Where Patient Experience All Begins

It was an accident! That phrase has never been attributed to world-class Patient Experience or Customer Experience. It always happens by design. But doesn’t that make sense?

That age-old expression, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing well”, still applies today. In every industry, especially ones that are notorious for poor service, there are outliers. The most common thread in all of those remarkable companies is the depth and thoroughness of their design efforts.

Does anyone really think that a Rolex accidentally came to be? That organizations like Chick-fil-A get lucky millions of times a day?

How much more so is the need for excellence when providing for people’s healthcare?! The larger the organization, the greater the challenge to systematically and consistently provide the level of experience that both providers and patients desire.

Leadership

So where to start? Another common expression, “It starts at the top”, is absolutely true. If senior leadership is not fully committed to learn about, believe in and strongly support Patient Experience efforts, it just will not work. There may be departments or individuals that provide the level of service the posters on the wall describe, but it will never be consistent enough to be proven true by numerous 5-star patient reviews. It all hinges, first and foremost, on leadership, at the very top.

The next best step for a leader with a compelling vision is to engage with those they are seeking to inspire. I believe there are three kinds of leaders: the Travel Agent, the standard Tour Guide and the Expert Tour Guide.

The leader who is a Travel Agent is often in charge by title only. It’s on their business card, their email signature and on the website. But their leadership is absent of meaningful impact on the organization and the people in it. Like a travel agent, they make sure everything is in place for people to experience a positive, enjoyable trip. But they don’t go with them.

“Let me know how it goes! Send me a postcard!”--distant, not directly involved, lacking in personal connections.

The standard Tour Guide is definitely an improvement! After all, they’re actually going on the trip with the guests. But they’re going through the motions: passion-less, just the basics, nothing extraordinary or unusual, no personalized stories or memorable experiences.

Lastly, there is the Expert Tour Guide--the professional who loves what they do, who infuses personalization, impactful stories, and memorable, distinct interactions that are never forgotten. There’s a gleam in their eye from the excitement of taking guests through THEIR world they love so much.

The Most Important Patient

Which leader are you? Have the responsibilities, expectations, challenges and routines pulled you into the place of a corporate decision-maker rather than a connected leader?

The role of a healthcare executive, especially nowadays, is a daunting task, to be sure. And the ones who devote their constant energies, attention and professionalism contribute far beyond the typical 9 to 5 job.

All the more why the Patient Experience must be an ever-present top priority to leadership. And it starts by caring for the most important patient of all: themselves.

Yes, the most important patient in every hospital facility is the healthcare professional caring for others. Self-care is the most loving thing a caregiver, at every level, can do for others.

No one else can do it for you. And if you do not take the very best care of yourself, it is absolutely guaranteed to negatively impact your other leaders, your entire staff, your patients and your community.

Self-Care: An Absolute Must

You cannot pour from an empty vessel. The most beautiful fountains in the world always overflow from the smallest bowl at the top.

You are that bowl. Start with you. It is humanly impossible to be consistently passionate for the human experience when the most important human is being neglected.

Pour into yourself so that you can pour into others. THAT is where the Patient Experience truly begins.

We’re pulling for you; we are all in this together!

Our Next Blog Post:

Thank you for taking the time to share in our thoughts on the Patient Experience. In our next blog article, we will explore 7 low- or no-cost ways for healthcare professionals to care for themselves.

So stay tuned; you’ll be glad you did!