Managing the Patient Experience Plan for all facets of the encounter, including family members’ experiences BY ROBERT KURTZ


hile your ASC will likely never be mistaken for Disney World,

strive to provide the same level of attention and service that helps attract millions of people to the resort every year, advises Susan Burkett, RN, senior director of clinical services with Amsurg in Nashville, Tennessee. “When patients come through your ASC’s door, they should be made to feel like the most important person in the facility, with every need met and every concern addressed.”

That approach to managing the

patient experience has become more vital in recent years, says Donna Quinn, RN, director of the Orthopae- dic Surgery Center in Concord, New Hampshire. “Patients now realize they have a choice for their healthcare. In the past, they did not need to deal with high co-pays and out-of-pocket deductibles. Now patients play a much bigger role in paying for their care. When you dine at a fancy restaurant, you expect exceptional service and outstanding food. Likewise, when you pay for a larger part of your healthcare, you expect to not only receive great care, but also be treated with respect and understanding.” Burkett adds, “There is a privi-

lege of being a patient today: The ability to seek out the experience you desire. This is no different from choos- ing where you shop, what airline you fly on or who you work with to buy a home.”

Managing the patient experience means planning for all facets of the surgical encounter, including any family members’ experiences, says Carmella McGranaghan, RN, qual- ity coordinator at the Orthopaedic Surgery Center. “You cannot manage

Managing the patient experience requires flexibility and a multitude of resources so that each patient is given individualized care that consistently results in a positive surgical experience.”

— Carmella McGranaghan, RN Orthopaedic Surgery Center

what you do not know, so it is vital to understand every aspect of the patient experience, paying special attention to areas that may be more difficult for patients.” The patient experience starts the moment a surgeon discusses surgery as an option for a patient, says Quinn. It includes the scheduling of the pro- cedure and capturing of medical his- tory, culminating on the day of sur- gery. “This is when the patient enters the facility and should be treated like royalty,” she says. “There should be a


warm and welcoming smile to greet the patient; a nurse who helps calm the anxious patient or family member beforehand; the surgeon who takes the time to talk to the waiting family mem- ber after surgery; and the PACU nurse who ensures the patient is not rushed out of the facility. “It is not just one thing that makes a great patient experience but all the little things that add up to the patient feeling in control and cared for throughout their visit,” Quinn adds. Achieving and maintaining such

a high level of customer service is not likely to occur without effective oversight, Burkett says. “Managers should leverage a variety of tools to ensure experience management. These can include checklists for key processes and patient surveys that can identify shortcomings.” Those surveys play an important

role at the Orthopaedic Surgery Center, Quinn says. “Any time a patient shares a concern or says they would like to speak with someone at our facility, we follow up. We always take a patient’s suggestions to heart. If someone iden- tifies something they believe could improve the experience, we discuss this in staff meetings to see if we can implement it.”

McGranaghan says care coordina- tion is critical. “We work very closely with our physicians and their office staff to identify those patients with additional needs. We are dedicated to accounting for these needs and putting a plan in place, when appropriate. Man- aging the patient experience requires flexibility and a multitude of resources so that each patient is given individual- ized care that consistently results in a positive surgical experience.”

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