Proven service excellence programs like Disney or the Studer Group, have moved hospitals light years ahead of where they were a decade ago. Many hospitals have gone from bad to good, but many still struggle getting to excellent. From a recent article in FierceHealthcare:
“If you want to go (if you'll pardon the business cliché), from good to great, the key is not to focus primarily on . . . service excellence, argues Fred Lee, a patient relations and service consultant and author of "If Disney Ran Your Hospital."
You read that right: The author of one of the best-known books on service excellence in the healthcare industry says you should not focus solely on service excellence in your quest to improve patient satisfaction scores. ... Read more.
Lee said ... hospitals that "hardwire" patient satisfaction and service excellence and concepts such as courtesy have maxed out the potential of these efforts.
"A service of courtesy is not enough in our business if we are not also meeting people's emotional needs," Lee said.
It’s one thing for the concierge at the Ritz to go above and beyond, but he doesn’t need to connect to a customer’s emotions or calm him in naturally unsettling situation. In hospitals, emotions and behaviors have a big impact on the patient experience. Two nurses can use the same treatment technique or read from the same baseline script. The one with higher emotional intelligence, awareness and compassion will do a better job making the patient and family comfortable or pick up on non-verbal cues as to their needs.
More great examples from the article:
Patient perceptions are based on nonverbal cues that the patient doesn't even know they're picking up on," Lee said. A nurse who's frowning as she concentrates on finding a vein? That tells the patient that if this nurse finds a vein it will be pure luck.
On the other hand, a nurse who comes in and, as she's looking for that vein, assures the patient that she's accomplished and that although it might hurt a bit she's going to be as gentle as possible? That patient's perception will be quite different -- and his outcome and experience will be more positive, too.
Behavioral assessments and structured interviews have an important role in all of this.
Here are two reasons why:
1) You have no chance of identifying the nurse in the second example during the traditional hiring process, whereas the science of selection can make that possible.
2) What training would change the behaviors of the first nurse? You can only give her so many scripts. At some point, her levels of awareness, patient-focus and empathy come into play. Training only has a chance if it is built on her baseline behavioral makeup.
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