A Quality Experience: Tracing the moments of truth

From your patients’ perspective, quality healthcare is demonstrated in countless moments of truth throughout their interactions with your organization. All of those interactions add up to the big quality picture. Take a walk through your organization with this checklist to determine how you’d rate yourself on these critical moments of truth.

Pre Encounter

  • Is it easy to access your organization?
    • Is your website easy to navigate with a main phone number clearly displayed on the home page?
    • Can a customer intuitively find your listing in the Yellow Pages? Are your phone book ads easy to read and free of clutter?
  • Does an initial phone call sound like…
    • Is the phone answered in three rings or less?
    • Are operators friendly and knowledgeable about your services? Are they engaged in actively listening to their customers or do they sound hurried and short tempered?
    • Is the customer able to get his needs met with one phone call, or are multiple phone calls or department transfers required?

During the Encounter

  • Is parking convenient for your patients?
  • Are entrances clearly marked and inviting?
  • Can patients easily find their way to their first encounter?
    • If the patient stops an employee for directions, does the employee walk the patient to the destination?
    • Is signage written in a language the patient understands without confusing jargon?
  • Are the hallways/public areas clean and inviting?
    • Are there any outdated or shabby wall signs?
    • Are waste baskets overflowing?
    • Is the reading selection in waiting areas updated and in good condition?
    • Are restrooms appropriately stocked and clean?
    • Is the lighting warm and welcoming?
  • Is the patient treated throughout the entire encounter like…
    • Are staff members trained to make eye contact and be present with the patient?
    • Do staff members respect the patient’s privacy and conduct conversations appropriately?
    • Do staff address the patient as he asks (“Mr. Smith” vs. “John”)?
    • If the patient has to interact with more than one professional, is there a smooth transition so the patient doesn’t have to repeat his same information to multiple employees?
    • Do patients know why they are waiting and how long the wait will be?
    • Do staff talk to patients in a language they can understand? Do staff check back to ensure an understanding has occurred?
    • Do staff appear to treat all patients with the same level of respect, caring, and empathy?

Post Encounter

  • Are discharge instructions clear?
    • Does the patient understand when the visit is over and what steps he should take next?
    • Does a staff member re-cap important information in language the patient understands?
  • Does follow up occur?
    • Can the patient expect to receive a follow-up phone call?
    • Are staff members making post-discharge calls trained to elicit questions from patients who might otherwise be reluctant to ask?
    • Should the patient expect a follow-up survey? Is he aware of it?