Measuring the End User Experience
Scott & White Healthcare Improves End User Experience & Here's 5 Great Ideas for Improving Yours!
Scott & White has made it easier for me to become a patient of their hospital system and I am not even sick. They have raised the bar on the End User Experience they deliver, benefitting the patient and improving the End User Experience of their own ER staff.
*For the record, I don’t work for Scott & White, nor have I done any business with them. I am just saying if I had to go hang out with a bunch of sick people and wear a gown that was a bit drafty in the rear, Scott & White has given me a good reason to put them at the top of my list.
What is the End User Experience like at your company as an employee or customer?
Are employees empowered with the right tools and knowledge to do their job effectively? Does your technology investment enable end user productivity or does it force employees to find a creative work-around to get their job done?
How does the End User Experience of your employees impact the End User Experience of the person or company buying your product or service?
How do you know? You really don’t unless you have metrics and you measure them and that is precisely where Scott & White Healthcare has improved the quality of their End User Experience.
As an occasional visitor to hospital emergency rooms, I can tell you never in my life has it been a pleasant experience. No matter what was wrong with me at the time, just going through the experience of getting to the care has almost always seemed more painful. Well, except for those stiches when I was 8, but that is a story for another day.
The CDC and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care conducted a 2009 survey measured the wait times in hospitals. See Figure 1 below.
In this same report, the CDC broke down the wait times based on the level of triage the patient needed.
- Immediate Care: triage in less than one minute.
- Emergent Care: needing triage in 1-14 minutes.
- Urgent Care: needing triage in 15-60 minutes.
- Semi-urgent Care: needing triage 1-2 hours.
- Non-urgent Care: needing triage between 2 and 24 hours.
- No Triage Care: is the CDC equivalent of everybody else.
Figure 2. Mean emergency department wait time for treatment, by urgency of patient care: United States, 2009
1Difference with immediate care is statistically significant (p < 0.05).
2Difference with no triage is statistically significant (p < 0.05).
SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
Based on the 2009 national average from Figure 2, 12% of the patients (combining Immediate Care and Emergent Care percentages) needing Immediate care, or triage in under a minute waited an average of 29 minutes. Emergent Care patients needing care in 1-15 minutes waited an average of 51 minutes.
I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, so I can only guess as to what the End User Experience is like for the average ER staff. Maybe there are staff shortages, or maybe the hospitals are not designed to handle the volume of patients coming through the ER. What I do know is that it cannot be a positive experience to tell anyone needing triage in 0 to 15 minutes that the needed care is likely 28 to 51 minutes away. The End User Experience of the employees, doctors and patients would all have to suffer.
Scott & White Finds a Way to Do Better
While not completely an apples-for-apples comparison, Scott & White clearly does not consider “average” care acceptable. Scott & White has taken steps to proactively define what is important to them in terms of delivering an exceptional End User Experience and put metrics in place to measure the their results.
One important metric Scott & White has identified is their average wait time, by ER. Not satisfied with just defining that metric and measuring it for internal consumption, Scott & White publishes these times on their website with an approximate 1 minute refresh.
Figure 3: ER wait times at Scott & White locations. http://www.sw.org/ER-Wait-Time
Today Scott & White patients can see wait times in advance and make their own healthcare decisions. Their experience is already better and they have not even stepped foot into a care facility.
In some cases Scott & White wait times are a tenth of the reported averages. With wait times this low the patient End User Experience would have to be better than waiting an hour at another healthcare facility. It seems just as likely that the healthcare staff End User Experience would as they have resources available to better meet the care need of their patients.
While Scott & White is a large organization with 140 clinics, 12 acute care hospitals, 14,000 employees with over 1,200 physicians and scientists, the lessons are true for small and medium companies. Here are a few areas where you can begin to find improvements in your own End User Experience:
1. You can’t fix what you can’t see. Establish metrics that make sense for your business. If you need help figuring out where to begin, grab a copy of our eBook. Measure what makes your business productive from any angle. Our frame of reference is technology, so we focus on identifying and removing obstacles from that last 18 inches between the monitors on end users desks and their eyeballs. You may be able to improve the End User Experience just by buying a better coffee pot.
2. Don’t get bogged down by looking at everything that you could be measured or that needs fixing. Like Scott & White, pick a spot that is important to your organization and jump in. Refine the process as you go. Take that first step and do not get stuck in an analysis-paralysis loop.
3. See things through the eyes of your ultimate end users, your customers. What is important to them? What standard could you set and measure that would be important to them?
4. Sit down with your end users and get an understanding of what steps they go through to get their work done. What could you do to reduce the number of hoops your employees are jumping through on a daily basis? Remove the low value tasks, and put metrics around the high value/revenue producing tasks.
5. When you have defined your metrics, find technology tools that will give you an end-to-end perspective of what your end users are experiencing so your IT team can become more proactive when performance goes off baseline. This will reduce the number of outages and lower Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) when issues do arise.