Google, quiet, dominant and emotional patients: How a Netherlands hospital is treating all four types

Hospital administrators at Rotterdam Eye Hospital in the Netherlands have found that lower-tech measures, such as their ongoing design-thinking program, can improve healthcare, according to Harvard Business Review.

The program incorporates design principles into the hospital's planning process. So far, focusing on building a more intuitive website and replacing fluorescent lighting and linoleum floors with softer lighting and wood parquet have reduced patient fears.

Now, the hospital has integrated better conversations into their design-thinking by addressing patients' fear of eye surgery while discussing their conditions and treatment options.

The coach on the design-thinking team trained hospital staff to look for a distinctive set of verbal and nonverbal cues that marked patient behavior and sorted the behavior into one of four categories:

  1. Google patients, who are obsessive about information
  2. Dominant patients, who like to be firmly in charge of their case
  3. Quiet patients, who say everything is fine, even when it isn't
  4. Emotional patients, who, more than anything, just want reassurance that their caregivers are looking after them. 

The program keeps caregivers aware of the verbal and nonverbal signs that often move across the four categories, indicating that a patient feels afraid or helpless.

The entire staff is trained on a yearly basis so participants get acquainted with the different patient types and recognize how to respond to them. "Thanks to the yearly training, I now have fewer difficult patients, because I can recognize their fear signs and know how to respond," one medical resident said.

More articles on patient engagement: 
Patients at Franciscan Children's turn to rooftop garden for therapy
Oncology patients prefer interactions with physicians without computers
Why are Patient Satisfaction Scores Important and Should Nurses Care?

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