Patient Experience is Shifting the Culture of Healthcare
“The culture of all health care is shifting to focus on patients’ well-being and how that ties into quality. We think of patient experience as a quality measure,” Dr. Pauline Tsirigotis of Lowell General PHO explained.
Lowell General PHO has been a long-time supporter of MHQP’s Patient Experience Survey (PES) and recently hired a patient experience manager to serve as a resource for primary care practices, and hopefully soon, specialists. Using the PES results, the patient experience manager works with practices to create tangible action plans and make incremental changes that can have a big impact on improving the quality of care.
As Dr. Tsirigotis described, by starting a conversation with practices around the PES scores, Lowell General PHO is able to bring in the patient perspective, as well as insights into how other groups are succeeding. “We bring in the perspective of how gentle shifts in messaging and what you say, or setting up expectations, can really foster that relationship between patient and the provider.”
For example, one of the recent ways that Lowell General PHO is helping implement change is through technology – many practices have started using web portals to communicate with their patients. By setting up the expectation early with patients about how physicians will communicate with them, practices have already begun receiving higher ratings of patient satisfaction. “We’re trying to help practices realize that not every single thing has to be done by the physicians themselves, but that practice-wide, we can start new initiatives that aren’t extra work, but do help patients feel more connected.”
Dr. Tsirigotis also credited the survey for revealing which elements of health care patients view as important, which in turn helps physicians plan accordingly for which conversations are most meaningful to patients.
Encouraging patients to give feedback, be involved and have discussions with their clinicians is one of Lowell General PHO’s main strategies for improving patient experience and delivering quality care. As Dr. Tsirigotis described, “The better the patients feel, the better their health will be and the better the doctor-patient relationship is. When a patient feels more connected based on an improved experience, they will likely become more engaged and feel better about the doctor-patient relationship. We believe, for many, the overall outcome will be improved as a result.”