Patient Experience

Making changes to deliver on patient experience.

When operational business processes or staff acceptance make it difficult to deliver on patient experience; how do you choose between operational efficiency, staff acceptance and patient experience?


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Participant comments on Patient Experience

  1. I don’t think that patient experience and operational efficiency or staff acceptance have to be a trade off. Certainly you need to be efficient to run the business side of things, but that doesn’t have to be at the expense of patient satisfaction. Access and friendliness are going to be your biggest returns. If you business processes are making it difficult to deliver, they need to be changed- else you may not have much business to worry about. As for staff acceptance, they are in the business of taking care of people, so they should want to make patient experience a good one. If they are luke warm, you need to find a way to get them excited about it or cut them loose. Nothing will kill your business or reputation faster than grumpy staff interaction with patients. Conversely, you won’t need to advertise if your staff is really kind and friendly to the patients because word of mouth will spread that your business is the place to go for …
    Ask your staff what they think would make for a better patient experience. They will be able to tell you what the barriers are. Maybe have a patient survey asking what is there three most important aspects of the visit. We’ve done these things and it has been quite helpful. We revisit this issue all the time.

  2. In poring through the patient satisfaction at our center, it was very interesting to see what truly correlates with overall success on a survey. In fact, it seems in the health care world the biggest focus is on reducing wait times, increasing efficiency and giving the care you said you’d give in a timely manner. What’s fascinating is that at least for us, the “soft skills” really are what drive the survey. How much time did the MD spend with you, did all levels of staff communicate with you, professionalism/courtesy of the staff.

    This sadly is a really difficult problem to solve. The challenge of meeting operational efficiency burdens our staff, and really the only way to ensure a great environment for our patients is having a workforce that is dedicated, and more importantly, has fun in their jobs. Success stories internally many times result for physician leads giving up some control, and sharing some of the best parts of the job with a nurse. The clinic that comes to mind has the nurse make the phone calls stating that a patient is in remission.

  3. Patient experience encompasses the range of interactions that patients have with the health care system, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses, and staff in hospitals, physician practices, and other health care facilities. As an integral component of health care quality, patient experience includes several aspects of health care delivery that patients value highly when they seek and receive care, such as getting timely appointments, easy access to information, and good communication with health care providers.

    Past experience of patients and operational efficiency of hospital staff and doctors add value to healthcare services by ensuring that patient’s emotional and psychological support is taken care off, relieving fear and anxiety, patients are treated with respect, kindness, dignity, compassion and understanding. Effective treatment delivered by trusted professionals, participation of patient in decisions and respect and understanding for beliefs, values, concerns, preferences and their understanding of their condition give the best experience to patients. The challenges all the healthcare providers have is how to maintain the best patients experience consistently.

  4. Understanding and improving how patients experience their care is a key component to successfully delivering high-quality services that are based on their needs. It drives better outcomes across the entire organization when a patient experience is given a priority.
    Efficient processes and good clinical outcomes are critical components of a patient’s experience. Experience is also determined by the physical environment patients are in and how they feel about the care they receive, including the way staff interact with them.

    Improving the experiences of all patients starts by treating each of them individually to ensure they receive the right care, at the right time, in the right way for them. I personally think that there is no single path to improving patient experience, we need to bundle the following components that can contribute:
    • A healing environment
    • Transformational Leadership with a clear vision
    • Desired values and behaviors embedded across the whole organization
    • Engaged staff, patients, families, and caregivers
    • Greater clinical engagement and professional
    • Empowerment

  5. I think the balance is really important as there appear to be tension in the 3 components but also opportunities if one can find ways to handle the 3 separately. If one is truly patient centric, then it is important to see it from the patient journal. If the patient journal is optimal, I find this usually also means a efficient operations, so the 2 can go hand in hand. The physical environment is important. This element may mean some investment but often what is important may not be expensive to provide e.g. vending machine for drinks, quiet environemnt, wi-fi access, comfortable chair, etc. One thing we realized too in our patient focus group meeting is that communications and expectation setting is very important. If they patient is given the right expectation and is kept informed and have things explained clearly and have things to occupy their times and is managed by friendly staff, they will have a good experience. To deliver this, the staff are important and need to have the right temperament, personalities and motivation to deliver this and if delivering great patient experience is important for the organisation, then this needs to a key component in staff recruitment. If you have the right people, then the buy-in will be easier.

  6. I think we need to be active in handling above three components.
    For example
    Is enhancing patient experience really mean decreasing operational efficiency ? Isn’t having better patient experience means having more satisfied patients, meaning a patients who will visit our facility again and recommend it to other patients which will increase the revenue as a result and will affect the efficiency positively later on ?
    So in my opinion NO, enhancing patient experience doesn’t mean decreasing efficiency if we did it in a proper way ofcaurse.
    What’s the reason behind staff resistance toward enhancing patient experience ?
    We need to see their reasons and tackle the problems and solve it.
    It need a change in the service culture in the hospital.
    I always tell my staff.
    All of them, has one responsibility. To make sure our patients are satisfied.
    Patient satisfaction is not only due to successful surgery done to him, but also his / her satisfaction is related to smiling staff faces, proper answer to their question, compassionate medical staff, cooperative front office staff, clean rooms, good foods…extra.
    To make staff believe in above,it needs continuous education and awareness . We discuss these issues in grand staff meetings and during staff training programs. And we created good staff involvement in this regard.

  7. From my perspective, patient experience and staff satisfaction are inextricably linked – if a nurse/md/social worker feels their work environment and own satisfaction is a 2/5, how can we then expect them to turn around and deliver a 5/5 experience to their patient across a number of dimensions whether that is “softer skills” or the technical aspects of the patient plan. Often times staff understand their own environments and patients better than anyone else, and many are already implementing informal procedures to make their lives easier (satisfaction/experience) and deliver better care.

    1. I totally agree. Culture maken culture.

  8. I do believe that there is no need to compromise on operational efficiency to enhance patient experience. On the contrary operational efficiency only goes to enhance patient experience. As an example if the processes are oiled well to facilitate a quick discharge of a patient – it is being both operationally efficient and enhancing patient experience.
    Staff acceptance is a different issue all together. The staff no doubt have to buy into the importance of patient experience as means to sustenance i.e building a sustainable business model. Poor experience means migration of patients to the competition and ultimately loss of jobs or shut down. Hence the importance of patient experience needs to be emphasized regularly with staff as an absolute necessity.

  9. Bottlenecks in care are frustrating for patients. Staff can be used to identify and rectify them, which improves efficiency and patient experience simultaneously.

  10. In theory, you shouldn’t have to choose because staff failing to see the benefits of great patient experience, and the resulting impact on operational efficiency, may mean that they are not the right fit for the organization. The patient experience is critical to your success and failing to focus on that will result in a financial impact.

  11. I think the important element is not to choose, but the are all interconnected to become a priority. THe intersection of safety, quality and patient experience, with the overlay of employee engagement, elevates the importance of all of the elements. In terms of staff acceptance this also comes from elevating the importance of patient experience to that of safety and quality and giving patient experience forums the same visibility of the other forums.

    1. I agree with Jkal. And key to employee engagement and staff acceptance is understanding the WHY behind the operational asks that we make to enhance quality & safety. Without the WHY, any additional tasks become simply more work and increases the risk for work arounds, etc. As for the patient experience, the hospitality industry has highlighted that the customer experience will never exceed the employee experience. Very interconnected.

  12. Happy staff makes for the other components to align. If the people working in the environment are not satisfied- for whatever reasons, the whole structure will not work. One way to at least attemt to have more job satisfied staff is to truly engage them in decision making as much as feasible and openly explain where that is not possible. Including open and honest discussion on difficult decisions.

  13. Tough situation although!
    You need operational efficiency for viability and if you are not viable how can you make patients happy and staff gets paid. But if patients are not served well then there is a challenge of scale. Its the people who are gonna deliver what you plan. lets take employees into confidence to get both the things done- efficiency and experience. Without employees being on the same page everything is difficult. Lets begin with small training and make them a stakeholders in the process.

  14. operational efficiency, staff acceptance and patient experience should go hand to hand. the key is to find a balance between patient and employee engagement to reach the desired level of operational efficiency. When employees are engaged, patient satisfaction improves.

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