A Different Take on Patient Experience

At the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Meeting in Chicago on May 11, Deirdre Mylod, PhD, executive director of the Institute for Innovation and senior vice president of research and analytics at Press Ganey, shared her take on how the industry should redefine patient experience.

Many hospitals and health systems have borrowed ideas and practices from the hospitality industry in order to boost patient experience scores, since much of patient experience is based on patient happiness. "When we start saying we need to be more like a hotel, we are forgetting about care," Dr. Mylod said. "If we think the entire strategy of patient experience is to compete with hospitality [industry], we've missed the boat and are stressing out our staff."

Instead of focusing on hospitality aspects of patient care, Dr. Mylod presented the patient experience model of reducing suffering.

This model approaches patient experience by attempting to reduce patient suffering by mitigating unavoidable anxiety during treatment and minimize the creation of added anxiety during treatment.

One important aspect of this definition of patient experience is for providers to be cheerful and act as a team. Dr. Mylod used the analogy of flight attendants to explain why cheerfulness is important — when there is turbulence during a flight, most passengers look to the flight attendants. If the attendants are acting as if nothing is wrong, they can be a calming presence to passengers. If the attendants look stressed, the passengers are more likely to stress out. So, with patients and their family already concerned about leaving the hospital healthy, the nurses and providers should act as "flight attendants" for the patients and be a calm, cheerful presence in order to reduce anxiety.

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