Christmas is upon us! If you’re like us, you’re probably thinking ‘Where did the year go?’ and if you’re in a high-pressured health environment, your second most immediate thought is ‘How are we going to cope with skeleton staff this season?!’
- Here are some ideas on how to maintain patient experience during the silly (and scary) season:Ensuring clear communication with patients. If waiting times are going to be longer, ensure the patient is informed of this, and is updated on the wait time frequently. The ‘why’ is important – perhaps the doctor had to deliver some bad news to a family or staff are away. Be specific if the patient won’t be called in before a certain time.
- Make wait areas comfortable. Stock up on the magazines, provide complimentary coffee and tea, make sure the wifi is working or provide TV entertainment. This can go a long way in optimizing patient satisfaction even when the wait time is not ideal.1
- Ensure busy staff are not giving off ‘cues of indifference’. Here are some examples:
- Healthcare professionals avoiding eye contact with “civilians.” Med students hurrying self-importantly down the halls, nearly running down the slow-moving patients who won’t get with the program. Patients ignored by nurses who haven’t yet clocked in and therefore don’t realize they are already (poorly) representing their institution. Doctors in the hallway loudly carrying on about the relative benefits of different vacations they’ve taken. Two radios playing at once from two administrative areas (with the waiting area for patients and their families located equidistant to both). Vending machines that are left out of service indefinitely. Vending machines that require exact change, but there’s no change machine.
- Empathy and communication in busy wards. Continue to bring up patient experience survey outcomes at morning staff huddles, motivate staff with small rewards and comments of appreciation to ensure they are still focused on communicating and caring for patients with empathy, even during periods when the ward is short-staffed.Get help! If patient experience measurement is just adding to ward workloads – consider using volunteers to survey patients or automate your patient experience measurement.
We’ve first hand experience with helping health settings do this so just ask us!
1. http://blog.evisit.com/reduce- patient-wait-times
2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/m icahsolomon/2015/01/11/8-ways- to-improve-patient-satisfactio n-and-patient-experience-and- by-the-way-improve-hcahps- scores/#6452bf4d5191