Creating a Culture of Care
Would you categorize your last hospital visit as a “guest experience?” How often would you rate a hospital as excellent instead of just satisfactory? If not often, could it be because the hospital failed to offer an intentional culture of care?
Why is it Important in Healthcare?
To stay competitive, healthcare systems must provide superior customer service. In order to thrive in the coming decade, hospital staff must proactively engage with the patient, going beyond the responsibility of caring for the medical needs, and embrace each person with genuine empathy and respect.
Over the past ten years, the implementation of Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology has been a dedicated focus for improving patient satisfaction. With the command of the electronic record, patient care documentation has become much more accurate with patients having full access online. At the same time, patient workflows and processes are advancing. However, as important as the technology is to patient care, patients often still report dissatisfaction with their experiences.
How, then, can healthcare organizations ensure positive patient satisfaction ratings? Success comes by leveraging technology and developing the necessary emotional intelligence (EQ) of staff and personnel to create a culture of care.
Where do We Start?
A specialized culture of care can transform a patient visit into a positive guest experience. For example, Scheduling and Registration staff gather and enter personal patient data into the patient’s chart. This information includes name, date of birth, reason for the admission, insurance information, and more. These professionals not only create the patient chart, they also establish the patient relationship.
By virtue of this initial encounter, these personnel are often the first “face” of the hospital to the patient. They become brand ambassadors. This interaction establishes ethos, trust, and confidence or confusion, concern, and dissatisfaction. Providing expedient care while establishing positive rapport with the patient can promote an exceptional patient experience.
In today’s marketplace, patients have multiple healthcare options. One unhappy patient is more than one dissatisfied reference; a poor reputation can easily reach thousands through the power of social media.
With this in mind, consider these five quick tips for transforming patient visits into optimal guest experiences.
Five Tips to Create a Culture of Care
Greet each guest with a smile. Graciously engage each patient and family.
A warm smile and friendly greeting can quickly ease the anxiety hospital visits naturally elicit. Cordially introduce yourself and outline your process within the first seven seconds of your introduction. Leverage the power of a smile and friendly personality to better serve the patient. Is your hospital focusing on emotional intelligence?
Prepare. Know the plan and process.
Proper training is essential. Make certain you have identified the most effective as well as time-efficient process for gathering needed information. This, consequently, allows the patient to quickly transition into the professional care they expect and deserve. Leverage the technology while keeping the patient experience a priority. Are you and your team confident in your processes?
Know your brand promise. Always deliver.
A brand promise is an extension of the hospital’s positioning in the market. In fact, it is the tangible benefit related to doing business. What can the patient expect when doing business with you and your hospital? How well do all members of your team deliver on brand promise expectations?
Serve patients as guests. Treat them as family.
In actuality, this works. People want to be treated respectfully and with care. Showing both personal respect and empathy expresses to others they are important. When interacting with people, perceptions become reality. Imagine the difference in the patient experience if you were to treat patients the same way you treat your favorite relative – we all have one!
Go the extra mile with the little things.
A compilation of little things makes a big impression. Going the extra mile might be as simple as walking the patient and family member to the waiting area or personally assisting him or her to the day surgery check-in nursing station. Small things make a significant impact on the patient experience. Take a moment and begin writing down some of the small things you can do to facilitate a genuine culture of care. Are you transforming patient visits into positive guest experiences?
What are the Next Steps?
Emotional intelligence is the essential ingredient in building effective behaviors that cultivate patient satisfaction and establish patients for life!