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Create Moments That Matter for Patients to Improve Experiences and Outcomes

The Q2 2016 PX Advisor is focused squarely on Non-Acute Care. This post excerpts an article By Katie Owens, MHA, Vice President, HealthStream Engagement Institute.

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The success of our healthcare organization depends upon the ways we interact and engage with patients and each other. We know patients are impacted by every person who comes in contact with them or their families. As integral participants in healthcare, we have a vital role to play in our patients’ perceptions of their experiences.

Patients begin to evaluate a healthcare experience long before they enter a facility. Whether the first encounter is by telephone or with a valet service in the parking lot, patients and family members begin to judge the quality, safety, and service of the organization before they reach the front door. It is not only what we say but how we sound and the way we look that impact what a patient and family take away from a healthcare experience. We are each ambassadors for the mission and vision of our organization, and we have the opportunity to represent our hospitals, emergency departments, ambulatory settings, and post-acute facilities positively or negatively. It is up to us to let patients know we care, through every action, every word, every interaction.

WHAT ARE THE MOMENTS THAT MATTER?

Moments that Matter encompasses the idea that all healthcare personnel have an impact on patients’ healthcare experiences. By understanding, empathizing, and developing ways to deliver an excellent experience, healthcare workers are in a unique position to impact lives. Whether we provide clinical care or not, each of us is integral, not only to the outcome of a single event, but to the way in which people approach healthcare moving forward.

There are eight primary principles for creating Moments That Matter; they includepurpose, empathy, trust, communication, teamwork, accountability, appearance, and attitude. While these principles are easy to identify, they require mindful practice to live every day. A connection with purpose requires asking and answering the fundamental question, “Why did I choose healthcare?” Drawing on purpose means the person washing sheets understands he or she contributes to the health and well-being of every patient. It means the parking lot attendant knows he or she makes the journey to the front door easier for many people. Empathy is a quality many of us embody; it draws us to healthcare. And, it requires we put ourselves in the other’s place and that we attempt to understand another human being at a very deep level. Likewise, trust is crucial; trust in ourselves, in our areas, and in our organizations. Underpinning many of these principles is effective communication, the ability not only to speak clearly and transparently but also to listen well to what is said and what is left unsaid. Being part of a high performing team means that we share a collective vision, know where the team is headed, carry our weight, and reward each other regularly. Associated with effective teamwork is accountability. Accountability ensures we follow through on our commitments and do what we say we will do. Professional appearance is an important principle in that it engenders confidence in our skills and in our organization. Finally, attitude provides the capstone; attitude is a choice that helps our patients know they matter to us.

 

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