Patient Experience From the Other Side
Every day it seems the topic of the patient experience appears in the healthcare literature. Most of the articles come from the hospital operations or business strategy angle. In fact I’ve written a few of those articles myself as it relates to practice development.
For the past several weeks I’ve have the unfortunate opportunity to witness the ‘experience’ from the other side. I have spent considerable amounts of time in an East Coast world-renowned hospital with a special friend of mine who is approaching the 60-day mark of recovery from a serious illness. If I had known at the beginning that I was going to have this level of exposure to the ‘inside world’ of the hospital I would have kept a journal. It has been nothing short of life changing.
Never before have I seen so many people in one place display so much vulnerability, pain and despair. Room after room sits patients who are at the mercy of their caregivers, putting complete trust in their decisions and actions. From handing them the correct medications and effectively inserting an IV to accurately reading the physicians’ orders and then accurately logging the updates – steps are taken every minute of every day to make patients comfortable and healthy again.
But that’s just the part of the experience. Other experience factors are more subjective and complicated to measure – there’s the timely response to needs of comfort, controlling the ‘weekend plans’ chatter outside of patients’ rooms, and the hope and optimism every patient desires to see and hear with every staff person that walks in the room.
I’m amazed at the countless variables that continuously stream signs and symbols to patients and their companions that shape the way they think and feel. Ultimately, all of these signals make the complete experience what it is.
What I have learned during my days on “the other side” is the immeasurable importance of the patient experience. It’s more than just one of our industry’s hot topics. While it’s necessary to grow and retain business, it’s absolutely necessary to the healing and survival of the sick and injured.