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.
Well, here’s what happened. The patient had a positive experience with every direct encounter from registration and triage to the provider exam and check out. He even raved about a short wait time. So what destroyed his confidence in this ED? An encounter he witnessed in the waiting room. One of the staff acted rude and dismissive to a confused elderly patient. He described in detail what he observed, how it made him feel and why he would never return.
Always On Stage
Disney talks about its cast members being on stage and off stage. The above example shows how everything a patient encounters becomes part of the experience. In this case, observing how others were treated painted a clear picture of the organization’s culture and values. He observed that not everyone got the respect they deserved. It was a deal breaker.