Why Is Patient Experience Like A Peach Basket?

If a blog falls in the woods and nobody reads it does it make a sound?

When basketball was invented players shot the ball into a peach basket.  When a player scored the game was halted to allow someone to bring over a ladder so the ball could be retrieved from the basket.  The game was very slow.  It was very slow for seven years until someone got the idea to cut the bottom out of the basket.

Suppose someone asks you to give them the Cliff Notes version of Patient Experience.  What is the best way to respond to convey such a complex issue?

There are some 5,000 hospitals in the US.  There are some 2,500 hospitals being penalized for having poor patient experience scores.  As compared to what, did anybody ask the patients?  Use a highlighter or underline this on your monitor—being in the top half of the patient experience scores does not mean that your patients are satisfied with your hospital. All it means is that you scored high on the CMS survey.  Nobody ever asked patients and consumers what factors determine their satisfaction.

To the chagrin of the ‘six sigmaists’, here is a news flash.  Shaving twenty-two seconds off of the time it takes to be admitted does not yield satisfied patients.  If making the admitting the process shorter is a good thing, would it not make sense that doing away with the patient admitting process would be a really good thing?  Maybe it is time to cut the bottom out of this peach basket–make it easy for your patients

How would you like to be admitted if you were going to the hospital two days from now?  If you are like me, you would want to navigate to the hospital’s web site the evening before you are scheduled to check in–sixty percent of people go to an organization’s website before they call the organization.  You want to pull out your iPad, go to the provider’s customer portal, upload a copy of your insurance card, complete the forms, and be given a QR code.

Patient satisfaction just went up. Patient experience is not the same thing as patient satisfaction.  Everyone has an experience. Many of those experiences are not satisfactory.

If your hospital has not recently reinvented how it electronically interacts with patients and potential patients through a world class customer portal, it is way out of touch with how patients interact with other organizations with which they do business.

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