Reprise: Is Anyone Listening? A quick service tale

Blanchard LeaderChat

bigstock-Close-up-of-female-doctor-usin-46247311Walking out to the supermarket with a bag in each hand, I felt “pain” as I took a step. It was like a snap in my foot and PAIN, like a pinch – ouch! I got to the car and drove home.  My foot was swollen and it hurt–especially if I put any weight on it. As soon as I put the groceries away, I called and got an appointment with the Physician’s Assistant at my doctor’s office.

(A little bit about my doctor – looking at the photo collages on her office walls, you could have cut her face out and put mine in. We had lived such similar lives – I could have matched her photo for photo.  We were close in age, both first born, and I felt very connected with her. She was a good listener – I thought…)

Back to the pain in my foot…

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Prioritizing Patient Experience Operational Standards Just as Important as its Definition

The Beryl Institute’s latest benchmarking study “The State of Patient Experience in American Hospital 2013: Positive Trends and Opportunities for the Future” shows that more and more healthcare organizations have a formal definition of  “patient experience.” In 2013, 45% of respondents indicated that their organization had a formal definition compared to 27% just 2 years ago. Interestingly, in 2011, 15% of respondents implied that they didn’t know whether their organization had a formal definition or not; in the latest study, not one respondent checked “Don’t Know,” which to me signals a clear awareness on the part of those that participated in the survey of what defining patient experience means and entails.

Jason Wolf, President of The Beryl Institute, emphasized the significance of defining the patient experience in this way:

Simply stated, without definition an organization has little to no basis for action.

Too frequently, in the minds of hospital executives and leaders, “patient experience” equates to “service,” “patient satisfaction,” or “service excellence.” Yet, there are other critical elements of the patient experience such as safety, quality, etc.

In my latest Hospital Impact blog, I suggest that having “a prioritized operational framework for the patient experience that would effectively guide the beliefs, behavior and ultimate decision” of caregivers and healthcare leaders is essential.  In fact, I took the following stand:

I disagree with the conclusion that the Forbes’ article title (“Why Rating Your Doctor Is Bad For Your Health“) suggests, namely, that “rating your doctor is bad for your health.” Rating physicians, hospitals, medical practices, surgical centers, etc. is not the fundamental issue; competing and incorrectly prioritized operational standards are bad for the health of our patients.

Prioritizing patient experience operational standards is just as important as its definition of patient experience. Both Disney and the Cleveland Clinic have defined “experience” as well as created a prioritized an operational framework to guide their “guests” and “caregivers,” respectively. To see their frameworks: read Prioritize operational standards for patient experience success


Introducing Mindfulness in Healthcare Organizations

Inspired by Daniel Goleman’s July 28, 2013 article “Introducing Mindfulness in Organizations,” I posted the following discussion question on several LinkedIn Groups: “…I am making an assumption that introducing mindfulness in hospitals and healthcare organizations is important and of interest. I do believe it is critically important for person-centered (staff, physician, leader and patient/family) care. Do you agree? If so, what are some effective ways of introducing mindfulness in healthcare?”

Immediately after posting the discussion question, I found a partial answer in Louise Altman’s July 25, 2013 blog “Mindfulness is a Whole Body Experience.” Altman writes:

Dr. Daniel Beal co-author of a Rice University study on emotional suppression in the workplace comments, ‘Our study shows that emotional suppression takes a toll on people. It takes energy to suppress emotions, so it’s not surprising that workers who must remain neutral are often more rundown or show greater levels of burnout. The more energy you spend controlling your emotions, the less energy you have to devote to tasks at hand.’

While there are many professions that require its workers to “remain neutral,” healthcare — with its added life-saving stresses and inherent risks — is a prime environment in which its workers are expected to remain emotionally neutral in the face of never-ending and complex demands.

Perhaps, one of the most basic and fundamental ways of introducing mindfulness in healthcare organizations is to highlight the benefits that mindfulness training and practice could have on its caregivers who experience constant stress and demands on and the emotional suppression and neutrality often required of them. Mindfulness and emotional intelligence are inextricably linked; therefore, it seems to me that introducing mindfulness in healthcare organizations would not only improve the caregiver experience but directly correlate to the patient and family experience as well.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject:

While “I am making an assumption that introducing mindfulness in hospitals and healthcare organizations is important and of interest. I do believe it is critically important for person-centered (staff, physician, leader and patient/family) care. Do you agree? If so, what are some effective ways of introducing mindfulness in healthcare?”

Thanks for reading! I look forward to your comments and thoughts.