If you ask 50 people to define “the Patient Experience”, you’re sure to get 50 different answers. While there are many definitions, we’ve adopted what is considered to be the most widely accepted definition, which comes from The Beryl Institute:

“The Patient Experience is the sum of all interactions, ?shaped by an organization’s culture, ?that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.”

If you read that definition slowly and really think about every word, it becomes clear that creating a meaningful patient experience is more than simply telling healthcare employees to just “be nicer.”

But that’s often what we do when we seek to improve the patient experience. We turn to a quick-fix script of things to say or do and we launch a new program or initiative in the hopes of boosting patient satisfaction scores. And it works for a short while … until it doesn’t. Then, employees go back to doing what they’ve always done and patient satisfaction scores ebb and flow like the ocean tides.

Moving the needle on patient experience, in a way that is meaningful and sustainable, requires a shift in thought. It can’t just be another program or initiative or checklist of what to do or say. It has to become who we are as a healing organization.