Unique – But Not Really

I recently heard a fascinating statistic. According to research from NRC Health, when people feel they are treated as unique, they are 312% more likely to rate your organization as excellent. The question then is, how do we make every patient feel unique? It’s how we speak with them and about them that makes all the difference. 

Why “Unique” Matters

Giving your undivided attention is one way to make a person feel valued. By using their name, you personalize the interaction, and by learning what is most important to them during their stay, shows you care about them and their preferences. All these face-to-face communication tactics help foster engagement. We also need to use additional tools when speaking about them in handoffs and reports. 

The Impact

Several years ago, my mother had to have several stents placed in her heart and was admitted to an academic medical center. As I approached her room, I witnessed an attending physician speaking to a group of residents outside my mother’s room. I overheard him describing her as the 80-year-old stent in 301. It sounded incredibly impersonal to the point of being dehumanizing. I had the urge to step into their circle and give them some vital insights. This 80-year-old stent was the beloved mother of 10 children, grandmother of 19, and English teacher of thousands of students throughout her career. I wanted them to know that behind the diagnosis was a unique individual who matters. Instead, I walked past them. I hoped they would be exposed to the human side of medicine somewhere else in their training. 

The Future

Of course, the residents need to understand the diagnosis and treatment of each patient under their care, but there are ways to help them appreciate the unique human being behind every diagnosis. 

At the time, I felt sad that, if this is how residents are trained, they will miss the best part of medicine – connecting with the people in their care.  

Every patient is unique. The art is in connecting with them at a level that lets them know we appreciate their uniqueness. 

How are you creating the best possible patient experience at your organization? Contact us today to learn how we can help make sure your organization is set for success. Set up a free 30-minute consult today.

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