Health care providers are trained to provide excellent care, but we are not trained in customer service, patient interaction skills, or the patient experience.
What is the patient experience? The Beryl Institute defines it as “The sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care”. It encompases physicians manner, timely compassionate nursing care, clean surroundings and respectful and courteous treatment.
What is more important? Patient care or experience? Both.
Measures like respect, courtesy, emotional connection, and listening are a proxy for quality of care. We need to connect with patients and demonstrate empathy and compassion. It is simply the right thing to do.
Every patient encounter in the Surgery Program must be measured daily. We use a modified version of the Ontario Hospital Association patient experience survey, and we started with Surgical Day Care, progressed to Ambulatory Care and then soon the Inpatient Unit. We want to train all caregivers in the art of great customer service.
We will monitor and improve the patient experience in the Surgical Program- measuring and improving all aspects of the surgical patient’s encounters in the hospital for the “total experience of care”. We will have a relationship mindset, not a task mindset.