Medical-related businesses are one of the strongest growth areas for SMEs so it’s no surprise that one Sydney medical practice has been gathering praise for its innovative practice from the NSW business chamber – they were the Sydney Small Business of the year in 2012, and since then their reputation has been steadily growing.
One key thing they did to stand out was to really consider the needs of their patients. They developed an app that manages patients’ appointments and other information, keeping time spent in a waiting room to a minimum and adding some convenience to booking an appointment with the doctor.
Managing the space to control experience
Their care for their patients, who are in many ways their customers, extends even further; they take the over-all experience of people spending time in the practice into consideration by decorating to create a calm but stimulating atmosphere.
Rooms are devoid of the standard “motel art” type of pictures, and are instead thoughtfully decorated to take patients’ minds off their appointments. It’s just one aspect of how they put their focus where it should be; on the people using their service.
Ensuring the "community" isn't not narrowly defined
Whilst there is also a clear focus on professionalism and providing a high level of care that is evident from simply browsing their site. They go further than the sometimes sparse information you find on other medical centre sites and instead give patients in-depth information on the rights, and issues that are relevant to their business and the community. They are active campaigners for “Closing the gap” which aims to level the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health statistics, by promoting both physical and mental health.
A holistic view and promotion of health care is noted as a way to successfully achieve those goals, according to the Australian Institute of Health Services.
How to stand out when you provide a vital service
Community involvement should be on the cards for any medical practice, but the reality is very different. The combination between an innovative and up-to-date ways to communicate with the practice and the genuine care for their patients is a winning combination. Medical practices are of course more than a business but there is still a competitive landscape, especially in densely populated areas, and New South Wales has one of the highest instances of medical practices in relation to the population.
Source: IBISWorld Industry Report Q8511
Tech and medicine
Technology is obviously a huge part of the medical trade in all ways; innovation is built into the fabric and it’s an area where innovation isn’t simply a way to get ahead but a life or death quest. Still, it is a business and the convenience afforded to patients is incredibly valuable and hopefully something that will be copied by other medical practices. Many people put of going to the doctor’s office due to time constraints and finding it difficult to prioritise their health, so any assistance they can get in terms of making the visit more efficient is a step in the right direction. In personalised medicine, care is taken to ensure the patient does not suffer unnecessary side-effects, by taking into account various aspects that make up their health profile. Glebe Medical Centre does something similar in how they allow a personalised service to handle information in order to make everything run as smoothly as possible.
Lessons for others - whether business or service provider
The upshot of this that is easily applicable to other businesses is that a crucial step in building a well-received, noted business is to thoroughly investigate what your customers need, rather than what you assume they want. There may be a significant disparity between the two and as has often been said, the problem with an innovative new idea is that people don’t yet know they need it.
A way for patients to better manage their appointments is perhaps not an earth shattering new invention but it is certainly a thoughtful addition to their existing services, and a clear sign of the respect they have for their patients and their community. As medical schools are expected to fulfill what is termed their social mission - that is their responsibility to the larger society and the smaller community, so should medical centres be, albeit on a smaller scale.