Our analysis of internal factors for our increased services hours has been positive. For all remote clinics on post, they begin sick call at 0600 hrs, so if they need further blood work that can not be provided in their respective clinics, they can come to the hospital and not have to wait for our laboratory to open. Our external factors that are primarily affected are retirees that prefer to come in early and also patients that have fasting samples. Patient satisfaction will be increased by personalized services, follow-ups as well as the changed time. They will get the services at their convenient time.
As far as our competition in the civilian sector, most area laboratories do not provide any services prior to 0700 hrs. The most notable laboratory in the Tacoma area is Qwest Laboratories, and they don’t open until 0700 hrs. We also checked with the local hospitals and only one provides services before 0700 hrs, and they open at 0630 hrs for fasting samples only. So, with our services being provided earlier and without exception to type of services requested, we believe that we will become the sole source for blood draws for anyone that needs services in the early morning hours.
An opportunity that exists in increasing the hours of our clinic is that we can ensure that all our patients are seen at times that are best suited for their personnel schedules and helps with fasting specimens. One of the best things that we can provide a patient is the speedy service. This will ensure the arrival rate does not out do the service rate. Traditionally, no one likes to get their blood drawn, so their satisfaction with that part of their visit is usually never that good. You do get the occasional compliment of not feeling a thing, but more often than not, you get the patient that says, “I don’t like needles.
” Well, no kidding! But that is an issue with our services that we need to deal with on a daily basis. So, since we can’t make the hurt go away, the areas that we can improve upon is our wait times and service hours. As discussed earlier, a big threat that we face is our reputation of never having a long wait. That means that when we do get behind, patients tend to complain a lot quicker. It is amazing how many people can complain because they had to wait 15 minutes when they usually just walk right in. Our usual level of patient satisfaction becomes a threat that we must maintain our high standards of patient care.
By offering these increased hours, we need to ensure that our patient wait times remain below 15 minutes. Outside facilities also threaten our beneficiary load. There is a VA hospital in nearby Lakewood, WA, and also in Seattle, WA, that these beneficiaries could choose to go to. A lot of younger veterans don’t like to go to these hospitals since the majority of patients are older, but the option is still there. If we can’t provide them the level of care that they want, when they want it, they will choose another facility in the region.