Medical Leadership Huddle Discussion

Better patient interactions and career fulfillment

Patient Interaction

Last week’s Medical Leadership Huddle featured an extensive conversation around improving physician and APP experience while correspondingly elevating patient experience—through behaviors and processes that promote teamwork. You can watch our physician leaders’ discussion in this video and follow the steps to improvement.

Dr. Naresh Agarwal's experience: The small adjustments that make a difference for providers and patients

Naresh Agarwal, MD, ACMO for primary care, spoke about the value in reviewing patient scores and feedback to understand their perceptions of you as a healthcare provider. When Naresh reviewed what his patients were saying about him, he felt demoralized. The low scores and feedback were disconnected from his perceptions of doing best by his patients. Instead of ignoring the feedback or shrugging it off as the criticism of a vocal few, he approached it with an open mind and discovered his patients thought he cared more about checking boxes and getting through tasks rather than listening and attending to patients’ wellbeing and feelings. He realized he had a habit of entering a patient’s room and immediately opening his computer to chart and take notes.

Changing his approach
Naresh then made a change to say hello to the patient, sit down, and lean in to really listen to what they’re saying. “I would not interrupt, and let them finish what they had to say, take their full history and perform a physical exam. It was only then that I would log in to my EMR to put in the orders and print out the after-visit summary for the patient. It was just this simple thing. I did not add any extra time to my daily work or change how I cared for my patients. It was just an adjustment to my workflow. And that made all the difference.”
Naresh then started seeing a positive shift in patient comments and looked forward to reading them. His patients followed their treatment plans more closely and he felt more motivated to practice medicine every day. He was happier, and his patients were happier. What it took was little investment in reviewing scores and feedback, making a change, and that return on investment made the world of difference. It brought back joy in medicine.

According to Dr. Agarwal, you have three choices when you’re not scoring well on patient experience:

  1. Accept it as it is and stay demotivated and unhappy – which isn’t good for your well-being
  2. Doubt the data – which leaves patients feeling devalued and seek care elsewhere
  3. Ask what you can do differently by looking at your patient comments. Look for trends and make small adjustments in workflow or behavior that will help patients feel the care and respect you have for them. After making changes in practice you’ll see changes in comments and start to look forward to reading them.

Take the next step in patient experience and career fulfillment
Dr. Mike Woodruff: As physicians and APPs, “We want to feel safe, respected, and cared for too. We don’t want to be in a position of being harmed. We want to feel that our clinic and workplace respects us and cares for us as individuals. We've developed a set of tools and that are spreading throughout the organization to help guide and bring empathy, respect, and trust to every interaction.”

What you can do right now to create a culture of safety, respect, and caring

  • Working on patient experience begins with working on your experience.
  • Experience improvement requires the participation of the whole team. Take the Compassionate Connections computer-based training and then discuss learnings and ideas together.
  • Leaders and teams should focus daily on eliminating friction in processes by reviewing patient feedback, then finding solutions as a team. Teams that do this improve everyone’s experience, which is reflected in Likelihood to Recommend performance.
  • Huddles give your team the chance to coordinate patient care, provide feedback, and build relationships throughout the team. This =creates unity in the clinic, and sets and reinforces standards for how we work together throughout every day. It builds trust within the team!

Tools:

  • Compassionate Connections is a toolkit for empathy and best practices to improve experience.
  • Compassionate Connections computer-based training in MyLearning.
  • Here is a link to the Level Up Your Practice session recording.
  • Patient Experience medical leadership discussion for all physicians and APPs

Reestablish to joy in medicine
Dr. Shane Lewis: “Failures and moments of delight are the things that really stand out in our experiences as patients and as providers. I think if we can team together around these concepts and behaviors, we can really connect with each other and feel more satisfied in the work that we do. And I believe it's one opportunity for us to feel joy.”