Healing Healthcare: Overcoming Challenges to Improve Patient Experience

Healing Healthcare: Overcoming Challenges to Improve Patient Experience

 Imagine this: You’ve found a highly recommended doctor renowned for their expertise and compassionate care. However, upon your first visit, you are met with unfriendly office staff, long wait times, and a disorganized appointment system. Despite the doctor’s excellent reputation, the overall experience leaves you frustrated and dissatisfied.

This scenario highlights a critical truth: In the healthcare industry, customer experience is just as important as medical expertise. If the customer experience aspects are lacking, patients are likely to leave and share their negative experiences with others.

Equating Customer Experience to Patient Experience

To truly understand the importance of customer experience in healthcare, consider these parallels:

  • In corporate settings, customers expect seamless service, easy access to information, and personalized interactions. In healthcare, patients expect the same level of service—efficient processes, clear communication, and compassionate care.
  • In retail, a smooth checkout process is crucial for customer satisfaction. Similarly, in healthcare, an efficient appointment scheduling system is vital for patient satisfaction.
  • In hospitality, staff friendliness and responsiveness are key to a positive customer experience. In healthcare, the demeanor and attentiveness of medical staff significantly impact the patient experience.

By recognizing these parallels, we can see that CX principles are equally applicable to healthcare. The patient journey, much like the customer journey, is shaped by every touchpoint, from the initial contact with the office staff to the interactions with medical professionals.

I recently had Sharon Weinstein, a global thought leader and author of “Healing Healthcare: Evidence-Based Strategies to Mend Our Broken System” on my Doing CX Right podcast (episode 135) to discuss critical insights and actionable strategies for improving customer experience and addressing the systemic challenges in the medical industry. It was a fascinating discussion, and I encourage you to listen to our conversation.

Based on our discussion and my experiences, I’m sharing this article to educate you on the critical role you play in patient experience.

Shifting the Mindset: Everyone Owns Customer Experience (CX)

Transformation starts with recognizing that everyone in healthcare has a CX job. It’s not just the responsibility of doctors and nurses; it includes administrative staff, technicians, and every team member involved in patient care. Every role plays a crucial part in shaping the patient experience. When the administrative staff prioritize patient-centric interactions while scheduling appointments and medical professionals provide compassionate care, the entire patient journey improves. It’s a misconception that only frontline staff impact patient experience. In reality, every interaction, from the first phone call to the final follow-up, contributes to patient satisfaction and loyalty.

Tackling Healthcare and Patient Experience Challenges

Healthcare faces significant problems impacting patient experience. Fragmented systems force patients to repeatedly provide their medical history, leading to disjointed care. Inefficient scheduling causes frustration and delays. Additionally, staff often feel restricted in their decision-making abilities, negatively affecting care quality and satisfaction. 

the impact of bad healthcare on patient experience

The Solution: Comprehensive Strategies for Improvement

To address these issues, there’s an urgent need to adopt the following strategies:

  1. Integrate Patient Portals: Improve system interoperability for cohesive patient data management.
  2. Simplify Scheduling: Utilize advanced technology to streamline appointment processes, reducing wait times.
  3. Empower Staff: Create a supportive culture that allows healthcare workers to make informed decisions.
  4. Focus on Personal Attention: Ensure every patient interaction is characterized by genuine empathy.
  5. Improve Communication: Clarify roles so all team members understand their impact on patient experience.

Expected Outcomes: Enhanced Patient Experience and a Healing Healthcare System

Implementing these strategies will result in:

  • Seamless Care: Better coordination and continuity of patient information.
  • Reduced Frustration: More efficient appointment scheduling and shorter wait times.
  • Personalized Attention: Empowered staff providing tailored, responsive and compassionate care.
  • Greater Trust and Loyalty: A holistic approach that fosters a positive environment for both patients and staff.

Final Reflections

The status quo in healthcare will persist unless we actively challenge it. Every individual, from hospital nurses and emergency room staff to dentists and eye doctors, must take ownership of the patient experience. Your actions and interactions directly impact patient  loyalty and care quality.

To drive meaningful change, prioritize employee well-being, foster collaboration across departments, empower healthcare staff, utilize technology effectively, and focus on providing personal attention. By enhancing the customer experience and building supportive environments for both employees and patients, we can create a healthcare system that truly serves and heals.

I encourage you to commit to these changes and inspire those around you to do the same. Together, we can transform healthcare into a system where compassion and excellence are the norm. The power to make a difference lies within each of us—start by owning the patient experience.

For more in-depth discussions and insights, listen to Sharon and my conversation now.


Curing the Healthcare Crisis: A Prescription for Better Patient Experiences

Curing the Healthcare Crisis: A Prescription for Better Patient Experiences

Doing CX Right podcast show on Spotify with host Stacy Sherman
Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right Podcast - Hosted by Stacy Sherman
Doing CX Right podcast show on iHeart Radio with host Stacy Sherman

Are patient satisfaction scores capturing healthcare quality?

Are patients truly at the center of healthcare, or are they cogs in an overburdened, impersonal system?

How can we better integrate technology to enhance patient experiences? 

These critical questions are at the heart of creating a workplace where every experience counts, especially in the healthcare industry. Stacy Sherman explores these dimensions with Sharon Weinstein, who shares patient experience transformative insights based on her new book “Healing Healthcare: Evidence-Based Strategies to Mend Our Broken System.” Providing evidence-based tactics for overhauling healthcare practices, Sharon draws from her beginnings as a nurse and decades of first-hand experience observing the profound impact of culture and leadership on both employee satisfaction and patient outcomes.

Topics Discussed About Patient Experiences:

  • The importance of a holistic workplace where you feel whole and excited to be every day.
  • How culture impacts workplace satisfaction and the overall quality of experience in healthcare settings.
  • The limitations of patient satisfaction scores and the need for comprehensive quality assessments.
  • Actions leaders can take to align organizational purpose and value statements for a cohesive culture.
  • Sharon’s personal anecdotes illustrate the impact of leadership and systemic healthcare issues on patient experiences.

8 Business Strategies for Transforming Healthcare Patient Experiences

1. Prioritize Well-Being: Emphasize the importance of employee well-being in fostering a positive culture.

2. Align Purpose: Ensure that everyone in the organization believes in and disseminates the same value statement.

3. Encourage Collaboration: Promote inter-departmental collaboration to enhance the work environment and patient experience.

4. Patient-Centric Care: Make every patient interaction count, focusing on personal attention and needs.

5. Empower Employees: Enable healthcare staff to make decisions that improve patient experiences, reflecting best practices from other industries.

6. Address System Flaws: Recognize and rectify the systematic issues that prevent optimal care and satisfaction.

7. Leverage Technology: Overcome the challenges of fragmented patient portals to ensure smooth information flow and better service.

8. Empathetic Leadership: Model empathy and effective communication within leadership practices.

Whether you’re a healthcare professional, a leader aiming to improve workplace culture, or someone interested in the intersection of employee and patient experiences, this episode offers invaluable perspectives and actionable insights to drive meaningful change in your organization.

Press Play  To WATCH On Youtube

About Sharon Weinstein:  

Sharon, a global thought leader in healthcare, has made a significant impact over her four decades of senior executive experience. Leading a top consulting organization and serving as the Innovation Community Group manager for the ANA, she has been at the forefront of healthcare innovation. Her engaging talks not only empower audiences but also foster collaboration and promote excellence in healthcare. Sharon’s literary contributions, including 22 books and over 167 peer-reviewed manuscripts, have been instrumental in shaping the discourse around healthcare. She is a Top Voice for LinkedIn in Public Speaking and Stress and hosts a LinkedIn LIVE program. Her co-authored book, Think Differently, was published in August 2022, and she has another book, Healing Healthcare: Evidence-Based Strategies to Mend Our Broken System, scheduled for publication by Amplify Publishing Group in 2024.

Connect with Sharon on LinkedIn.

Access her free Stress Management Playbook.

About Stacy Sherman: Founder of Doing CX Right®‬

Customer experience and marketing global keynote speaker, journalist, co-author of two books, advisor, and host of the award-winning DoingCXRight podcast. Known for her Heart & Science™ framework that helps you gain profitable clients and brand loyalty–fueled by an empowered workforce. Stacy’s been walking the talk for 25 years as a strategist and practitioner at companies of all sizes and industries, i.e., Liveops, Verizon, Schindler Elevator Corp, Wilton Brands, and AT&T. She’s also a board advisor at multiple universities, featured in Forbes and other top-rated publications.

Her Why: To cultivate loyal relationships and meaningful experiences that enrich people’s lives. Contact Stacy for DOING Customer Experience (CX) and Service Right, not just TALKING about it. Continue reading bio >here.

Learn More About Increasing Customer Loyalty Through Frontline Staff.

Watch Stacy Sherman’s Linkedin Learning Course‬.

Customer service expert Stacy Sherman shows you how to foster a strong frontline worker experience so your agents and other staff can deliver value and engender customer loyalty.

Learn how to identify challenges that impact frontline worker effectiveness.

Explore hiring strategies for contact center and other frontline roles, as well as how to build positive relationships with your frontline workers from day one.

Find out how to elevate frontline worker performance through intentional training and development and prepare frontline workers for future leadership.

This course equips you with a blueprint to connect frontline worker experience to customer experience, so that you’re focused on doing right by your teams and your customers.

Topics Discussed: Doing CX Right podcast

customer experience, Watermark Consulting, author, speaker, CX advisory firm, radio DJ, artificial intelligence, choreographed experience, impressing customers, lasting impression, emotional impact, book and research, customer experience ROI, operating expenses, Customer Experience ROI Study, financial lift, wallet share, customer acquisition, Net Promoter Score, customer loyalty, customer compliments, brand obsession, emotional resonance, voice of the customer, customer surveys, customer behavior, leadership development