How your hospital can make managing the patient experience a little easier.
A good patient experience is the goal for any hospital. Managing that experience is one of the most important things you can do for the community. It defines the quality of your care. It sets the tone for the staff. If patients have a good experience your reputation flourishes and trust grows. If staff feels appreciated and is well supplied they perform at the most professional levels. Fail to fulfill the expectations of either group and your perception by your community suffers.
How do you keep up with your patient and staff demands?
Here are three simple guidelines to manage all the facets of customer and staff interaction. These standards will give you the framework to both keep the patients and staff satisfied without frustration.
Know how to answer
No matter what position, every single staff member should know how to handle a patient’s question, complaint or concern. Anticipating what patients may ask serves as a dress rehearsal for the staff to know what to say. Inversely, when a patient asks a question that a staff member can’t answer, they should be trained to never pass the buck by saying they do not know.
A patient should always be met with a helpful response, such as “let me find you someone that can answer your question,” or “let me ask the right person and I will follow up with you immediately.” You know that treating a patient like their issues are important is essential, so make sure your hospital staff is reminded of this every day.
Know how to apologize
Let’s face it, patients and family members can sometimes be very difficult to handle. It can grade on your patience and weaken your ability to respond to situations with sound judgment. Obviously the patients are not always right. Regardless, it is important to validate their concerns. Solid compassionate listening can send the message that you care. Making sure that you acknowledge what they are really communicating will work wonders.
Never hesitate to apologize. In any situation, no matter whose fault it may be, offer an apology. Following that apology, make sure your staff tells them what you are going to do to resolve the situation. Then do what you say you are going to do. Keep in mind, an apology is not always an omission of guilt. An apology gives you the opportunity to fix the problem instead of worrying about who is right or wrong. Knowing how to apologize is one of the best patient management practices to enforce, because it allows for correction of any mistake that is made in the patient experience.
Knowing when to take the blame
It is inevitable, no matter how well you manage your hospital staff, that mistakes will happen. One of the best things you can do is create a blame free environment. This will encourage your staff to actively pursue excellent patient service. This environment must allow staff to do their jobs without living in mortal fear about making a mistake. This creates a better working relationship between administration and hospital team members.
As easy as one, two, three.
These standards might be simple, but if you keep these at the forefront of any patient management plan, you have the basics to fall back on. As you know, the daily challenges of operating a hospital can cause anyone to lose track of all the elements of patient need. Luckily, getting back on track can be as easy as one, two, three.
SRJ wants your hospital to thrive in today’s healthcare marketplace. That is why our firm has been assisting rural hospitals since 1989 with the most efficient patient service training to help you stand out in your community. To learn more about what SRJ can do for your hospital, visit here or call 214.528.5775