Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Why is Patient Experience so Important?Posted on December 3, 2017
Kara Redoutey, MBA
SOMC has recently started an organization wide journey toward Giving Perfect Service. We engaged front line and provider service zealots to get their input into the consistent behaviors they demonstrate every single day with their patients and customers. We then developed The SOMC Way, which has become the organization’s expected service behaviors for every interaction. The next 16 weeks of the SOMC Blog will be focused on delivering perfect service to our patients and colleagues. It is my hope that you will start commenting and sharing specific stories about how you deliver a positive patient experience, so we can all learn from one another about the different ways it can be done well. I look forward to hearing from each of you.
Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?
We sometimes lose sight or focus when we are performing better than national averages. Why fix something that isn’t broken? We are busy. We are focused on so many things already, such as quality, patient flow, coordination of care, data tracking, documentation, and the list goes on and on. Our teams have enough to focus on without the added worry of ensuring they are doing all this work with a smile on their faces. It can be difficult to confront members of our team, who are extremely busy and performing their work exceptionally well, for not meeting the organization’s service expectations.
What is the case for doing it anyway?
There are a number of reasons for delivering a positive patient experience in every interaction, whether it be in person, on the phone, online, or any other way we are communicating with our patients. First, patients who have an exceptional experience will choose our organization again for their care, meaning that we have helped to create a loyal customer. We have discussed word of mouth marketing on this blog in the past. Remember that loyal patients will talk to other potential patients and bring new customers to our organization. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has shared that positive patient experiences increase patient engagement in their healthcare, ultimately improving overall quality of care. Reimbursement will be impacted by the hospital’s service scores. But the most important reason for focusing on giving perfect service is that our patients, friends, neighbors, and family members, deserve for their experience to be as pleasant as it can possibly be.
How can you do it?
How do you deliver a positive patient experience?
- Learn from staff on the front lines doing it right. Most team members aren’t shy about sharing ways that they deliver a positive patient experience. We can learn from them and find new ways to connect with our patients.
- Re-educate your teams on service expectations. We all need reminders from time to time. Simply taking the time to talk through different service expectations in a staff meeting can be a great reminder to team members. Also using an opportunity when a situation didn’t go well to educate your teams can be a wonderful coaching moment.
- Hold leaders and staff accountable for delivering exceptional service. We all have the opportunity to deliver excellent service, whether we are serving our colleagues who are directly serving patients or directly delivering care to patients. If you see an opportunity to coach a colleague on giving perfect service, take a moment to do so. A coaching conversation could positively impact the care that patients receive every day!