In business, Heath says, research has shown that companies spend about 80% of the time fixing problems, and 20% of the time building peaks. That means for every hour spent on problems, only 15 minutes is spent on building peak experiences. Additionally, for every $1 made fixing a problem, $9 could be made by building a peak.
Four elements of peak moments
So how can nurse leadership build peak moments that will stick with patients for a lifetime and improve a patient's healthcare experience?
Peak moments contain some, or all, of the following four elements, Heath says.
- Elevation—This element inspires a highly sensory experience, such as the birth of a new baby. It creates strong emotions such as joy, awe, or deep engagement. For example, at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, each time a baby is born the hospital operator plays Brahms' Lullaby over the intercom.
- Insight—This element leads to a breakthrough. The breakthrough may not necessarily create moments of delight but can occur when someone has stretched themselves. Nurses are using motivational interviewing to give patients insight into personal motivations for changing behavior to promote health.
- Pride—Many hospitals and healthcare organizations engage in meaningful recognition of staff through programs such as The Daisy Award. When nurses take pride in their work and it shows in their care practices, it can enhance patient experience. One study of 269 acute care hospitals found that compassion practices are significantly and positively associated with hospital ratings and a patient's likelihood to recommend.
- Connection—This deepens the ties between people or groups and a sense of closeness and validation, and personalization occurs. In healthcare, we often call this patient-centered care. This is exactly why that thank-you card our family received missed the mark; it was generic and impersonal, and came across as insincere.
"If we embrace these elements," says Heath, "we can conjure more moments that matter."
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.