What if The Patient Experience Had Neither a Start or End Date?
October 12, 2018
I recently read a blog from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement titled, Trying to Improve Patient Experience? Don’t Chase “Random Acts of Goodness”. The article inspired me to think about why the Patient Experience (PX) initiatives have required “buy-in” from employees. My assumption has long been that for those who choose to work at a hospital in any position, being kind, courteous, considerate, and respectful to the patients and their families was a bottom line requirement.
The Current State of the Patient Experience
However, Joshua Eng’s blog points out that it is not uncommon for the patient experience to be isolated from other corporate/organizational goals. The blog references Helen Macie, Chief Transformation Office for MemorialCare, as describing the focus of healthcare organizations being more about “reputation, marketing, and planning” rather than authentically understanding and acting on what matters from the patients point-of-view. “Data showed that listening and conveying concern were far more important to patients than maintaining best practices and short wait times.”
Healthcare organizations write and speak about the patient experience as if the PX is somehow separated from the challenges being dealt with on a daily basis. The PX has yet to be so well-embedded in an organization’s culture that it cannot be separated from all other values and objectives. In my opinion, it should drive admitting, billing, housekeeping, each diagnostic test, all the paperwork, medical history, interviews, meals, sheets, privacy curtains, windows, and on and on …
This is the overwhelming nature of the patient experience: it is everything and everyone. It informs and re-informs patients about their future and then influences whether the future is worth living, whether the integrity and intact-ness of each patient survives a serious illness.
From Patient Experience to Human Experience
The Beryl Institute has pushed past the patient experience to identify the human experience as the gold standard, collapsing the walls of the silo of the patient experience. The next step is to place the patient experience within the staff experience, as they inform each other and merge to be inseparable.
The Patient Experience is not merely a line item in a budget or a department or a ‘best practice’. Actually, it is the whole budget, the whole organization, and everything that happens.
For every patient, their experience begins long before they enter the hospital and continues long after.
“What if The Patient Experience had neither a start or end date?” We were not there when the patient experience started and will not be there when it ends, if it does. We have but a brief and critical time to influence the lives of those we care for.
If you’d like to learn more about the patient experience here are a few of our top resources:
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