Improved patient experience, clinical outcomes and operational efficiency are correlated. When hospitals make patient experience a strategic priority, different interests among doctors, nurses and hospital managers are likely to be aligned. Don’t overlook minute details such as clean rooms or good phone service, as they add up to an overall experience that can impact treatment outcomes. Improving patients’ journeys, therefore, helps improve hospital’s efficiency.
Hospitals are full of experts who all care passionately about the wellbeing of patients. But their views often run into conflict with the hospital’s need to deliver a better patient experience. A deeper understanding of the patients’ needs helps resolve the tension between being human and being efficient.
Hospitals are complex and confusing places, not only for patients. Hospital staff are under pressure to ensure compliance with clinical guidelines and safety procedures. Therefore, a simpler experience for patients actually reduces the demand on staff.
Make patient experience a strategic priority
Quality means different things to different experts. Doctors focus on the clinical result of a treatment, nurses look at patient satisfaction, while hospital managers are most concerned with cost efficiency.
When patient experience becomes a strategic priority, these different interests are likely to be aligned. It helps hospitals identify which activities and in which departments would make a difference for patients and their loved ones. It also helps hospitals manage everyone’s efforts towards a common goal they all care about – the patients.
Nice details matter
While patients and their family are not the most qualified judge of the clinical quality of treatments, they are experts in the service quality they personally experience.
The higher the patients rate the quality of a hospital service, the more they trust the quality of the treatment. Therefore, it is incredibly important to pay attention to the small things that make up the overall patient experience, such as friendly staff, clean rooms, good phone service, short waiting time and well-managed reception areas. These details, if executed well, have a disproportionate impact on the overall patient experience.
Fortunately, good service is not rocket science. It is a craft that has been tried and tested across industries.
Better patient collaboration
Studies show improved patient experience, clinical outcomes and operational efficiency are clearly correlated. Patients and their family who feel that they are well taken care of collaborate better with hospital staff. They trust the hospital more and feel more empowered to complete the treatment. More confident patients also enable the experts at the hospital to work together smoothly towards a result that everyone wants.
Improve patients’ journeys
The journeys that patients go through are always complex and dramatic, whether it is before, after or during hospitalisation. Patients frequently have the worst experience when they are transferred between different units, switching treatments or when attending doctors or nurses change.
By observing patients through their journeys, it becomes apparent where patients and their family need more support, where information is lost, where expectations can be managed better, and where personal touch is highly valued. It also tells us where patients have the capabilities to help themselves, and what services the patients cannot live without.
Better experience improves efficiency
A patient perspective offers insights on simple actions that have disproportionate impact on patient experience. It makes good sense to invest more in some neglected areas, such as introduction for new patients, appointment and handovers on discharge. Make hospital experience better for patients, and efficiency will grow exponentially.