Patient Experience: Small Details Matter

Last night I happened to be having a conversation with someone close to me who took the opportunity to share with me the following letter they received in the mail (they gave me permission to take a picture and share the story):


As I was taking a Sharpie to remove their name from the letter, they began to say, “How the heck is this HIPAA compliant? Anyone that has the ability to see the mail, my mailbox, or the letter now has the ability to see that I have an appointment.”

As our discussion progressed, I began to notice that the emotional response was less related to HIPAA and compliance, but more to their own patient experience. It was more about the trust between healthcare organization and patient.

Many organizations inside of healthcare talk about the “patient experience.” Many organizations have taken steps to focus on programs that will hopefully encourage patients and users of the healthcare system to give them a favorable review upon being sent a survey.

However, most healthcare organizations across the globe continue to fall short of expectations.

The reason is that healthcare experts are defining the wrong problem(s).

The vast majority of patients will never set foot or be admitted to the hospital. So while the appearance of the paint, the comfort of the seats, the lighting of the rooms, and the ability to have anyone visit the ICU are impactful to some, they are missing the 80% of their users.

Letters, forms, insurance information, medical documentation, lab results, bills, and payments are examples of things that each user of care will interact with during their experience.

The small details are usually the ones most organizations overlook because they believe they have less impact.

Yet the small details, the ones most healthcare leaders take for granted or overlook, are the very details that typically begin and end the patient experience for most users.

Most importantly, if a small letter damages the trust between patient and the healthcare organization and/or provider, the ability to “engage” the patient moving forward becomes more difficult.

Trust and time are the most important things that are exchanged between healthcare organization, healthcare provider, and patient.

The small details matter. A sticker on an envelope can impact the patient experience.

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek


As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek



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