Identify and rectify the pain points in your service delivery

Whether it’s a professional service, the intake of prescriptions or even how counselling is conducted, there is always an opportunity for pain points to occur. Pain points, or friction points, often occur when there is a junction in the process. Some examples of these junctions are where an exchange of information occurs, there is a physical handover point or a patient interaction.

Identifying these pain points and systemically exploring solutions to rectify them is a key ingredient to improving efficiency and minimising error. If this is true, why do we spend so much time continuing to work with our clunky systems?

While a physical refit may not be possible and finances might not be available to improve technology or provide additional resources, there are many things you can do to rectify the outcome. Rectifying the outcome starts with these six steps

1. Identify the pain point

The first step is simple. Answer these question ‘What is occurring (or not occurring) that results in you not achieving your desired outcome?

2. Collate the data

This is where many opportunities for resolution break down. We ‘assume’ we know the problem without exploring what’s in front of our eyes. Imagine that you are a consultant that has been asked to provide a solution to your problem and it’s the first time you have laid eyes on the challenge.

  • What happens before, during and after the pain point?
  • Is a mud map helpful to map how the service physically moves through the pharmacy?
  • What physical interactions occur and between whom?
  • If technology is involved, what electronic interactions occur and between whom?

3. Ask your team what you have missed

Have a fresh set of eyes look at the data you have identified and ask them what else they see and if you have missed anything. When considering who to ask, consider the people who are involved and the people who have the best vantage point of the delivery of the service. This helps ensure you have covered all bases.

Review the data

Sometimes when we’re in the thick of things we can’t see the forest from the trees. Get up above the action and take in the data you have found.

  • Are there themes that you see?
  • What specific points could be contributing to friction?

Brainstorm solutions

For each friction point…

  • Where could you eliminate steps, decrease clutter, and improve efficiency?
  • What training could improve the outcomes?
  • What physical changes in the pharmacy could improve the service? For example, signage, location or resources, and access to technology.

6. Make a plan forward

Not everything on your list of solutions may be implementable so consider…

  • What can you implement now?
  • If there are multiple things, in what order will you implement them?
  • Who needs to know about the changes made and what do they need to know?
  • How will you communicate the adjustments?
  • How will you monitor the success or the necessity for further adjustment?
  • What feedback will you provide your team and when?

Don’t feel you have to stick with your clunky systems. By going through these six simple steps you can actively identify and rectify pain points in your service delivery to shift from clunky to efficient improving the outcomes for everyone.

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