The scale of transformation in retail banking has been impressive and this is largely due to market competition driving innovation in service delivery models, as well as the adoption of new technologies as enablers of these new models. This in turn has been driven by customer needs and desires, with the banks that best meet these becoming market leaders. Those not moving with the times have lost customers - or disappeared from the banking landscape. There have also been a number of new entrants – ‘challenger banks’ – that have embraced technology and new operating models as a means to seize share from complacent incumbents. In comparison, the service delivery model for GP services hasn’t changed for many years – despite the world around it changing at an ever increas- ing pace. This is causing significant tensions, not least with ‘customer’ expectations of what services should be provided, and how and when they should be accessible. In addition to patient demands, there is also significant political pressure on GPs to provide longer opening hours during the week and to be open over weekends. While this is one part of the answer it is not a panacea for all challenges faced by the health sector. In the same way that banks have developed products and services to suit the needs and expectations of By Richard Jones, partner at transformation consultancy Moorhouse. different customer groups, the health service can also benefit from segmenting its patients in a similar fashion. By this we mean responding to the different needs and expectations of disparate groups of pa- tients in ways that best meet those needs and expec- tations. Take these three over-simplified illustrations for how a one-size-fits-all approach may be both un- necessarily costly and unsatisfactory for the patient. Firstly, a generally healthy middle-aged person with a lingering sore throat may not be inclined to take time off work to spend a morning sitting in their GP’s waiting room; a Skype consultation with a doctor or a visit to a specialist nurse would be more convenient. Our second example is a child with a sore throat whose parent is likely to be more risk averse, less likely to be content with a phone call and will want to see a doctor in person. And finally, the stereotyp- ical frail elderly person with complex health needs - who may not have spoken with another person all week - is likely to appreciate 30 minutes or so with a doctor. So, while the first two examples may be more transactional, albeit different interactions, the latter sees the GP playing a far broader role and becoming inherently involved with wider well-being matters. It is right to focus on longer GP opening hours as a means by which patients can access care at times that it’s needed. Indeed, there is a direct correlation between improving access to primary care and a de- creasing attendance at A&E units. So, greater access to GPs can benefit the wider health system and add further opportunity to reducing the financial burden on our stretched acute hospitals. However, longer GP opening hours, whilst centrally important, are not the only answer to the question of ‘access’. There is huge focus on relieving the pressure on A&E units, with some people misusing the service as they can’t (or won’t) see a GP – or they know that they will be seen in four hours rather than four days. Today’s world is one of immediacy; our expectations are set by those industries that enable access 24 hours a day and seven days a week, whether that is to access your bank account and make payments, or to order a book on-line on a Sunday for delivery on Monday. Those very same expectations are carried through to healthcare – “why can’t I see my GP today?” There appears to be a broadening acceptance that the traditional ways of providing care are no longer the answer, and that we must put an end to juggling and reallocating resources in order to maintain the