“You can never really know a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”

To be able to see and experience things from another person’s point of view is a great gift. It can change our perspective, foster empathy, and create better understanding. In healthcare, as in most other industries as well, we tend to get caught up in the daily grind without always noticing what’s right in front of us.

So how can we really know what patients (or visitors, employees, vendors, and family members) are seeing, feeling, and experiencing at our hospitals or care facilities?

Flip the Lens and Conduct a Pride Audit

A Pride Audit is really just a fancy term for walking in another’s shoes – or, seeing with another’s eyes. My team and I use Pride Audits as a critical first step with organizations that are beginning their cultural transformation. And here’s why: Pride Audits can give you an objective snapshot – a true picture – of what life is really like inside your organization on a day to day basis, from the patient and employee perspective.

You can conduct your own Pride Audit today by taking a walk through your facility and looking at EVERYTHING through the patient’s eyes.  Take a walk down your hallways – or better yet, have someone roll you on a gurney along a typical patient route…

Are there light bulbs out? Scuffs on the floor? Holes in the wall? Poor signage or misspelled signs?  Trash on the floor?

Now notice your employees …

Are name tags worn and visible? Or are they turned around so no one can see them? Are they smiling and making appropriate eye contact with patients, families, and each other?Or are they checking their phones or chatting about last night’s happy hour in earshot of patients?

Now notice your own examination room …

Are the instruments organized or strewn about on a table?

Is the equipment clean?

Décor up to date?

Are patients’ personal files stored electronically, or are they scattered about the nursing station desk?

Keep walking …

Does your care team have a place to go on their break? Or do they share a restroom with patients and visitors? Are they forced to smoke outside your building so everyone entering or exiting will see them?Is your waiting area filled with old magazines, dated artwork, and dead plants?

Patients pay attention to the little details. And based on those details, they make judgments on the big things. Whether you think they’re trivial or not, every detail in your setting says something about your brand. Patients notice. Visitors notice. And your employees notice. Conducting a Pride Audit is a great way to flip the lens and see things with new eyes and it’s a great reminder that the layout and feel of your building, waiting areas, and exam rooms can greatly impact your patients’ impressions of their care – long before any of your employees ever lay a hand on them.