Healthcare reform is top of mind in the country today. The dialogue is focused on access, efficiency, cost reduction, quality, and safety, with little regard to the experience of staff and patients. The focus on working harder with less is creating a fatigued, demoralized and disenfranchised healthcare workforce. If the conversation also included a focus on understanding the gaps in the human experience of care and innovations to restore it, doctors, nurses and frontline staff would reengage and reconnect to the reason they entered healthcare in the first place – to help people heal. If we truly want to improve patient care, satisfaction and outcomes, we have to change our approach. We must return staff back to a mission and purpose by pursuing human-centered strategies and technologies that hardwire healing.
The 10 steps to humanize the experience of care and restore joy back to medicine:
- Map the gaps in the human experience of care by truly listening to the voices of patients and families.
- Create a checklist of “Always Events™” that restore humanity back to healthcare.
- Value the sacred and healing nature of the physician/nurse and patient relationship.
- Listen to the voices of physicians and staff members to determine what it would take to have them spend the rest of their career in your organization.
- Deploy patient-centric technology that returns physicians and nurses back to the bedside.
- Integrate experience-focused work with quality, safety and performance improvement initiatives to avoid redundancy and staff fatigue.
- Measure what matters most to patients and ensure their emotional, spiritual and physical needs are met in addition to the technical outcome.
- Ask physicians to step up and lead healthcare experience improvement work in partnership with nurse leaders.
- Make the human experience of care your organizations a top strategic priority.
- Empower physicians, staff, and patients to capture market share, enhance competitive differentiation, and strengthen loyalty.
Organizational cultures where the sacred and healing relationship between a patient and caregiver is valued and where patients are empowered to be equal partners in their care will succeed in driving satisfaction and outcomes. This is the path to driving long-term success for healthcare organizations, the physicians and staff that work within them, and the patients and family that entrust them with their care.