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#NoLimits at NGPX2017—The Power of Humanizing Care

The Story

Kate&ShawnImagine with me: you are a mother, a wife, and a nurse—and you have cancer. You’re on your way to yet another medical appointment, which is now a significant part of your schedule. You walk into the doctor’s office and, without looking up, the receptionist greets you by simply saying, “leukemia!” At that moment, you realize you aren’t a mother in their eyes, or a wife, or a nurse. You’re not even a human. YOU ARE NOW CANCER. This happened to a friend of mine, Kate Sims, 17 years ago. Though she is now cancer free, she gets a lump in her throat when she recounts this story. It was the moment she realized that it’s possible to feel non-human.

And then there’s my buddy, Jake French. He tells a powerful story about a strange jake french#2accident that left him as a quadriplegic in his early 20’s. In a brief moment, his dreams of working for the forestry department and spending long days exploring the outdoors were shattered. One of the first things he remembers after the accident was waking up in a hospital bed being told by the surgeon, “Jake, you will never walk again. You will never feel anything in your arms or hands, or be able to use them again.” Words that could possibly be true, but not the first words he needed to hear after his accident.

These are just two stories that affected me and my team at the Next Generation Patient Experience Conference in San Diego, CA. I had the honor of being one of the chairs of the conference this year and to be involved in several of the sessions. We met amazing people and heard powerful, transformative stories about the great things being done in hospital systems and medical practices around the world to improve the patient experience. One of the highlights for me, was giving the opening remarks for the conference, The Power of Yes! In Health Care (vs. The Power of No! In Healthcare).

What We Learned And What You Can Learn

  1. The Power of Community – As a team, we were reminded that working in this space (improving patient experience) is challenging and complicated. Though it’s a constant uphill battle, our passion was ignited for continuing to be thought leaders and disrupters. Most importantly, we were reminded that we need to humanize care more now than ever before, as evidenced in the two stories above.
  2. The “Hi Ya” Principle – Jake French taught us that, in health care, there are a few four-letter words that need to removed from everyone’s vocabulary: Can’t, Don’t, and Won’t. When you hear these words you need to use your loudest Screenshot 2017-11-30 06.50.39Hi Ya!” and kick them out, which is happening in the picture of Jake above.
  3. Keep It Simple – Our group led two roundtable sessions where we asked each participant to step into the patient’s role and share the things that mattered most to them. We gathered 100+ ideas that we will organize visually into a constant reminder of the patient’s voice in the disruption process. The truly amazing thing here is that none of the ideas were complicated or difficult. As a matter of fact, the best ideas were pretty darn simple, but these ideas have been held up by an overly-complicated health care system!

What We Will Do And What You Can Do

I have heard this said many times over the past few days: “We are all still humans.”  In the heat of the moment , however, when care is being provided, it’s too easy for the humanity to get lost.

Mark_NGPX

Here at the Nason Group, we have put a stake in the ground to make sure that we work to keep the humanity in patient care. After all, one of our core beliefs is:

Engaging consumers’ stories and voices are mission-critical when exploring new ideas and the ONLY way to do business well.

We will not waver from this! 

We will not compromise this!

We will be champions for humanizing care!

Today, we are launching a new web address (humanizingcare.health) as a reminder to us to always keep the humanity in health care.

Here is our ask of you: Take time to examine your care models, your processes, your values, and your core beliefs to make sure they are human-centered.

And then, live them out! Champion with us to make sure patient experience, member experience, and provider experience are the top priorities in your organization.

Mark_NGPX


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Who Is The System Designed For? Consumerism: The Priority In Healthcare!

What I Was Doing – The Story…

Well, here I go again! I’m going to get on my pedestal and talk about how frustrating it is to hear about patients (consumers) having unacceptable experiences within our healthcare system. As many of you know, my life and career is focused on creating experiences and innovations that focus on the consumer rather it be a provider, patient, nurse, or vendor.

Two weeks ago I shared my encounter with Gary Hoover and his statement, “To make a difference in healthcare we need to study the great service organizations of the past and of today!” Gary was right! I want to share two stories this week.

First, one from my wife, Carla, and our experience on Delta airlines (a service provider). The second, from a colleague of mine and her experience visiting an emergency room in Louisville, Kentucky.

My wife and I had an opportunity to go away this past weekend to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary to Las Vegas. On our return trip we had an incredible experience with a flight attendant. Here is the story through my wife’s eyes:

delta-logoJust got off of Delta flight 1075 from Las Vegas to Minneapolis. We were promptly greeted by our flight attendant, Vincent. Let me just tell you, that he should give a master class on proper customer service. He was so gracious and so accommodating as well as charming. If you are ever fortunate enough to be on one of his flights, consider yourself lucky. He’s a wonderful asset to the Delta family!!!!!

That whole flight was dynamite for both of us! He made us feel like we were #1 the entire flight, while taking care of 14 other passengers. It was absolutely an amazing experience.

Next, my colleague this past Saturday evening needed to visit the emergency room to have her foot looked at. When I read her post on Facebook I was mortified for her, and shocked that she was treated like she was – but the nugget in it all is the end of the story. I will share more on that after you read excerpts from her experience.

Last night I finally reached out to my daughter to take me to a local Norton Hospital ER. The pain in my foot had finally gnawed through my wall and I cracked. I was nauseous and experiencing chills.

norton-healthcareA lack of empathy from the front desk became clear from the moment my daughter struggled to help me into the wheelchair once inside the ER- as a nurse watched from behind the counter and never moved or offered to get help. I was hobbling in on one foot and clearly in need of some assistance. A short time later I was wheeled back to be evaluated. That nurse was disengaged, unsympathetic and her heart elsewhere than in the moment with this pain ravaged, exhausted patient.

Then, the tide turned. Once in the hands of the nursing staff, I experienced true empathy driven care. Rich concern, detailed care and immediately at ease. The x ray techs even wished me a belated birthday. The ER doctor was one of the most kind physicians I have come across in a long time. Factual, but with a warmth and genuine bedside manner. All things a pain baby, embarrassed to be of inconvenience to my daughter who had just worked 12 hours straight – needed at that time.

My daughters both work in patient services in the ER for two different hospitals here. Watching my daughter react to the initial care I received said a lot for how she views her responsibility to the patient. Interestingly, I found myself not wanting her to cause a stir – completely unlike me – and realized that as a patient, I just wanted to be cared for compassionately. How many times do patients just silently accept such blatant lack of compassion? More often than not I would say after my experience!

What I Learned…

That final sentence was my gold nugget. This colleague is a confident, outspoken female, gold-nuggetbut she sat quietly and did not want to disturb the system. She just wanted a compassionate experience. She wanted to be treated with dignity…like a human! That’s all! After I read that post, I knew I had to continue to work passionately toward top-notch experiences for all patients!

What I Will Do With It…

I also learned that the service industry has a lot to offer and inspire us in this space. So let’s study them, learn from them, and implement their methodologies around the consumer experience.

Will you join the cause?