Drive hospital bottom line with culture of kindness, compassion

Hospitals that want to stand out among their competitors must emphasize kindness and compassion, according to Forbes contributor Rob Asghar.

"Compassion and kindness aren't expensive, but the yield is priceless," Lloyd H. Dean, president and CEO of Dignity Health, a California-based non-profit healthcare system, told Forbes. Hospitals must hold all members of the organization accountable and hold them to high standards of kindness and compassion, Dean said. Furthermore, he said, leaders must make caregivers and frontline workers feel valued and respected so they can provide care for others in the best way possible. 

Dean recounted a story about a cancer patient undergoing cancer treatment, who wrote a letter of thanks after a Dignity housekeeper encouraged her and shared her own battle with cancer. "That's what the world needs to be more about," he told Asghar. "People would live longer, and they would be more prosperous. Society would be better."

Dignity, which operates 300 care centers in 21 states, chose to keep its doors open at four hospitals in bankrupt municipalities, despite not yielding a profit, because they are a piece of the system's core mission, Chief Operating Officer Marvin O'Quinn told Forbes.

The system pushes a series of initiatives other hospitals can consider to show everyday kindness and compassion, according to the article: 

  • Senior leaders participate in an hour of rounds each morning with patients and staff, followed by discussions about what staff need to do their job well

  • Staff can take care of a patient's pet at home so the patient won't worry during recovery

  • Staff never leave a terminal patient to die alone

  • The system donates to charitable causes and organizations

Meanwhile, UCLA Health System in Los Angeles made human touch a top priority after Chief Executive Officer David Feinberg said patients would reject even the most state-of-the-art medical instruments if they were too cold, Becker's Hospital Review reported. The hospital has since moved from the 38th percentile to the 99th percentile in response to the question, "would you refer us to a friend?"

In the United Kingdom, BMI Healthcare introduced the "I love the 6Cs" initiative in which nurses try to incorporate care, compassion, courage, competence, commitment and communication into every aspect of patient care, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the Forbes article
- read the Becker's article