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

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