Are you a patient? Then, I’m holding you for questioning. You have the right to…..

Just in case you had missed it, it’s all about patient experience from now on!  And a good thing too.

Or, at the very least, it seems the intention is to ask people more questions about their experience.  A lot more questions in fact.

In the new world, I wonder, will we be met by NHS ‘chuggers’ as we walk through the doors of our local hospital for an appointment?  Will there be follow-up calls?  What happens if we refuse? Do we have the right to remain silent?  Do we get the right to one telephone call before questioning?  A friend perhaps? I need to know.  I’m not good under good doctor, bad doctor questioning.  Although I do respond well to plea bargaining about diet etc.

So, you might want to get your question in to the expert questioners first, by taking part in The Guardian’s live Q&A at lunchtime this Friday 15th June about patient experience and feedback.  I tend to agree with Dick Vinegar’s take in The Guardian last month that patient feedback is ‘a blunt instrument that needs sharpening.’

Returning to the broader point about patient experience, recent ponderings on the subject led me today to the Cleveland Plain Dealer in Ohio, USA.  Cleveland is a very rainy city if I recall from my brief trip there years ago.  But this highly readable article felt like the sun coming out.  Entitled ‘Art of patient satisfaction meets the science of medicine’ it shines a light on what putting patient experience at the heart of a health organisation’s culture really means in practice.

The organisation concerned is the Cleveland Clinic and its turnaround story has also been featured recently in the Harvard Business Reviewyou can read it here for $6.95!  In sum, questions are a good starting point..but it’s what you do with the answers that really matters.  Obvious point but patient experience does suggest it needs repeating time and time again.

Here’s some more on the Cleveland Clinic’s approach to patient experience. And this article – looking at the drive to appoint Chief Patient Experience Officers (CPEO) in New York hospitals in the same way that the Cleveland Clinic did – just shows how quickly these things become an industry in their own right.  Is that good or bad?  Bad if the industry loses sight of its mission.

Nonetheless I quite like the idea of being questioned by the CPEO next time I’m in Cleveland.  Sort of feel they should be accompanied by R2D2 don’t you?


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