Quality and cost are commonly discussed as key decision factors when choosing a healthcare network; although it may be patient experience which is the ultimate factor. Cost is based on your insurance plan, while quality is generally expected, leaving patient experience.
Patient experience is similar to customer service at a restaurant, hotel or anywhere else one may seek fantastic service. Patient experience occurs at many levels in healthcare. It is scheduling an appointment, waiting in the office, how quickly you see the provider, time provider spends with you, prompt follow-up, correct billing, and so on.
As patients, while some factors may be more important than others, we hope to receive a great patient experience from beginning to end. The Beryl Institute defines patient experience as the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.
Interactions are touchpoints of people, processes, policies, communications, action and environment. Culture is the organization’s vision, values and people. Perceptions are what are recognized, understood and remembered by patients and others; and vary based on individual experiences. Continuum of care is before, during and after the day of care.
When reviewing this definition, patient experience comes down to culture, communication and trusted relationships. Does the healthcare network have a culture of caring, compassion and respect for each other, patients and community? Is communication good between the staff, and with the patients and family? Do patients trust the providers and staff?
Holy Family Memorial is making concerted efforts on both culture and patient experience as we understand the importance of these factors and recognize they can always be improved. They are both clearly related because an amazing culture of engaged staff and providers will provide a fantastic experience for patients, families and our community. They go hand-in-hand.
Patient experience starts with simple things such as the look of the building and grounds when entering, smiling faces from staff, and warm greetings by volunteers. It moves to communication which drives the continuum of care.
Much of patient experience also includes empathy which is recognizing the emotions of others and being able to “put yourself in another person’s shoes” by understanding their perspective and reality. This is empathetic listening, thinking beyond oneself, and demonstrating caring and compassion for the patient and family.
Fortunately, respect and compassion are two of HFM’s values which are a good foundation for patient experience. Maya Angelou has a famous quote which states, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Patient experience is about creating a unique, wonderful experience for each person who experiences healthcare; because let’s face it, if we are at a healthcare network, it’s usually because we’re not feeling well. Patient experience can shape and positively impact this opportunity to make the best of a situation which may not be positive.
An employee recently communicated how fortunate we are to be named Holy Family Memorial because we can help bring the “holy” and “family” to our patients and community through a wonderful patient experience. As she said, “my head buzzes at the possibilities.” We look forward to the opportunity to provide this to the community and encourage you to seek this out wherever you choose to receive your healthcare.