An emotional intelligence program for customer service forms the basis of organisational culture for improving patient care in a new flagship program.

Background:

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is a non-profit medical corporation based in Doha, Qatar.  It operates various hospitals and clinics throughout the country employing around 17,000 medical staff and 3,000 hospitality staff.

HMC is committed to continual improvement and is becoming an internationally recognised, world-class, center for healthcare excellence in the Gulf Region for the new era of health.  In line with this and in view of the imminent opening of the new Diabetes Centre, HMC needs people who will take responsibility for delivering patient-centred service and working together to do so. As Dr Hanan Mohamed Al-Kuwari, HMC’s Managing Director wrote in the annual report, “This new era is symbolized by a culture of patient-centred care and teamwork.”

Along with expansions and refurbishments, the Diabetes Centre within Hamad General Hospital is undergoing extensive changes to the way it operates, moving from a conventional hospital department to becoming a fully integrated patient care centre.  The head of the centre, Dr Zirie, in conjunction with his senior team, determined that patients would benefit from the whole department providing a greater customer-focused level of service.  Justine Ormandy, Director of Hospitality Training, took responsibility to implement a process to achieve these goals.

Implementation:

The Six Seconds “At the HEART of Service” program was customised to meet the program goals. Everyone in the department – Consultants, Specialists, Doctors, Nurses, Dieticians, Accountants and Administrators – attended the one-day workshops.  “At the HEART of Service” provides break-though skills for multiplying customer centred service.  Through a process of experiential learning, participants increase self-awareness, and develop their emotional intelligence to positively impact each interaction helping to build brand loyalty and achieve the HMC’s vision of delivering the highest quality care with the utmost compassion.  The program focuses on key interactions that create patient-centred service.

Unlike typical customer service programs that simply prescribe a set of behaviors, the EQ approach focuses on the underlying drivers that will create outstanding relationships.  By tapping into the intelligence of their own and customers’ emotions, staff learn to authentically and meaningfully show their caring in a way that creates trust and loyalty with patients and their families.

To more fully integrate the “Heart of Service” framework into the centre, those in leadership positions in the department, attended “Service Leadership” which focuses on sustaining customer-centred service.  As part of this workshop, leaders produced action plans to implement within the departments to maintain and sustain performance levels.  The Service Leadership program focuses on creating a climate where employees genuinely want to care – with the premise that the interactions between leaders and staff become the model of the interactions that occur between staff and customers.

Results:

Through these programs, the staff and leaders have begun to utilise new ways of understanding their interactions with patients, new vocabulary for communicating with patients and with one another, and numerous practical tools for re-directing customer interactions toward the goals.

Dr Zirie has committed to leveraging these methods as part of the very culture of the new center, “The insights and skills of At the Heart of Service are a cornerstone for our approach to improving patient care, and I can already see this framework improving the way staff interacts with patients and with one another.”

Justine Ormandy, Director of Hospitality Training, was enthusiastic about the programs: “Based on the Diabetes delegates feedback and a very enthusiastic Dr Zirie the Hamad team feel the HEART of Service training workshops are something ALL departments in Hamad General Hospital should go through.”

Jayne Morrison

Jayne Morrison is the Regional Director of Six Seconds, Middle East & Africa, based in Dubai - UAE.She leads Emotional Intelligence Certifications and supports the EQ Network from the Arab Gulf through to South Africa.She can be reached through http://www.6seconds.org/connect/mea

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