The Quality and Customer Service should focus on the monitoring and development of systems that monitor and promote patient safety. This is Risk Management and is the process for determining what, where, when, why and how something could happen that might adversely affect a patient or system outcome and surgery should work to ensure it does not happen again. Surgery should use a variety of tools and tests, both from within the surgery set up and from external sources, to gauge how surgery is performing. Then surgery should respond to the information by extending what works well and finding new and better ways to manage activities that are not as efficient or successful as surgery and Partners would like.
6.2.1 Clinical Governance
It is the way surgery ensures it has in place the right people and right systems so that it continues to provide patients / customers with the highest standards of care. Clinical Governance is implemented through a framework, which promotes consumer participation, clinical effectiveness, as an effective workforce and risk management.
- Infection Prevention and Control is an important Unit that is responsible for monitoring infection prevention and risks to patients and staff, to ensure a safe hospital environment. Surgery should implement measures to reduce infections and the impact of those infections on patients. Surgery staff is encouraged to develop guidelines and policies that guide clinical practice, educate, support and monitor staff in infection control practices including hand hygiene and staff immunisation.
- The Mortality, Morbidity and Major Review to be carried out on patient safety issues. The Committee should review sentinel events, serious adverse events and deaths with the assistance of independent audit undertaken by an external medical expert.
- Patient Safety is everyone’s responsibility and fully investigates types of events to improve practice.
- Surgery is responsible for responding to complaints and concerns. These should be viewed as providing an opportunity to better understand how best to improve its services.
6.2.3 Service quality
It is to be treated as a comparison of expectations with performance.
- A surgery with high service quality will meet customer needs whilst remaining economically competitive. This aim may be achieved by understanding and improving operational processes; identifying problems quickly and systematically; establishing valid and reliable service performance measures and measuring customer satisfaction and other performance outcomes.
- Service quality can be related to service potential (for example, staff qualifications); service process (for example, the quickness of service) and service result (customer satisfaction).
A customer’s expectation of a particular service is determined by factors such as recommendations, personal needs and past experiences. The expected service and the perceived service sometimes may not be equal, thus leaving a gap.
6.2.4 Dimensions of service quality Competence
It is the possession of the required skills and knowledge to perform the service.
Courtesy is the consideration for the customer’s property and a clean and neat appearance of contact personnel, manifesting as politeness, respect, and friendliness.
Credibility is the factors such as trustworthiness, belief and honesty.
Security is the customer feeling free from danger, risk or doubt including physical safety, financial security and confidentiality.
Access is approachability and ease of contact.
Communication means both informing customers in a language they are able to understand and also listening to customers.
Knowing the customer means making an effort to understand the customer’s individual needs, providing individualized attention, recognizing the customer when they arrive and so on.
Tangibles are the physical evidence of the service, for instance, the appearance of the physical facilities, tools and equipment used to provide the service. Also, the appearance of personnel, communication materials and the presence of other customers in the service facility are important too.
Reliability is the ability to perform the promised service in a dependable and accurate manner.
Responsiveness is to the readiness and willingness of surgery staff to help customers in providing prompt timely services.
Empathy: The caring, individualized attention the firm provides to its customers.
6.2.5 Service Quality – GAPs
Customers generally have a tendency to compare the service they ‘experience‘ with the service they ‘expect‘. If the experience does not match the expectation, there arises a gap.
- Gap between consumer expectation and management perception: This gap arises when the management does not correctly perceive what the customers want.
- Gap between management perception and service quality specification: Here the management might correctly perceive what the customer wants, but may not set a performance standard.
- Gap between service quality specification and service delivery: This gap may arise owing to the service personnel. The reasons being poor training, incapability or unwillingness to meet the set service standard.
- Gap between service delivery and external communication: Consumer expectations are highly influenced by statements made by company representatives and advertisements. The gap arises when these assumed expectations are not fulfilled at the time of delivery of the service.
- Gap between expected service and experienced service: This gap arises when the consumer misinterprets the service quality.
6.2.6 Measuring service quality
Measuring service quality may involve both subjective and objective processes. In both cases, it is often some aspect of customer satisfaction, which is being assessed. However, customer satisfaction is an indirect measure of service quality.
- Subjective elements – g. critical incident assessments.
- Objective elements – g. customer complaints.