Experience the Patient

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 13, 2012
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Deborah Visconi
Director of Operations 
Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center

In order to improve the patient experience, it is critical to make satisfaction a top priority and area of focus for the organization. A key factor in being successful is the involvement of the entire healthcare team. So you have to include your physicians, nurses, ancillary staff, support departments, because everyone is critical to achieving the same goal.

It goes back to focus, priorities, and accountability. Most of our challenges are in the domain of communication. To achieve success in improving patient satisfaction, you have to establish accountability and focus the organization to put satisfaction as a top priority. In leadership we say, "Oh, yes, this is really important." But when we get distracted with other initiatives it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture of improving the patient experience.

If you do hourly rounding and you do it right, you diminish the patients having to press the call bell to meet their needs. If you are rounding on the patient every hour, you should be able to address those needs before they ask you. Hourly rounding is a key tactic that is critical in improving the patient experience by allowing the healthcare team to anticipate and meet the patients' needs before they have to ring the call bell. It helps us to understand what responsiveness means to each individual patient and their caregivers.

We've started putting the behavioral expectations in very specific detail into the performance appraisal for all employees, and patient satisfaction is part of your performance expectation.

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