Sometimes we have to ask the right questions and Facebook reminded me


I’m not a Facebook fan, I don’t even have an account.  I know that plenty of you both use, and like, Facebook.  Though I don’t use Facebook, the invention of Facebook gave me an idea.

I spend a lot of time trying to dissect and understand patient satisfaction and patient perception of care data.  To be completely honest with you sometimes it doesn’t make any sense.  There are services we provide at GVMH and caregivers who provide those services who are great at what they do.  They are caring, compassionate, effective, intuitive and innovative.  I could make a list of 5 people and 5 services that I would bet any amount of money I have that they would consistently achieve high patient satisfaction scores.

If I actually made that bet, I’d be broke.  I’d be broke not because I’m wrong about the people or services but because a patient’s experience is defined by more than their interaction with their primary caregiver or service they’re seeking.  I need to start looking at the patient experience as a whole, not only the care provided.  I need to start asking myself different questions.

It’s kinda like that Facebook movie, Social Network.  You have two college kids, one wants to meet girls the other wants to drink and watch TV but he’s really good with a computer.  The first one says “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a computer program with profiles and we could use it to meet people we have things in common with”.  The lazy guy says “That’s easy”, the first guy says “What do you mean?  What about all …..”  All the first kid sees are limitations.  The second guy says “shut up for a second, I got this”.  He goes over to the computer, starts typing and in 20 minutes he’s created Facebook and he’s developed a financing plan.

The point is, he could have answered the question a long time ago if anybody had asked.  The questions you ask matter and to get the answer you really need you’ve got to ask the right person the right question.

For me to best understand the patient experience I’ve got to get past the patient’s perception of the care that was provided because that feedback is overwhelmingly positive.  I need to know about parking, wait times, ease of scheduling, time it took to schedule an appointment, ease of finding way around the facility, quietness of the environment and a whole host of other things.  I need to ask the right questions.

Something good may have actually come from Facebook after all.

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Executive Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. At GVMH we care for our families, friends and neighbors. We're committed to providing the safest, friendliest and most compassionate care to all we serve.
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