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Experience the Patient

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 13, 2012
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Susan Stone
CNO, Sharp Memorial Hospital
San Diego

On overcoming obstacles: When you ask people "Are you patient-centered?" they say "Of course." But the definition of what it means is truly different for each hospital, and that has been a barrier in the healthcare industry. An extraordinary experience for the patient comes from the attitudes and behaviors that are exemplified by the personnel. And if you refocus your workforce on the priority of the relationship, they will have much greater success.

On listening: It is very important that the voice of the patient is involved in every aspect of the facility. We meet monthly with our patients and get their opinions on the work that we are doing. In addition there are some best-practice models of patient- and family-centered care that have demonstrated significant differences in outcomes related to the HCAHPS survey.

On the business case: When you get down to it, when you are talking about people who look at the bottom line and ask about the return on investment, it hasn't been clear to them about what that difference can be. In the study we did regarding patient-centered care models over five years, the patient satisfaction was significantly higher, the cost was actually lower in the facility that had implemented that model of care, and the return on investment was a lower length of stay. That is a success story. Those are the kind of success stories our industry needs but few have been in the literature for healthcare executives.


This article appears in the June 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Reprint HLR0612-1


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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