Is Your Healthcare Team Warm Enough?

Healthcare teamworkTamika rushes into the clinic. She’s late. 32 minutes late, to be precise. As she arrives she meets the eyes of the Medical Receptionist, who glances at her disapprovingly. Darting into the back, she pulls off her gloves and hurriedly hangs her coat in her locker.

Her manager, Kate, is suddenly there. “You’re late” she declares.  Continue reading

Improve Patient Satisfaction Scores by Focusing on Employee Strengths

what are you best at?A high-quality patient experience comes from patients encountering employees who are in the right roles. This is the conclusion drawn by the employee engagement experts over at Gallup.

What are the right roles for employees? According to research, employees perform at their best when they are allowed to deploy their strengths frequently at work. Continue reading

Use this one word for happier, more compliant patients…

one_word_centeredThere are an endless supply of books out there in the world on moving others to action. I recently read Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human, which I highly recommend. Another great one in this category, a classic really, is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini. Continue reading

The Most Important Person On Your Healthcare Team

Healthcare managers“Either your employees are incompetent or they’re poorly trained. Whichever is true, that’s your fault.”

–Comment I heard a disgruntled customer make to a site manager, November 2013.

In healthcare we like to proclaim that patients and families are the most important people in our business. While it’s true they are the reason we exist and should always be the primary focus of our effort and attention, they are, in fact, not the most important people in our business. Continue reading

The One Thing All Healthcare Organizations Must Do in the Next 12 Months

patient satisfactionThe next 12 months will be more challenging for healthcare organizations than any other period in history. The impending changes brought about by healthcare reform will provide access to care to millions of Americans who previously didn’t have it. This increase in patient volume and demand for services appears poised to strike at the same time that healthcare organizations are struggling with recruiting challenges, staffing shortages, and reduced revenues. It seems unlikely, at most sites, to expect an expansion of support equal to the increased demand. It’s not over-reaching to state that the burden on front line personnel and their managers will be like none they’ve seen before. Now more than ever healthcare leaders need to step-up their efforts to teach their teams how to attend to the single most influential factor in the patient experience: Continue reading

20 Minute Patient-Centered Care Activity: Needs-Wants-Emotions-Stereotypes

free activity downloadA couple of years ago I attended several days of training with the Disney Business Institute.  I thoroughly enjoyed much of what was shared in the DBI and often find myself thinking back to one thing or another I heard there.

On one of the days I spent with them we learned a lot about how they, as an organization, cultivate a service culture across the enterprise. While your level of fan-dom for all things Disney may vary, we can all agree that they are world-renowned for customer service.

One way they stay service-minded is by continually talking about the needs, wants, emotions, and stereotypes of their guests. These are several factors that define “who” their guests are when they walk through the door at a Disney themepark. Of all the things I heard that day this angle in particular stood out to me because of how applicable it is to healthcare settings. And since the DBI trainers encouraged us to find ways to explore these dynamics in our professional environments I wrote up a brief staff development activity based on the Needs-Wants-Emotions-Stereotypes model they shared.

I used this activity in a variety of settings and in every instance it led to an easy but powerful dialogue about all the forces at work on patients. I’ve decided to publish it here for your own use.

The activity, which can be done in as little as 20 minutes, asks personnel to brainstorm and list all the needs, wants, emotions, and stereotypes patients face. Participants use their own experiences to define each, then recount effective service behaviors they did (or did not) experience in all four areas. Participants then return to the provider perspective by using the lists they made to collectively outline who “our” patient is and what “we” can do to meet them where they are at. An optional activity is included which has participants construct an individualized action plan for behavior change and partner with a colleague for implementation. By revisiting their experiences as patients, staff are quickly reminded of what it “feels like” to be a patient. By identifying associated service behaviors, participants assign value to them, increasing the likelihood that they will appear in patient interactions.

This activity is a tool for physicians, directors, managers, or chief clinical officers regularly looking for diverse ways to continue cultivating empathy. And by taking the added step of defining behaviors, it lends itself to performance improvement after-the-fact.

The activity can be done as part of a staff meeting, retreat, team huddle, or professional development exercise.  A PDF of the facilitation guide can be downloaded by clicking here: N-W-E-S Patient-Care Activity.

My only request is that if you use this activity, you come back here and tell me about it.  How did it go? Was it useful? What kind of group did you use it with and what was their reaction?  Share using the comments box below.  Enjoy!  ~Joe

7 Skills Successful Healthcare Leaders (Including Physicians!) Use Regularly

On-site leaders set the tone in healthcare. They ensure that safety, quality, and patient satisfaction are top priorities by working to impact the level of service delivery every day. If you are in a leadership role in a healthcare setting here are 7 skills you’ll need to use frequently to keep your teams focused and on track. Continue reading