Healthcare News & Insights

Put your heart into delivering patient-centered care

“Patients come to us for high quality care — but they don’t like us very much.” That was the sentiment of Cleveland Clinic’s CEO, Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, when he took the reins at the Ohio mega-healthcare system 10 years ago. 

78752296And he was right. Its patient satisfaction scores ranked in the lowest 10% of the nation.

Dr. Cosgrove became the chief evangelist for patient centered-care from day one when he passed out thousands of ‘Patient First” buttons to Clinic staffers.

Patient-centered care

Fourteen years later, the clinic ranks as one of the country’s most renowned healthcare leaders whose hallmark is providing excellent care with a special focus on patient satisfaction – including scheduling same-day appointments to anyone who calls.

Dr. Cosgrove’s gospel of patient-centered care has spread worldwide and its impact was evident last week when he and the Clinic’s Chief Experience Officer, Dr. James Merlino, welcomed a record audience to its fifth annual Patient Experience Summit, according to a report by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Over 2,000 physicians, healthcare CEO’s, nursing executives, hospital administrators and industry leaders from 49 states and 39 countries attended the event to hear experts share their challenges and offer solutions to help transform the patient experience.

Despite all the metrics that continue to tie healthcare facilities to patient satisfaction like pay-for-performance and medicare reimbursement, Dr. Cosgrove summed up what ultimately drives better delivery of patient-care.”The real measures have to come from the heart,” he said, “not ROI.”

Best practices

Here are some highlights from the Summit:

  • No pass zones: Cleveland Clinic recently instituted this rule for all employees: If you pass by a patient’s room and see the call light is on, no matter what your job is,  go in and see how you can help.
  • Bring clinicians to the bedside more often:  One chief nursing officer (CNO) shared that at her facility medical teams participate in hourly rounds and joint bedside reporting during shift changes.
  • Doctors are the worst patients:  Sometimes you can ‘teach’ empathy to new hospital staffers who need to learn more than bedside manners. One emergency department had new employees put their things in a locker and take a seat in the waiting room. Four hours later, with no explanation, they were told to take a seat behind a curtain where they heard people on other other side of the curtain whispering about them. At the end of the exercise, the new staffers were left with the memory of what it felt like to feel ignored and frustrated when you’re in need of medical care.
  • Out of the mouths of babes: 15-year old blogger and pediatric patient Morgan Gleason has been in and out of hospitals since she was diagnosed with a chronic illness at age 11. After a particularly frustrating medical visit, she posted a short video on YouTube aimed directly at the struggles of being a pediatric patient (doctors talking to her mom as if she’s not there). The video went viral. Morgan said that just being asked about her interests by her caregivers makes her feel human again.

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