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Experience the Patient

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 13, 2012
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This article appears in the June 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

In our annual Industry Survey, leaders cite patient experience and satisfaction as their organization's top priority, and 59% place it among their top three priorities. And yet when assessing how their organization is doing in that regard, only 18% choose "very strong." While 47% describe their organization's patient experience as "strong," 35% classify it as "neutral," "weak," or "very weak." What is behind the industry's inability to do better in an area that leaders regard as a top priority, and what can be done to improve?

Eleanor Keller
Director of Inpatient Service
OSS Orthopaedic Hospital
York, PA.


A lot of what we do is make sure our staff is taking excellent care of our patients—making sure their pain is under control, making sure their needs are met on their time—because the time that a need is met to me may be different from anybody else.

A lot of people have become complacent and don't seem to put the priority on patient satisfaction. We have a lot of competition and many of our patients come to us because of word of mouth from other patients who were satisfied, and we don't want to lose that. A lot of organizations don't see that. They might think, "I'm good and everyone is going to want to come to me."

We've only been open about a year and a half. So it was not so much changing the behavior, but as people came on board we had them recognize that this is what we want to be and this is what we have to do to get there—and we had to make sure they were on board with that.

In established hospitals, it's always harder to change behaviors to what you want, but when you interview, you interview for the behavior.

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