Service lessons from Duke Hospital

As a UNC basketball fan, it always pains me a bit to talk positively about Duke.  But, in the realm of service design, Duke Hospital is doing some nice things.   Between my son’s asthma and my sleep apnea, I’ve found myself visiting one particular facility a half dozen times in the past year.   Prior to these experiences and my son’s birth a few years back, I simply hadn’t spent much time in hospitals.  So, I may be giving them credit for things that are quite standard in hospital settings. But, that said, they have some nice service design features. And I’ve often felt student affairs professionals can mimic some of the better practices of health care, since we share some similarities in the way we provide services.

For example:

  • At Duke you can check-in online prior to your arrival then use a kiosk at your clinic to notify the staff of your arrival.
  • The various elevators are color coded, making the  maze-like halls easier to navigate.
  • Nearly each time I’ve found myself in a line, a worker comes from behind the desk area to begin checking in with me before I get to the front of the line.

Each of the above experiences has been positive and impressive.

That’s not to say things are perfect.  I do find that often our medical records, which one would think would be easily retrieved, don’t seem to follow us from meeting to meeting easily.  We in student affairs share this problem — how much of our work would be improved by knowing more about our students past experiences across our various divisions and units prior to our engagement with them?   Some schools have pursued a co-currcular transcript model.  But is anyone doing anything to make sure that we on the student affairs staff are better informed about our engagements across offices?

This is a fairly unfocused post.  But, I’m wondering if anyone else has considered parallels between health care service and student affair service.  Have you noticed anything interesting we should steal, or problems that might parallel potential improvements we’ve not even considered?

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1 Comment

  1. thanks for the feedback with their service. i guess i have to take note of this. 🙂


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