You know how the story starts: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” How many people do or could use this opener to describe a recent healthcare experience? I had a ring-side seat to just an experience when my mom was recently hospitalized. On the first morning of her hospitalization, I asked the patient care tech (PCT) for the plan of care. His reply? “Ask me in about three months, when I graduate from nursing school”. Read more...
Healthcare suffers from terminal uniqueness. It’s a condition where you constantly explain why your situation is different from everyone else’s in healthcare. This helps you to ascribe to excuses for why your patient experience scores are lousy. A few of the signs that you may suffer from terminal uniqueness include making comments like: Read more...
My patients are sicker
Our patients are more demanding
My patients are entitled
They are upper class
My patients are lower class
Our clinical outcomes are great. What more do they want?
It’s often difficult to comprehend everything that factors into the patient experience. The simplest way to summarize it is with people, processes and place.
When looking at the people element, it’s not just the direct interactions patients have with employees but everything they observe as well.
We were recently doing a mystery shopping report from a series of emergency department visits. One of the doctors questioned our results when he saw the glowing recap of the patient experience followed by a note that they would never return or recommend. “This doesn’t make sense,” he argued. Read more...
We often hear people say, “Keep your eye on the prize,” in reference to goals. In patient experience terms, that “prize” often refers to the patient satisfaction scores.
The problem with this line of thought is that it places the score as the ultimate goal, instead of the actual patient experience. The scores are merely an indicator of the experience.
If each and every person who comes in contact with patients and other customers can treat the present – the current encounter– as the ultimate prize, they’ll get further, faster in the quest for great scores. Read more...
Stories shape cultures and the organization’s brand. Yet storytelling is often underrated or delegated to the communication department as a task. Fostering a storytelling culture is a sadly missed opportunity.
Fostering a Storytelling Culture
Becoming a storytelling culture won’t happen by chance. It must form by design. Heartwarming stories fill healthcare. These stories go left untold. Stories help to connect to purpose on an individual level and to shape the organization’s culture.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of collecting stories from nurses on the front line of the patient experience. When they share their stories, they re-connect to purpose and re-energize. Millions of stories sit, untold, in the hearts and minds of nurses. Read more...
One of my favorite workshops to deliver is “Coaching for Engagement and Improved Performance”. Why? Because I love to see lightbulbs going on as participants start to make the connections between their leadership styles, and the overall engagement of their team members.
Last week I did an abbreviated session for a group of ambulatory surgery center leaders. They had a lively discussion about how disengaged individuals perform and the effect they have on others. They discussed: Read more...
When we evaluate the patient experience in healthcare organizations, there are two words that put your brand, your reputation, and ultimately your financial performance at risk. The two words are: “It depends”. This culture of variability is dangerous at best.
If your patient experience depends on:
the day of the week
the time of day
which door they enter
…then you don’t have a firm commitment to the patient experience. Read more...
I was recently doing a coaching and engagement workshop for a group of healthcare leaders. During the discussion, a group of participants said that they don’t bother coaching their high performers, because, after all, they’re already high performers.
This is a common, dangerous, misconception. I typically tell leaders: “You don’t have to coach all high performers – Just the ones you want to keep.”
The sad truth is that the bulk of leaders’ coaching time and energy goes to the low performers, or “disengaged,” as we call them. That means the best performers are ignored. It’s easy to do because you have confidence that they will perform well at all times. That’s a safe assumption, but also flawed. Those high performers deserve your time and attention, too. Read more...
It’s not unusual for us to hear that past training efforts just didn’t stick. When we drill down to learn what had been done in the past and how it was delivered, we’re never surprised to hear that the approach was a one-and-done approach.
One session, with no follow up or accountability will not create lasting change. Training must be done in context of a bigger picture that includes pre-work, training, coaching & feedback, and recognition.