I have recently been approached by a clinic who very much liked our idea of the Patient Experience Plan. Their wish was for us to be involved improving the patient experience in their clinic by training their team members. The first question I got from the owner of the practice was – “We are a very busy practice – what can we sacrifice on the patient experience due to lack of time? “
This question intrigued me? Do we have to sacrifice patient experience? Do we measure patient experience according to time spent with the patients?
So here is what I believe in and has been proven by research work in a very busy Ophthalmology department in a hospital in the US. It has been found that a great experience is not necessarily related to the time spent with the patients but the provider’s attitude and purpose.
During this study they have seen that there were still a few providers who were extremely busy but still achieved great Patient Experience scores. So what differentiate these providers from the others? It had been thought maybe they are more efficient with their work, or other technical aspects of their consultations. However, it was their attitude towards their work and towards the patients that stood out:
- They felt privileged to be allowed into their patients` lives and felt gratitude to be able to help people. Seeing more patients was an opportunity to help more people instead if seeing it as a high volume of workload
- They listened carefully and showed patients that they want to understand their problems in order to be able to help
- They were acting with a sense of purpose that fulfilled them
So we can conclude that great patient experience is very much possible in a very busy practice, however, we need to make sure that everybody acts with a sense of purpose. The patients will feel the difference by how we make them feel, not according to how much time we spend with them.