Much has been written about improving the patient experience within hospitals. Under healthcare reform, penalties are incurred if patients with certain conditions are re-admitted within 30 days of discharge.

For these and other reasons many hospitals have gone to some extreme measures to make their facilities more patient friendly. It’s taken awhile for hospitals to actually realize that they should care about the service that they provide to their patients and the way in which they treat their visitors and family members of those patients.

As a former clinician and hospital CEO I have spent considerable time in hospitals. In my current role, I make sales calls with clients to hospitals and I occasionally visit a friend or relative.

In Part 1 of this blog I would like to share some personal experiences with you that I have encountered over the last few months. As a visitor, here are some specific examples from Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn (SHO) in Scottsdale Arizona, Scottsdale Healthcare Thomson Peak (SHTP) in Scottsdale Arizona and Tucson Medical Center in Tucson Arizona (TMC). In SHO I was visiting a family member, in SHTP I was the patient and in TMC I was visiting a close friend that was terminal. In part (next week) I will share some personal experiences of being a patient in a hospital.

It Takes More than Lip Service

As a family member or friend visiting a hospital, here is how you can tell if the hospital is customer friendly. First, the hospital must realize that their customer is the patient first and then their family members and visitors followed by their staff. Ultimately, the patient completes the patient satisfaction survey but oftentimes they do so in conjunction or with a family member; or with the comments and experiences of their family member resonating in their mind.

Family Member & Visitor Perspective

 Warm and attentive personnel provide a soothing feeling for family members and friends. At SHO, the volunteer that was working in the surgical wait area introduced herself, discussed the amenities available, made sure that I knew how long the surgery for my family member would take, and asked me to let her know if I needed to leave the area. She also let me know when the surgery was over and that my family member was in the post anesthesia recovery room. A few minutes later she came and got me and told me that the surgeon would be out to see me shortly and she directed me to a small private room. AT TMC, the ICU wait area was spacious, quiet and comfortable. The spaciousness offered families the ability to congregate together and have quiet, personal conversations. At SHTP, the waiting area was clean, quiet and comfortable.

In our next blog (in several weeks due to the holidays) we will describe two patients’ experiences and discuss some of the key areas that are on hospital patient satisfaction surveys. By reading both blogs you will easily see that patient satisfaction is both a science and an art. Savvy sellers are doing their best to help hospitals and health care workers improve their patient satisfaction scores.