Patient Experience Initiatives In Healthcare: Part II
The other day I met up with some friends I haven’t seen in quite awhile. As always when we meet there is good food and discussions around our families, work, and an attempt to solve the world’s problems. In our discussion I casually asked one of my friends how her father was doing. See he was prepared to have a kidney transplant last spring, but during his physical, which is required before surgery, they found he had a heart condition. Long story short, they had to address the heart condition first before he would be able to successfully have his kidney transplant. No doubt a medically complex situation.
When my friend began to speak of her father’s experience, I clearly heard the hurt, anger, and resentment she and her family experienced with his care. She would go on to describe at length her father’s care as incompetent, poor communication, and mistrust between her family and the healthcare team taking care of her father. In listening to her tell her father’s story, I became angry and frustrated along with her. I again asked the question why is it so hard for the healthcare industry of highly skilled and caring professionals that want to make a difference struggle so much with delivering an outstanding patient experience?
The unfortunate part about her story is there are too many stories just like hers. As an industry, I am confident there is excellent care out there that happens everyday. I am also confident what she experienced along with other healthcare consumers is not the norm; however, I also believe our healthcare system can and should do better than what we provide today.
As I mentioned in my blog Patient Experience Initiatives In Healthcare Part I, the United States healthcare system needs reform. Not all of us agree with Obama Care in its entirety, but we certainly all do agree on the need for change. One of the key components to healthcare reform is addressing how we as an industry improve upon the patient experience in a measurable way.
For those that work in the industry and savvy consumers you may have heard the term Triple Aim used when discussing healthcare reform. In its simplest form, The Triple Aim means healthcare providers must focus in on improving patient outcomes, provide excellent customer service, and do it all at a lower cost.
The challenge for our healthcare industry is figuring out how to best design and implement the Triple Aim concepts and expectations into our current system AND have the ability to measure its success. We have to dig deep into better understanding and changing our policies, regulations, and other such systems that are currently in place for which they hinder the progress of delivering the best possible patient experience. This is surely not an overnight change, but an important and necessary process that must be followed in reforming healthcare. As consumers and providers alike we have to be stronger advocates for ourselves, families, friends, and the community at large to make positive changes to the current state of our healthcare system.
If you are looking to educate yourself further on healthcare reform I have included a few resources I use regularly to help me understand as a consumer and provider of healthcare what is going on across the nation and here at home in Minnesota. This is clearly not an exhaustive list, but merely meant to be a starting point.
1. Direct updates on healthcare from the White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform
2. New York Times Healthcare Reform Updates: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/health_insurance_and_managed_care/health_care_reform/index.html
3. United States Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/
4. Minnesota’s Local Healthcare Reform: http://mn.gov/health-reform/
5. American Physical Therapy Association: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/Default.aspx