Look beyond surveys and online reviews to improve patient experience

Patient centered

Healthcare leaders must understand the patient experience on both the large and small scale, but widely-distributed surveys and online reviews are not enough to get a complete picture. Hospitals must dig deeper to gather individual insights from patients.

Paul Rosen, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College, writes in a blog post for NEJM Catalyst that providers must look beyond spreadsheets and use other tools that focus on individuals. These observations, along with surveys and reviews can then become "key drivers to redesign entire care experiences for all patients.”

In the blog, he points to three ways hospitals can get more individualized feedback on the patient experience:

  • Follow patients: The Patient and Family Centered Care Innovation Center at UPMC, for example, gathers data from the patient perspective by shadowing patients through their entire care process, according to the article. The observations can identify areas for improvement--for example, at UPMC, the team discovered that some postoperative patients waited outside in the rain for someone to pick them up from the hospital.
  • Create a hassle map to identify potential problem areas throughout the care experience, including the emergency department and the operating room. 
  • Develop an empathy map: To get a deeper look at what patients are feeling throughout the care process, track the emotional responses of individuals as you shadow them. Seeing those responses first-hand offers strong motivation to redesign areas of care that may be lacking, Rosen writes.

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