Today we discussed the patient voice in healthcare and the need to focus on the experience of patients and families.
Those working in the healthcare system have deeply entrenched clinical and technical knowledge. Procedures that are entirely routine to the provider can be life-changing to a patient.
We have previously discussed the concept of two experts: the healthcare professional as a scientific and technical expert; and the patient as an expert in their own experience.
When thinking about the patient experience, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can provide a useful framework.
A patient going for a “routine” procedure is subject to this hierarchy in a very profound way. If the waiting room is too hot or cold, this will impact patients at a physiological level. An aggressive patient running amok will impact a sense of security. Whether a pre-procedural checklist is used can affect a patient’s sense of safety. Higher-level needs such as belongingness and esteem are trickier – but preserving a sense of dignity might fit well with esteem.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) collects a host of data relating to patient and family experience. Their data relating to patient experience is available here.
We concluded with a story from an airport, which highlighted how changing the focus from the business to the consumer can have an impact on something as mundane as a boarding announcement, and on the travelling experience.