A hospital exec's perspective from the other side of the bed

Guest post by Raymond Hino, president and CEO of the Sonoma West Medical Center in California

High-quality patient experience is always a concern for me, as I believe we must make our patients' time with us as pleasant as possible. Until recently, though, I haven't had much experience as a patient myself. The most serious procedure I have ever had done in a hospital is an inguinal hernia repair, and my experience was very good. That couldn't have anything to do with the fact that I was also the CEO of that facility, right?

But a more recent hospital experience in a facility, where I was not known, has given me a different perspective. A little more than a year ago, I was visiting my mother-in-law and brother-in-law, who were both inpatients at a local community hospital on the same day. This hospital has a great reputation. I was looking forward to seeing how they were doing and to get a closer look "under the hood." Little did I know that before the day was done, I myself, would be joining them as a patient at that hospital.

While visiting my brother-in-law's patient room, I experienced dizziness and fainted. It was an isolated event that I now attribute it to a very stressful time at work, a long day of travel to get to the hospital and poor nutritional habits for several days leading up this day. As a result of my fainting spell I got to see firsthand the hospital staff spring into action. I was whisked from the cardiac floor down to the emergency department on a gurney while fully awake. When I arrived in the ED, I protested that this was all a big mistake and that it was a brief lapse. I was ready to be discharged.

Not so fast. I would not be released from the hospital until it was understood why I fainted. OK--that makes sense. I do have to admit, however, that I was not a very cooperative patient. Soon that translated into not being friendly to the staff either. I still wanted to go home and get some dinner. I was assured that I only needed to stay while some testing was completed and then I could go. I had never been a patient in a hospital for this type of situation before.

Read the full commentary at Hospital Impact