What patients really want from hospitals

Subtle changes can make all the difference to improve the patient experience and they aren't expensive. Patients simply want respect and for healthcare workers to treat them with care and empathy, notes patient safety expert Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., in a post for U.S. News & World Report.

Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and the senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine, writes that listening to the true needs of patients will help hospitals provide patient-centered care.

Patient satisfaction surveys at Johns Hopkins show that patients want high-quality clinical care and safety, he writes, but the list of improvements aren't difficult to fulfill. Patients want a good night's sleep, with no one interrupting them throughout the night to take their vital signs or draw blood. They want the nurses' station to be quiet at night and the television in their rooms turned off, he says. And healthcare workers can show their respect by knocking on the door before entering patient rooms, introducing themselves and looking the patients in the eye when they speak to them.

The other items on his list also demonstrate a commitment to patient care, engagement and communication. It means healthcare workers must carefully explain what they are doing as they are doing it. That requires clinicians to use plain language to translate medical information and provide opportunities for physicians to observe and have hands-on practice for patient engagement, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Studies show that healthcare workers who show compassion also improve patient satisfaction. Compassionate care may mean merely asking nurses to spend more time at a patient's bedside. 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 last year.

To learn more:
- read Pronovost's post