Patient experience: Your flight is now boarding

Doug Koekkoek, M.D.
Chief executive, Clinical Services
Chief medical officer

Oct. 16, 2013

Deep into a Steve Duin column and halfway through an apple fritter that my LDL will later regret, I am leisurely awaiting a morning flight departure at Gate D3. Eventually I look up. Why is no one lining up to board? I check the monitor and find that the gate has changed – to the other end of the airport. By the time I get there, my plane is backing away from the terminal.

Don't you hate being left behind?

So it goes with our patient experience work. This flight is preparing for takeoff and I worry medical staff won't be on board in time.

An incredible amount of work has gone into the Providence Experience over the past two years, and our HCAHPS scores below show that we’re gaining ground. Our staffs are using caring behaviors, which represent a standard for interacting with patients built loosely around AIDET (acknowledge, introduce, duration, explain, thank).

Senior leader and manager rounding on both patients and staff ensure we interact with compassion and address the needs of our patients in an exemplary fashion. And now purposeful hourly rounding based on CARES – comfort (pain control), anticipate needs (bedside table, call light, etc.), reposition, elimination and sensitivity and safety – is being put in place in every Providence hospital in Oregon.

You'll notice the CARES sunburst on the doors of every patient, a visible way for our nursing colleagues to reliably track hourly rounds and hold each other accountable for the care they have promised to deliver.

As this momentum builds, I wonder where are my physician colleagues? Can we share this journey? Physicians too can use the AIDET principles. Physicians can round in a structured fashion to reliably address our patients’ concerns. We can thank our nursing colleagues and encourage the hourly rounds. We can ask our patients about their experience. We can ask how we can make their hospitalization better.

Public attention to the patient experience is only going to grow. As a measure of quality, cost transparency tools soon will highlight patient experience according to physician and facility. Now is the time for us to champion these initiatives and make patient experience an even higher priority.

Your plane is now boarding – don't be left behind.