Excuse Du Jour

Posted by Kristin Baird

Excuses are, perhaps, the greatest barrier to achieving greatness in both our personal and professional lives. Healthcare organizations often embrace a culture of excuses without even realizing that it’s happening. I frequently witness healthcare leaders engaging in excuse-making to explain away poor patient satisfaction scores. Organizations, far too often, accept the excuses without questioning.

I was recently at a meeting where leaders were reviewing their patient satisfaction scores for the previous year. The data showed a decline in scores over a three-month period. As the group reviewed the data, a discussion ensued about the decline. One leader stated “We were under construction.” Another added “We were short staffed.” I watched as everyone nodded, accepting these explanations.

The test of success

The real test of success is the organization that maintains a consistently high level of satisfaction during whatever changes they endure. How do they do it? They anticipate the possibility of issues and work hard to head them off AND they don’t accept excuses.

Every organization has things that could contribute to poor scores. Be careful that you don’t blindly accept a poor outcome as a matter of course. You and your team should expect that no matter what life throws your way, you are still committed to the same, high quality standard of care.  After all, you won’t see any fine print or footnotes on HCAHPS scores saying, “Please ignore these low scores, the hospital staff was busy.” Or “This hospital has a high incident of drug seekers and demanding prima donnas who will never be happy.”

Keep your eyes and ears open for excuses. They could be your kryptonite.

  1. Are You Focused on Scores or the Experience?
  2. “Terminal Uniqueness” as an Excuse for Poor Patient Satisfaction
  3. Progress is No Excuse
  4. Don’t Let Excuses Shape your Patient Experience
  5. Bad News? Don’t Blame the Data

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