Our nation’s teaching hospitals are leading the world in research, education, and clinical care. But we lag in providing a great experience to patients. This was excused as a necessary evil of state-of-the-art medicine. That excuse is no longer valid. For patients, quality care is about more than good clinical outcomes. It is also about comforting them, treating them with dignity, and providing them a healing environment. It is about quietly tying their gown.
In the dawn of health reform, if our nation’s most preeminent hospitals are to maintain their perch of leadership and credibility, they will be wise to start focusing as much on the whole person as they do on the diseased body part.
IS providing *state of the art care* enough? Community hospitals certainly appear to excel at adding the human touch that many patients require. Academic institutions should pay attention and perhaps focus on more patient centric endeavors….
Perception is the key.
Many patients in an academic institution may have received a top of the line total knee prosthesis, utilizing computer navigation and a million$ + robot as a surgical assistant to assure proper placement of their new knee…. but if their experience from the moment they enter the hospital to the moment they leave is not pleasing—it is unlikely they will leave the institution with a good impression. This will ultimately limit the *halo effect* of a satisfied customer, and in time, despite good surgical results, diminish inpatient volume.