Great Patient Experience: What Might It Look Like?

Whether one is running at windmills as a quixotic muse, or trying to bisect an elephant with a licorice whip, to anyone observing those actions it makes no more sense than having a lint collection.

Example 1: Let us say that someone walks into a nail salon and requests a manicure and a pedicure. The salon’s owner says “We only do manicures here. You have to go across the street for a pedi.”

You get the manicure, and as you are leaving the owner asks you to complete a survey about your experience with her establishment, and then she asks you to recommend your friends.

Example 2: You call the company who provides your cable television, your internet, your wireline, and your mobile service to tell them that your cable is out and that you have a question about your wireless bill.

As you wait on hold you hear the message repeated over and over for forty-five minutes that this call may be recorded for quality purposes. When you are finally afforded the opportunity to speak with a hominid about your cable outage you are told to call the cable service number. When you ask about your mobile bill you are told those questions can only be answered between 8 AM and 5 PM Mondays through Fridays. As you are about to explain that it is 10 AM on Tuesday the operator disconnects the call.

Within a minute you receive an email from the firm asking if you would complete a brief survey about your experience with them

Example 3: (stop me if you see where this is headed) It is 6 AM. You are going to be charged for parking.  You have passed through a lobby that is as ornate as anything in one of Dubai’s finest hotels.  You and the lemmings are seated in the admissions waiting room alone.  Each of the admittors (first-person singular present passive indicative of admittor–I had to look that up) is sipping from their mocha cappuccinos. You are not because you have not been allowed to have anything to drink since the last republican administration.  As you sit and wait for your turn to be admitted you are reminded of the last time you were at the DMV to have your driver’s license renewed.

A single television, which seems to be tuned to al Jazeera, is suspended overhead.  As there is no wifi, your only other option for killing time is the copy worn of Highlights magazine announcing the upcoming 1969 moon landing.

You complete the admissions process, finally.  You ask to receive a copy of the hospital’s customer experience survey, an opinion form, or whether they have a comments box.  Check D—none of the above.  When you ask why you are told, “Mister this is a hospital.  We make you better.  That is the only experience we care about, and it should be the only one you care about.”

As the anesthesia enters your blood stream, instead of counting backwards from infinity, you are left wondering why you couldn’t self-admit the night before using your iPad.

Example 3 could also been an example of someone trying to schedule an appointment online or through the call center. It could have been someone requesting the medical records. It could have been someone trying to understand Medicare. It could have been someone trying to pay their bill. It could have been someone deciding where to buy healthcare. It could have been someone seeking a second opinion.

What hospitals do not understand is not that it could have been all these someone’s…it was and it is.  Every day more people ‘visit’ your hospital online and on the phone than walk through the Dubai lobby, and nobody is asking them about their experience. Nobody knows what great patient experience looks like; nobody’s ever seen it.  But they sure know what it is like trying to access their provider.

A remarkable experience every time for every person on every device.

I may be wrong but I doubt it.

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