4th Medical Group uses new technology to improve customer service

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron J. Jenne
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Most customers, have received phone calls to participate in surveys about services they were recently provided. These calls typically come at the most inconvenient times such as during dinner or late in the evening.

Surveys however, can be an informative way for organizations to gather feedback from customers. Consumer opinions may also spur new and innovative ideas to improve areas or procedures within the organization.

In an effort to meet consumers in the middle, the 4th Medical Group is implementing a new system to conduct surveys for the services provided at the medical clinic.

The unit is currently undergoing a beta test of its new survey system that relies on touch screen tablets and online survey apps to provide an easier and more time convenient feedback for the patients of each medical clinic.

Until now, the clinic used customer service comment cards and service delivery assessments (SDAs), which are provided from phone interviews, to receive feedback.

"We see more than 2,000 patients in a typical week, but SDAs only provided us an average of 44 surveys each week," said Master Sgt. Anthony Smith, 4th Medical Group patient advocate. "I don't think this paints the whole picture and I knew we could do better."

Seeing a need to improve this process, Smith researched various survey options. He found if the surveys were readily available to customers via new technology, they were more willing to complete a short questionnaire. He developed a plan to use a tablet to administer the survey to patients at random upon completion of their medical appointment.

After two weeks of administering and refining the survey process, the group rolled out the app-based questionnaire for testing on the base populous.

"We hope to generate feedback from 100 to 150 patients each month," Smith said. "This won't replace the phone interviews or comment cards, but we think it will supplement the feedback nicely."

Senior Airman Donald Templeton, 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load crew member, recently took the survey after a medical appointment.

"The survey was quick and easy," he said. "It was nice to see them using new technology to get feedback. I'd prefer this system over receiving a call sometimes days after an appointment."

As the 4th Medical Group practice manager, 1st Lt. Timothy Williams believes the new system will foster a better customer service experience and better medical care by taking actions in areas patients have indicated for possible improvement.

"The impact of doing real-time surveys, in person, allows us to quickly address patient concerns and immediately adapt," Williams said. "Our vision is to ensure seamless, quality healthcare emphasizing the patient-provider relationship. With the implementation of this new system, we are striving toward a clinic culture where 'Everyone Counts.' It also demonstrates our commitment to make our patients an integral part of the healthcare team and experience."

In August, the 4th Medical Operations Squadron will be the first unit to officially administer the new survey. The tablet will rotate to a new squadron every two weeks providing feedback from patients of every clinic in the group. Survey information and comments will be briefed directly to the group commander every month.

"We want to show patients we care," Smith said. "This new survey shows patients we take customer service seriously. Everything we do ties into our strategic plan: everyone counts, and this includes our patients. One of our priorities is to maximize the quality of our patient care, and customer service surveys show us where we can improve."