Patient Experience: How are We Doing This?

While a lot of this sounds like great words on paper, we want to share one story about our work with one client to transform the patient experience...  In this situation, we’ve worked on addressing and transforming the patient experience through the holistic lens of the People Dimension™.

The Goal:  To help a healthcare provider organize and structure their efforts around championing and sustaining a customer service focus and vision to positively impact patient satisfaction scores.  

How was this done?

  • The first step was assessing the current state of the culture from a customer service perspective to define what an ideal culture of customer service would look like.
  • The next step involved developing and deploying a customer service training program that aligns to the service vision and outcomes they wanted (increase patient satisfaction scores).  The goal with the education and training was to inspire people to learn and openly demonstrate customer service skills.  A year-long series of engagement activities were mapped out for the organization...  Careful to not overwhelm the staff with changes in expectations, communications, micro-learning moments and customer service tips were developed and deployed with focus on specific themes and behaviors.

Quarterly themes with monthly focus behaviors were used to drive the desired customer service culture.  For example, one quarter focused on personal ownership of customer service behaviors, while each of the three months focused on specific behaviors that supported that theme.  

  • Additionally, development opportunities were created for folks at all levels of the organization.  A team of champions was defined, and this team was given the tools they needed to actively engage physicians, management and staff to demonstrate, as a team, the desired customer service behaviors and skills.  This enabled each team to identify how to best change their local culture, and positively impact patient satisfaction scores.
  • To support these efforts, a rewards and recognition program was enhanced to acknowledge the demonstration of customer service skills and behaviors that had been defined early in the process. 
  • Inspired by the changes, the organization even made a commitment to giving some of the facilities a “makeover”.  This willingness to tackle the remodel will only complement all the other efforts made. 

The Outcome:  We were continuously tracking changes in patient satisfaction scores while these activities were taking place.  Over several months, we noticed a consistent up-trending in key areas around patient satisfaction.  We started to see less and less comments about frustration around behaviors that were not conducive to a good “customer experience” – these comments showed a change in behavior for the positive. 

What’s Next:  In the future, they will be looking at clinical workflow processes to drive efficiency and to further positively impact customer service and patient satisfaction. 

If you’re just starting on your patient experience journey and want to check out some good resources, check out some of the following reads:

  • Patients Come Second (Paul Spiegelman & Britt Berrett)
  • If Disney Ran Your Hospital:  9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently (Fred Lee)
  • Hardwiring Excellence (Quint Studer)

Written by Sheila Repeta