Former Disney exec stresses patient experience as 'gaping hole' in health care
FORT WORTH, Texas — Timely diagnosis and treatment are key to long-term patient wellbeing yet offering a superior patient experience represents an equally critical component, driving more positive patient outcomes and fermenting patient loyalty and referrals — an often-overlooked aspect in health care, according to the keynote presenter at the Rheumatology Nurses Society Annual Conference.
Citing data from a Press Ganey national survey of patient experiences in the ED, Jake M. Poore, president and chief experience officer of Integrated Loyalty Systems, noted that out of 15 potential factors that influence a patient’s likelihood to recommend an institution to others, only two of these involved clinical aspects of patient care. Instead, patients placed higher value on “human aspects” of care such as staff concerns for patient comfort and courteous communication with the patient and their family/friends.
“Out of the 15 key drivers of patient likeliness to recommend a facility, 13 of those are human rather than clinical factors,” Poore said. “This begs the questions: ‘If that is what matters most to patients, where is our playbook for the human side of health care?’ Standard operating procedures include how to intubate, how to perform a C-section, how to do IVs, but where is the protocol for bedside manner, for how staff treat each other, how do we conduct team meetings, how do we call physicians home at night when we have a problem with patients?”
He added, “Where is the human side of the playbook? For me, it’s a blinding glimpse of the obvious: There is a gaping hole in your health care universe.”
Sharing lessons he learned during his tenure as a Disney executive — where he was responsible for leading training programs for more than 65,000 employees — Poore noted that the primary role of health care staff is to remove the anxiety and fear of their patients, a process that starts even before a patient is officially seen by a health care provider.
“We have a phrase at Disney – everything speaks,” Poore said, addressing that the way in which staff interact with patients can have an enormous impact on the patient experience. “There is ‘verbal graffiti’ being displayed in the hallways or the office or the team meeting in the form of what patients hear — or rather overhear — employees discussing at the nurses’ station or in the hallways. Statements like ‘It’s not my job’ or ‘You’re not my patient’ or ‘I’m off the clock’ or even succinctly ‘I don’t know’ can all detract from the patient experience. Are these phrases adding to patient fear or removing it, building trepidation or removing it, adding to the trust in the relationship or potentially eroding it?”
Poore added that “It is ok to use all of these statements as long as there is a comma afterwards. For example, ‘it’s not my job, but let me find me out for you’.”
For professionals looking to build up the patient experience at their facilities, Poore had one simple piece of advice: Human, business, human.
“In every interaction, in every email that you send, every time that you answer the phone, start on the human. For example, ‘Good morning, thank you for choosing Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, my name is Jake, how may I help you?’ The ‘good morning’ is human, the ‘thank you for choosing’ is human, ‘I work for Christ Hospital in Cincinnati’ is the business, and ‘my name is Jake, how may I help you?’ is human. That took just three and a half seconds to demonstrate human-business-human. When you do this in this order, a magical thing is created: Trust.” – by Robert Stott
Poore JM. Panel: Building and Sustaining Exceptional Patient Experiences. Presented at: Rheumatology Nurses Society Annual Conference; Aug. 8-11, 2018; Fort Worth, Texas.
Disclosure: Poore reports no relevant financial disclosures.