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What is patient experience?

It’s more than a score — it lies at the heart of what we do.

Asante has been focused on improving the patient experience for over a decade now. Partly because it’s the right thing to do, but also because many studies show a positive association between patient experience, patient safety and clinical outcomes. Despite the amount of time we’ve spent working on this, there are still misconceptions about what patient experience is and what it’s not.

As CEO Scott Kelly mentioned earlier, patient experience is not a score — that’s just how we measure how we’re doing — it’s about delivering safe, compassionate care. It’s also not asking patients to rate their satisfaction with their care. Satisfaction is about whether a patient’s expectations were met and is not only highly subjective, it’s not necessarily related to whether they received quality care or had good clinical outcomes. Instead, we ask patients whether certain things that should happen in a health care setting, such as clear communication, actually happened and how often.

So, what is patient experience? The Beryl Institute, the leading organization in patient experience, has perhaps the best definition: The sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.”

Let’s take a closer look to better understand what this means. When we think of all interactions, we mean every touch point a patient has with Asante, whether in person, on the phone, online or even filling out paperwork.

This also means that every employee is responsible for patient experience, because your work affects one of those touchpoints either directly or indirectly. Each of those interactions is shaped by our organization’s culture — the shared values and beliefs that show people what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

As Asante employees, we may know what those values are and how we live them out every day, but the patient experience is based on their perceptions — what is recognized, understood and remembered by patients and their families. There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes that patients might not be aware of, so how are we sharing that with them? It’s important that we narrate our care, explain next steps and demonstrate our values through our words and actions.

Finally, a patient’s experience of Asante doesn’t just refer to one specific moment of care. It’s the sum of all their interactions with Asante before, during and after the delivery of care. Were they able to find the location easily? Was the registration process smooth? Did they have positive interactions with staff in the ED, Imaging, Lab, EVS, Nutrition, etc.? Were they able to schedule a timely follow-up appointment? Did they receive a post-discharge phone call? Did they understand the bill they received and if not, were they able to get their questions answered?

We have many opportunities along a patient’s journey with Asante to make an impression, positive or negative. That’s why when we say we want to be a trusted health partner we emphasize every person, every time. It takes every one of us, in every interaction with a patient or family member, to provide an excellent experience.

We all recognize that the past 18 months have been very difficult. External factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing shortages and capacity challenges have a significant effect on patients’ perceptions and our scores. Hospitals across the country are all experiencing the same thing.

While fewer patients are giving us top box scores, the majority are still giving us the next best score (“very good,” “8” or “usually”). With their ratings and in the voice comments, our patients continue to tell us we’re doing outstanding work. Thank you for continuing to do amazing work in the midst of these unprecedented times.

Want to learn more? Check out these resources:

Meet Asante’s patient experience team
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Meet Asante’s patient experience team

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • It must not be that important as the hospital cancels surgeries and doesn’t bother to communicate with the correct department or even the patient. they definitely are not thinking about patient experience at this time during the crisis.

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