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4 Elements That Enhance Patient Experience

Analysis  |  By Jennifer Thew RN  
   May 01, 2018

Positive moments involve four specific qualities and, by focusing on those elements, nurses can improve a patient's healthcare experience.

A few weeks ago, after returning home from the American Organization of Nurse Executive's annual conference in Indianapolis, I found an envelope addressed to my 6-year-old daughter in our mailbox.

Inside was a thank-you card from the health system where she had been hospitalized in March.

"Dear blank," the form letter began. I say "blank" because no one bothered to write my daughter's name in the space where it was supposed to be personalized. The card was symbolic of all that has been wrong with our monthlong healthcare saga.

Our experience had been a string of one frustrating, sometimes infuriating, moment after another. There had been inattention to detail, lack of listening, and poor care coordination (both clinically and administratively).

Coincidentally, AONE 2018's opening keynote presentation, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath, an expert in organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, focused on creating moments that can positively influence patient experience.

Promote peak experiences

In his talk, Heath points out that some experiences, or moments, have the power to jolt, elevate, or change a person.

The most memorable, positive portion of an experience is called a peak moment. Take for example, a trip to Disney World. When a person mentally revisits their time there, while there may have been crowds and lines, they are more likely to remember the way their child's face lit up with joy when they met Pluto. That is a peak moment that will be remembered for a lifetime.

"Peak moments matter," he says, "but the problem is we're not trained to build peaks, we're trained to fix problems."

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.

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