“Don’t assume.” “When you assume, you make an ass of you and me.” All of my life I’ve heard expressions touting the perils of making assumptions. But recently someone in risk management used the term, “committing assumicide,” which really grabbed my attention. The urban dictionary defines assumicide as; when your assumptions lead to dire consequences.
We can apply the dangers of assumicide to the patient experience at multiple levels. At the most basic level, direct caregivers commit assumicide when they think they know what the patient wants but don’t ask them. This can lead to frustration on the part of well-meaning staff and dissatisfaction among patients.
Leaders commit assumicide when:
- They assume that every person in the organization should know what is expected of them. After all, they all went through orientation
- They assume staff are following through on hourly rounding and other proven tactics without checking
- They assume everyone is consistently displaying behaviors consistent with the standards but don’t make regular rounds to observe and give feedback
If you want to create a consistently positive patient experience, it’s vital that you avoid assumptions about what patients and families want. At the same time, make sure your team knows and practices the service standards in every encounter with every customer, every day.