Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Can we learn anything from Veterinarians about caring and compassionate care?

Interesting question isn't it?

And from my point of view, the answer is yes.

Sometimes, examples of how things should be in healthcare, come from areas and experiences that one would have never thought of, borne out of intense personal experience. And believe me it was shock.

Briefly, my Golden Retriever Molly, who was 8 years old, became acutely ill and quickly passed away after 5 days at home. She was our family's loving companion, playful friend, and protector for the past 8 years.

Enough said, because this is about a very intense journey filled with compassion, caring, respect and dignity for Molly and me. And in my 25 years in healthcare, on several sides of the equation- as a professional, patient and caregiver, I have never seen anything like it.

I am not talking about the medical care, for Molly in a brief period received better care than most people in the world today. I am talking about the respect and dignity, the genuine caring and compassion exhibited during the diagnosis and treatment process. We, on the human side of healthcare, could learn a great deal from our healthcare brethren in the animal world.

And I am an expert on patient satisfaction.

I have always said, written and published that patient satisfaction is a process. One that could be understood, controlled and manipulated to produce high levels of satisfaction. It is well known that highly satisfied patients are more compliant with treatment regimens, tend to litigate less, and even if the medical outcome is not good, believe that they have had a high-quality medical experience.

But it's just not the process of satisfaction which is important and identifies areas of concern . This is also about all the little things that you and I do on a daily basis, that make that difference and you really can't measure that.

The answering of the phone and responding to an immediate need and not telling a patient that can't get in until next week. It's the person at the receptionist desk that stops what they are doing, doesn't look bored and extends the helping hand to get somewhere they need to go. It's the follow-up phone call to the patient at home to see how they are doing. It's the doctor calling the specialist first, getting things set-up and then informing the patient. It is about open and honest communication and patient involvement in the diagnosis, treatment and recovery process. Its caring and compassionate action demonstrated verbally and non-verbally to the patient, caregiver and family. It's the hospital staff being human again and not like acting like the patient is an inconvenience. It's the health insurance employee not sounding like they are being bothered, or blaming the computer.

For we are here to serve others, not for others to serve us.

I have never had such a positive experience in any healthcare organization.

As we move to a patient -directed healthcare model, these types of critical core behaviors and actions will determine the success or failure of a healthcare organization. Time to start the journey and get back to what we should be about in healthcare- caring, compassionate, respectful and treating everyone with dignity .

June 6, 2011

Molly Krivich, age 8, lover of cheese, eggs, Milkbones, popcorn, chasing balls, going for walks and being hyper (especially when I got home from work), went to dog heaven early this morning. Born March 3, 2003, survivors include Mike, Julie, Tyler, Alex and Grandma, and several brothers and sisters. Known for barely passing puppy training twice, and not knowing when to quiet down when visitors arrived, she still wrapped us around her paw and made us a better family. She really was the sweetest dog, and she will be missed. Rest in peace, Molly girl. You are loved By: Julie Corazza Krivich

My thanks and gratitude to: Care Animal Emergency Services, Animal Eye Consultants and Plainfield Animal Care Center.  You are the best.

For more information, or to discuss your strategic healthcare marketing, customer experience management, marketing/sales integration or start-up needs, you can learn more at my web site the michael J group; email- ; or phone by calling me at 815-293-1471.

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