While aesthetics play a large role in a patient’s impression, their overall experience is much deeper. It goes beyond a receptionist’s smile or the operation’s efficiency. Every moment, down to the most miniscule interaction plays a part in the overall experience. It goes all the way to momentary encounters with maintenance, cleaning staff, and even other patients.
How can you control everything?
The answer is culture. If you develop and promote a specifc culture for your entire staff, you can create an inviting, consistent experience for every patient. It is important to have ‘rules of engagement’ for ALL staff. This can create a common foundation for how patients and their guests are treated as well as create increased feelings of team membership among employees.
One example is a small hotel in the suburbs of Atlanta. They have set specifc expectations for how to interact with guests and it is quite simple. If a guest is within 20 feet, smile. If a guest is within 10 feet, greet them with a “Hello”, “Good morning”, or “Good Evening”.
As simple as it may sound, this procedure has created a new culture within this small hotel. It can easily be implemented in the healthcare world. Everyone has a common operating schema on how to interact with their patients. The single goal is to make the patients feel welcomed and comfortable. This can only be achieved by having constant excellence from all employees, at all levels.
People desire more authentic interaction. While this may seem counter to traditional healthcare procedures, patients satisfaction is much higher on the priority list than it once was. This can be attributed to the fact that the barrier between patients and medical staff is slowly being eliminated. Now when a patient has a need it no longer happens behind a cloak of procedural rules of engagement. By being more authentic and focusing on the experience of each patients, it reduces the time between requests and fulfllment of the patients’ needs.
Here are a few tips that can help craft the right patient experience:
1. Maintain consistent culture and core values at all levels
2. Encourage all staff to be cordial and interactive
3. Help patients feel welcome to approach any employee with their needs or requests
4. Reward team member’s Enthusiasm. When staff feel free to show their passion and excitement it directly translates to patient satisfaction
It’s not enough to serve your patients, you must serve them joyfully if you truly want them to have a extraordinary stay.
Maybe it’s time more healthcare organizations redefined patient experience?