This Is A Hospital Experience?
A friend just posted a very cool story about her time at a hospital this morning. I’m proud to say this hospital is one of my clients and they really DO encompass the idea of patient and family centered care. Here’s my summation of her story…
Due to an orthopedic injury, my friend (I’ll call her Ellen), needed to have an MRI. She went into the experience expecting misery. Ask practically anyone their bad hospital experience and they all have a story, right? Maybe you’ve even lived one of these stories…
Anyway, said friend took off work, hobbled around her house collecting books, magazines and her iPod for the wait. Well stocked, she drove to the hospital, knowing she’d have to park a million miles away. And, she did. But, once inside the doors of the hospital, the elevators were mere steps from the automatic doors. The MRI offices were a very short walk from the elevator. The receptionist she expected to be grumpy was pleasant and smiling. Ellen had dressed in layers since it’s Dec. and since she expected to be in the waiting room for hours. Plus, you often have to disrobe for MRIs.
After being in the waiting room for only a few moments, a guy in scrubs came out and called her name. When he saw she had a bit of a struggle to walk, he offered to go grab her a wheelchair. Ellen didn’t have to disrobe, other than taking off her earrings and shoes. And the radiology professional told her she could listen to music while she was in the scan.
It was over in minutes and, before she left, she was able to see the scan right on the radiographer’s computer screen. What she expected to be an all day ordeal was over by 9:30 and went so smoothly she actually went into work. 8:45am appointment and she was out the door by 9:30. Yes, a.m.
Friends, a few things we can learn from this. First, our expectations can cause a lot of stress when we expect the worst. And, as usual, the worst usually doesn’t happen. Second, this hospital has likely heard thousands of complaints from patients about their experiences with radiology and the wait times and difficulty of getting the health care needed. And, as if I didn’t know this hospital intimately already, this unsolicited story from a patient showed they really ARE listening to their patients.
While every health care professional and hospital administrator I’ve talked to says they simply do not know how the health care mandate is going to play out, there IS one thing that’s for certain: hospitals MUST step up their game in the area of patient care and the patient experience or they won’t be reimbursed. There are systemic changes being implemented at hospitals nationwide that will (hopefully) make everyone’s hospitalization experience more like Ellen’s and less like the horror stories experienced in the past. Will Obamacare actually work when it’s implemented? No one knows. I sure don’t. Neither does President Obama. But, what I think we all should expect is a surprisingly positive experience like Ellen had today.