How patient-centered is your organization?

How patient-centered is your organization?
by Angela Fieler

One of the “big name” hospital systems with a great reputation has just moved into our area. They bought a small, independent hospital and have been investing a lot of money in upgrading the infrastructure. There is a fancy new outpatient building, an improved portal, and registration desks on every floor just to name a few. What they don’t have is a connection to the patient.

My Story

I waited three months to see a specialist with no relief from the symptoms that warranted my visit. The person who made my appointment assured me they had a great system for notifying patients when an appointment became available sooner. True to her word, in those three months, I received 27 notifications that an earlier appointment was available. The notifications included a stern warning that the new appointment was being made available to everyone on the schedule and that if I wanted it, I had to act fast. I was literally clicking the link as soon as I received the notification and was not successful until my 27th attempt which was only a few days before my scheduled appointment. It turns out that the sooner appointment was 5 hours before my original appointment, but since that time worked better for me, I took it.

The Arrival

I arrived at the main hospital 45 minutes before my scheduled appointment, which was a good thing because, thanks to the absolute lack of signage, it took me 30 minutes to get to the new, fancy building. I could see it, I just couldn’t find a road that led to it.

When I checked in at the registration desk, I was asked for my name and the time of my appointment. Then I was asked to spell my name, and I was asked what doctor I was here to see. Then I got the dreaded, “huh.” After much-frustrated typing, the registrar said, “It says here that the user canceled the 3 PM appointment” which I did, but I rescheduled for 10 AM and pre-registered the day before. Her response to that explanation was, “Oh, we were talking about you this morning. The doctor isn’t even here today. I’m going to have to go in the back because I can’t remember what the plan was.” And off she went.

And, Finally…

When she returned, she asked me to have a seat and wait for James, and he would come out and tell me when I could be seen. When James came out, he said the nurse practitioner could see me at 4 PM. I explained that I lived 45 minutes away to which he replied, “if you can’t come back today, I don’t know when we will be able to fit you in.” Fearing another three-month wait, I agreed. As I was getting up to leave, James said, “Don’t worry. This wasn’t your fault.”

Is Your Organization Patient-Centered?

Here’s what I would like for you to do with this story. Read it to your staff as if it was from one of your patients. Ask your staff which values or behavior standards were upheld and which were not.

Improving Your Organization

If you don’t have behavior standards. Let us help you develop them and prevent anything like this from happening to your patients. Contact us today to learn about Baird’s customized consulting options designed to increase your patient-centered focus.

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