Patient Experience: “You can leave your shoes on”

One of the best parts of my day is when it is announced that consultants are being released back in to society.

As one who flies frequently I have become attuned to what I can do to shave seconds off the gauntlet of passing through security.  I no longer bring a gallon jug of Old Spice in my luggage, and I try to remember not to wear cufflinks that I cannot reattach to my shirt without having to request assistance of a fellow traveler.

As such, and thanks to our friend the underwear bomber, I begin to disrobe the moment I exit my taxi.  On Wednesday at O’Hare I was wearing little more than my freckles as I made my way to TSA’s Death-Star chamber.

“You can put your shoes, and everything else back on,” the agent told me.  I and the other semi-nude people around me wondered if this was some kind of trick.  Would they Taser me the moment I stepped into the chamber still wearing my belt and my dignity?

It turns out they were testing a new way of screening people.  Someone had created a new user experience.

My taxi driver, a man named Ron of Ron’s Taxi, had also created a new user experience.  From what I could tell about Ron he had only been in the US for a brief time. He barely spoke English but I understood he had been driving a cab for most of his life.  I handed Ron my credit card and he slid it through the thing-a-majig that was attached to his phone.  Thirty seconds later he handed me his phone and asked me to enter my email address so the application could send me my receipt.

I share these two instances because they made a very positive impact on my user experience and because there are still a lot of people riding the That Will Never Work Here train.  One VP of strategy even went so far as to comment that rather than innovating hospitals we should effect to bond more with their patients as a way to bring down readmissions.

Now, I like a good bonding experience as much as the next person, but I tend to think of it as a rather poor metric for measuring did we or did we not bond.  Instead of asking a patient if the reason they did not follow their discharge orders was because we did not bond well, perhaps we need to get to the point where patients and prospective patients can carry their favorite hospital around on their iPads just like customers and prospective customers do with Amazon.

When deciding how to reinvent how we approach patients it is too easy to get sidetracked by subordinate clauses around things like HCAHPs.  Why are there thirty-two questions?  Why not thirty-one or thirty-three.  Let us not be led astray by an ounce of fact.

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