Patient Experience as experienced by the patient…

…is not a pretty picture.

At least that is how it seemed to me today during my son’s visit to a specialist at a renowned children’s hospital.  The hospital uses and equally renowned EHR–you can substitute the name of your favorite EHR and the story remains as relevant.

Actual face-time with the doc–30 minutes.  The clinical side of the patient experience was perfect. It could not have been any better–I awarded her bonus points.

Here’s the part I think most hospitals are missing.  There is another part of the Patient Experience which has little or nothing to do with the patient. It is also the part which lingers most in my memory and the one about which I am quick to repeat to others.  What part is that? It is the part that involves all of the non-clinical processes associated with the visit, such as:

  • Complete the forms-could have been done online
  • Provide the insurance information-was done the last two visits
  • Wait
  • Schedule the next appointment
  • Wait
  • Print out the results of this visit
  • Wait
  • Settle the charges
Total time spent on the non-clinical patient experience–30 minutes.
Any time a patient visit requires another family member or guardian to be present, Patient Experience Management by definition becomes Family Experience Management. Instead of poor processes wasting one person’s time, the time of two people are wasted by being inefficient and ineffective.
“How was the visit?” Asked my wife.
“Fine,” I reported. And then I spent two minutes telling her about the bad experience I had dealing with the non-clinical processes, those processes involved with running the business.
So, it was great to know my son is healthy, but we sort of knew that going in. It wasn’t great to be subjected to the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of their processes and systems.  What will I remember about that experience as I am driving him to his next appointment? Will I remember how well he is doing and how professional the doctor is?  Or, will I remember to plan for an additional thirty minutes to allow the staff to perform all of the automated business processes to check us in and out?
The purpose of this post is to get us thinking that Patient Experience Management and Family Experience Management has to do with everything that happens from the time the person enters the facility until they leave it. If the only good part of the experience occurs during the examination, then the overall patient experience as experienced by the patient can be no better than mediocre.

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