A doctor’s thoughts on the patient experience (applicable to all teams)

June 13, 2014 By Mark Hurst 1 Comment

An emergency doctor gets hit by a car while on a business trip, receives indifferent treatment at the local hospital, and years later is still struggling to recover.

Writing in HealthAffairs about the incident (the whole column is an excellent read), Charlotte Yeh argues that the guiding principle in healthcare should be “to know the patient, hear the patient, and respond to what matters to the patient. It should make no difference where you practice; any provider can do this. [We] can’t hide behind the excuses of ‘we’re too busy’ or ‘it’s too chaotic’ to avoid connecting with every patient.” Her patient experience shows that that’s not the case today.

Replace “patient” with “customer” and this becomes applicable to any organization today.

Make the same replacement here:

We have become test-happy and technology-powered. These tools may provide us with good data on the patient, but this doesn’t mean we’re serving the good of the patient.

Sound familiar? Connecting with customers has to be more than just automated, check-the-box solutions.

For the health care industry in particular, Yeh suggests reconsidering how we define “good”:

Despite some national consensus on quality metrics, we have continued struggling to measure “the good of the patient.” Still, quality metrics cannot alone advance the good of the patient. Focusing on clinical measures in particular is not enough as long as other measures that focus on patient-desired outcomes are ignored. If we don’t understand what patients’ expectations are, we can’t engage patients effectively in their care.

Read Yeh’s story here. Also, be super-careful crossing the street.

COMMENTS

  1. Sue Larsen June 15, 2014 8:55 pm

    Thank you for the poignant reminder that delivering good medicine always comes back to the basics- communication. The patient is the best diagnostic tool in a doctor’s armament and their continual involvement and feedback should seen as pivotal in providing the best healthcare possible.

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