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Patient Experience (Px)

Yes, you read it right, Patient Experience (Px). I know this may seem a new term to you. So, let’s define the term before we delve further through the article.

I liked how The Beryl Institute defined Px:

The sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization's culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.

Px community and activities

While the term seems kind of new, there is a great activity going on for Px, especially through The Beryl Insitute. To name a few:

  • Px press
    The Px press is a library of publications where the user can find educational resources that improve the patient experience.
  • Px blog
    The Px blog is a blog run by The Beryl Institute where you can find updated thoughts on Px.
  • Px conference
    The Px conference is considered the largest Px event that brings together the collective voices of healthcare professionals across the globe to engage and expand the dialogue on improving patient experience.
  • Px institute
    The Patient Experience Institute (PXI) is an organization committed to the improvement of patient experience through evidence-based research and professional development efforts including certification and continuing education. It is doing that in conjunction with its sister organizations, The Beryl Institute and Patient Experience Journal.

Px from the hospital perspective

In 2011, The Beryl Institute and Catalyst Healthcare Research, conducted the study: The State of Patient Experience in American Hospitals, where the purpose was to understand what hospitals are doing in order to improve the Patient Experience. 790 respondents were included in the study representing 660 hospitals or hospital groups/systems.

The study found that the top 3 priorities to improve the Patient Experience, based on the respondants, were (descending order):

  1. Reduce noise
  2. Patient rounding
  3. Discharge process and instructions

Px from the patient perspective

According to HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), the three areas that received the lowest ratings (scores range from 0 to 100) were as follows:

  1. Area around room quiet (~58)
  2. Staff explains medicines before dispensing (~60)
  3. Staff responsiveness (~63)

Notice for instance that the highest priority for Px from the hospital’s perspective is reducing noise, while from the patient’s perspective it is the lowest priority. Thus, contradictions in priorities seem to happen if we investigate more on that.

In order for hospitals to know whether they are improving the patient experience and are on the right track, they need to rely on surveys, provided that two kinds of surveys, HCAHPS surveys and other kinds of Patient Experience (PX) surveys, are those that are widely used.

Px tips

Before concluding this article, I liked to share the three Px tips I came across at timewiseit.

Ensure Consistency And Communication Amongst Health Care Practitioners
Going_going_gone_timewiseit-1024x779

Nowadays, there are many patients that suffer from more than one chronic health challenge, resulting in seeing more than one healthcare practitioner for advice.

Thus, for improving the patient experience:

Increase the alignment of how tests are taken, have a robust communication channel between practitioners, and consistently share that advice to the patient. There should be consistency and communication amongst health care practitioners who are caring for the same patient.

There needs to be an improved method of sharing results and communication between health care practitioners without the need for an assigned “facilitator role” of the patient and/or caregiver to achieve this.

Addressing Questions in Health Care Starts With Reception

Questions-start-at-the-receptionist_timewiseitlowres-1024x807

Improving the patient experience regarding this tip could be achieved as follows:

Ensure all staff look confident and are trained to address questions in health care.This means from the entrance door to when they leave the premises.

There should be information exchange during registration and along the journey of the patient during any health care visit. This exchange of information should go both ways. The first encounter should be a welcome and introduction. Followed by a mutual exchange of information.

Addressing questions in health care should be a core competency for all health care staff. It should be considered an equal priority to the task at hand. This includes front desk and patient registration.

Patient Friendly Communication Channels
patient-friendly-communication-channels-1024x802Here, the following should be taken care of for a better patient experience:

Make it easy for patients and caregivers to get access to key information and converse with their health care practitioners. Ensure that there are patient friendly communication channels.

Communication between patient and the doctor’s practice is critical. It is the driver that builds the relationship and confidence in care. It is also the driver that reflects the basic human rights value for all parties involved. The value is “Respect”.

Px and developers

Having known what Px is about, the question that may arise is: what should that do with developers?

As Camilla Andersson mentions, Px combines:

(i) Human Factors Engineering (HF), which is the study of how people use technology, incorporating the user considerations into medical device development. HF is integrated in the development process iteratively, focusing on the safe interactions between the user and the medical device under development.

(ii) User Experience (UX), which incorporates user considerations into the commercial product development, such that all aspects of user interactions are considered (with company, and its services and products). As described by the centered design consultancy, Nielsen Norman Group, UX aims at creating a “seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design and user interface design”.

What Px aims at combining is the safety and rigour embedded in HF, and the usability and acceptance of such safe systems through UX.

The role of the developer when working with medical device software has to take into consideration both safety and ease of use. If the system is safe but complex to use, it will most likely not benefit the patient. If the system is easy to use but not safe, this will surely harm the patient.

Thus, when working in such environment, you have to go beyond ease of use and nice looking interfaces. This is where Px comes to the play.

In conclusion

As we saw in When UX Hurts And Even Kills, issues related to UX in the healthcare domain can be very critical and life threatening. In this article, I tried to emphasize the point that Patient Experience (Px) should be taken care of more, moving beyond just normal User Experience (UX), since it is the patient’s health we are touching in this case, and there should be more than normal UX to that, which is Px.

Do you think UX people working in the healthcare domain should be more aware of Px, and work towards improving it?

Cartoon credit: Shirley Williams and Angel Mosquito

Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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