3 ways hospitals can create an optimal patient experience

With more and more healthcare providers striving to provide the best possible experience of care for patients, a Gallup Business Journal article provides a roadmap for how to spearhead this effort.

Providing a positive patient experience is a "carefully choreographed event," according to the article, and meeting this goal requires an unwavering commitment from all staff members in a healthcare organization.

"The experience starts with a clean, well-decorated patient lounge, continues with empathy from nursing staff, and ends with smiles from employees at checkout," the article states. "This kind of quality experience requires commitment from every healthcare employee."

Gallup consultants have found while working with healthcare providers that a strengths-based management approach is the most effective method for amping up the quality of patients' care experiences. To get the most out of this approach, hospitals must:

  • Understand and appreciate each employee's unique talents. To build an engaged and optimized team, managers first need to discover each person's talents, style, goals, needs and motivations.

  • Identify the tasks and activities that each person does best. With an understanding of what each employee does best, managers can use individual contributions to build a stronger team.

  • Help employees understand, appreciate and invest in their unique talents. The better that managers can help employees apply their dominant talents, the greater each person's and the team's potential will be to consistently act with confidence, direction and excellence.

James Merlino, M.D., chief experience officer for the Cleveland Clinic and author of "Service Fanatics: How to Build Superior Patient Experience the Cleveland Clinic Way," knows first-hand how damaging a negative patient experience can be, he told FierceHealthcare in an exclusive interview in October. His father's "rocky" hospital stay in 2004 at the Cleveland Clinic led to complications and his eventual death, which inspired Merlino to later spearhead the clinic's patient-centered overhaul.

Merlino emphasized in the interview that support for improving the patient experience starts with an organization's leadership."If you don't have the support from the top person in the organization, driving it as a strategic initiative, nothing will change," he said.

Michael Macht-Greenberg, Ph.D., a trained psychologist, the vice president of patient access services at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, told FierceHealthcare he encourages his employees to put themselves in the patients' shoes to make sure they're getting the best experience possible. His philosophy is simple: "It's a relationship; not a transaction."

But building a better provider-patient relationship starts with the relationship between healthcare managers and their employees, as the Business Journal notes, citing decades of research that indicate employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. In the healthcare sector, engaged employees are also more likely to establish an emotional connection with patients, noted a recent Hospital Impact post, and is a major piece of the optimal-patient-experience puzzle.

To learn more:
- read the Gallup Business Journal article

Related Stories:
Patient experience: Personal philosophy, leadership drive improvement
Leading by example: Patient experience the Cleveland Clinic way
The 3 Ps of patient experience
4 unlikely sources of patient experience success strategies
How to deliver a world-class patient experience

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