Pat Rullo of Speak Up and Stay Alive RadiOh! (Twitter @SpeakUpRadioh) is writing a piece for the Association for Patient Experience, whose board chair is Dr. Jim Merlino, Chief Experience Officer at the Cleveland Clinic. (Jim and I had a 7 minute hallway interview at TEDMED 2012; video is at bottom of this post.) Pat wrote, asking “your personal definition of the patient experience … It can be one word – one sentence – or as long as you choose. What does the patient experience mean to you?”
I get a million requests like this (“please write something for us”), and mostly I have to say no, because my backlog of broken promises and overdue blog posts is embarrassing. But I responded to this one because
- It’s a short, focused question
- It’s directly aligned with thoughts I’m already working on
- I can blog the result. :-) (That’s a method I learned years ago from the amazing Ted Eytan of Kaiser.)
Here’s my response:
In my view, care has two components: clinical effectiveness, and the patient’s experience of being taken care of.
This isn’t a trivial point, nor is it easy to achieve, because people are different. One person in a hospital bed may want to be left alone to sleep; another may want frequent attention. And the nurse who managed my own case noted later that different people have different appetites for information. It takes training, experience, and emotional intelligence.
But it’s important: in 2012 the Institute of Medicine’s report “Best Care at Lower Cost” declared that medicine must be “anchored on patient needs and perspectives.” Note: the IOM specifically points to the patient’s point of view. For decades providers have learned to focus who on clinical expertise. Now it’s clear that another dimension must be added – caring about the emotional and experiential needs of the patient, as well.
People are different, so providers who use a one-size-fits-all approach are guaranteed to miss on some patients. Importantly, in an increasingly competitive environment, this is a new opportunity for astute providers to outperform their competition, and deliver “care that’s more caring” to their patient population.
What do you think? Comment, if you want.
The TEDMED interview with Dr. Merlino
This interview isn’t directly relevant to the above – it’s about the patient-provider partnership, which is related to patient experience but not identical. I’ll put it here, though, because I never blogged it back then. From April 2012. Check it – around 2 minutes in, he says “Patients have a right to be a jerk.” :-)
Historical tidbit: the interview was recorded the same day Ross Martin taped his now-famous Gimme My DaM Data video.:-)