I’ve worked in hospitals for my entire career, and as a result, I’ve long considered myself an expert when it comes to navigating the healthcare system as a patient. But a year ago today, despite my “expertise”, my entire perspective changed:
As a healthy 28 year-old with a high-deductible, it took some coaxing to get me to the ER. I knew it would take a while, so like a good consultant, I even brought my laptop. What I didn’t know was that within a few hours, I would have my chest open on an operating table.
Until this point, I saw ‘patient experience’ as a metric. As a consultant, I could recite best practices for patient experience from the clinic to the cafeteria. But as a patient, only one thing mattered to me – having providers who were attentive, competent and caring. I would have overlooked egregious wait times and dreadful amenities for the nurse who sat by my bed until my family arrived, or the anesthesiologist who kept me calm when I struggled with sedation.
Objectively, I know that patient experience is shaped by numerous interactions across the continuum, and hospitals are wise to optimize them all; but to me, there is no shiny, new strategy or innovation that can compete with a culture of compassionate providers.
What defines a great patient experience to you?