Some important lessons for those trying to improve the patient experience

Make 20 minutes in your day to watch Dr Bridget Duffy, Former Chief Patient Experience Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, giving a talk on how her experience as a patient changed her outlook:

…Most employees in healthcare today show up for work and forget why they’re crossing that threshold. That this is sacred work and we’re there to help people heal… …the elephant in the room is that this whole system isn’t designed to help the Patient. The whole system today is designed to deliver technology and the customer traditionally is not the Patient it’s the speciality Physician… …a friend of mine called me who was a Patient himself in the past year and he said Bridget I have the most extraordinary experience to tell you about. I was whisked away from my family, taken into this cold sterile operating room and I was just about to be put to sleep my the anaesthesiologist when the surgeon walked into the room and he stopped the procedure and he had the entire team, everyone in the operating room who were all gowned/gloved/masked, and had them come up to me and look me in the eyes and tell me their name, the purpose of their job and that they were there to help me get through this procedure. He said it was transformational and why couldn’t that happen in every operating room?… …we’ve been treating everyone the same, one size fits all, and for this next generation of Patient Consumer this will not be okay. They are not our Parents or our Grandparents… …why anyone has to wait today in a waiting room I don’t understand. Any restaurant in New York would be out of business if you had to sit there as my husband says why can’t we fix that? We don’t ask what their other needs or concerns are, or what it’s like to have this illness or how it’s impacting your family. I mean even this open table to make a reservation they ask you is there anything special? Is it your anniversary? and you show up and you have immediate access to the restaurant… …to get an idea about what’s going on in your own organisation a friend of mine is the CEO of a system in Tennessee and he said Bridget just go sit in your own emergency room department or in an outpatient clinic which I have done and he said sit there and watch as Patients go up to the counter and what is the first thing that’s said to them as they approach? It’s not good morning how are you? It’s what’s your insurance or what’s your Patient ID number… …not once will they say “Good Morning you look like you’re in pain what can we do for you today?” but it would be that simple… …not all Patients are the same and we really should know in advance what Patients preferences are, most Patients want great technology and a quality outcome in fact they assume that. One colorectal surgeon said to me that on an airline I expect to get from point a to point b but I don’t expect to get “a wench at the ticket counter that destroys my entire day” and the same is true of Patients… …and the ultimate test that Eric Chapman from Tennessee gave me is the ‘Mother Test’: you’ll know you’re getting there with your work if you can pull up at the door of the hospital you’re working at with your mother and drop her off at the door and pick her up a week later and know that she was treated safely and competently and compassionately by every single person that touched her…

I think the “Mother Test” is even more important as we shift from a front door to the screen of a device in a Patients pocket. Does your service pass the “Mother Test”?

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