A New Perspective on the Patient Experience

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Sheryl Jackson HeadshotBy Sheryl Jackson

Are you ready for a slightly new angle on the patient experience conversation? I want to talk about the patient experience in light of ‘Grandma-isms.’ When I was young and going to Grandma’s house, l learned to expect an exceptional level of care that no one else in the world could come close to providing. Maybe for you it is a Great Aunt, Grandpa, or another person who touched your life in a way that leaves a lasting impression or a memorable experience.

Think about that person who, every time, consistently and without fail, you know your experience with them will be a delightful and memorable visit and you can’t wait until you can go back and be with them again. They just make us feel so good and seem to have all the time in the world for us. For me, Grandma’s house was the place to be! She made it her job to know me: my likes and dislikes, my preferences, my favorite color, flower, cookies, and birthday cake flavor. She had a special towel in the bathroom for each of us and a stool just for me so I could be a real contributor at her side in the kitchen. She always made it known that she was anticipating and looking forward to my arrival.

The Beryl Institute defines the patient experience as “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influences patient perception across the continuum of care.” We know that every interaction counts, that patient and family engagement is fundamental, and it is essential that organizations achieve an integrated team approach to delivering a positive patient experience. Like Grandma, it’s about focusing relentlessly – we want to make a difference every day in the lives of patients and their families. It’s a feeling, an experience, a warm memory that creates loyalty.

I love what UCLA Health has adopted with their C-ICARE program:

  • Connect with Compassion by addressing the patients as Mr./Ms. or by the name that they prefer.
  • Introduce yourself with Integrity by stating your name and your role.
  • Communicate with Teamwork what you are going to do, how long it is going to take, and how it will impact the patient.
  • Ask with Discovery by anticipating the patient needs, questions, or concerns.
  • Respond with Respect to patient questions or requests with immediacy.
  • Exit with Excellence by ensuring all of the patient’s needs are met.

Data and technology go hand-in-hand with the patient experience. We need to have tools that will allow us to capture patient details not just upon intake, but anywhere along the continuum that augments that patient story. In a high-tech, high-touch world, auto-texting features that allow for periodic updates throughout a patient’s procedure are important. Digital services that provide virtual follow-ups and consultations are also important. It’s even possible to hardware your patient experience improvements into your EHR.

Consumerism is here to stay, and it has wrangled healthcare into the mix. Healthcare outcomes, revenue, and overall organizational and system success depend on the patient experience. We can’t depend on just the Chief Experience Officer and the medical staff to function as the conscience of the organization; we must all contribute.

p.s. Now is the time to set your professional goals for 2017: set your sights on acquiring your CRA. The CRA credential validates your skills and experience as a medical imaging leader. To learn about the next steps to getting your CRA, reach out to Kathryn Keeler at AHRA by phone (978- 443-7591) or by email (kkeeler@CRAinfo.org). You will be glad you did.

Sheryl Jackson is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Director of Governance for Empowering Women as Leaders Int’l, and your RACC Public Commissioner. She welcomes your thoughts and questions and may be reached directly at sherylmahoneyjackson@gmail.com or 817- 542-8787.


  1. “Grandma-isms” what a perfect way to explain the level of care that our patients wants to experience (as do we)

  2. Truly hit a home run on this….. My staff will be reading this with me at the next department meeting.

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