“Process ‘beats’ outcome,” hospital food tumblog

Hospitals should be scared of anecdotal stories.  The one time that surgery resulted in a mistake.  The one hospital stay with rude staff/patient interaction.  The one time that a communication breakdown between providers resulted in a longer stay.  Scared because the best (worst!) stories are powerful and they spread (and if it’s happened once, it’s likely happened again).  The “little” stuff matters, too.

Tom Peters, commenting on a Press Ganey survey, accurately writes:

(1) Process “beats” outcome in evaluating an “experience”—even one as apparently “outcome sensitive” as a hospital stay. The positive quality of staff interactions were more memorable than whether or not the health problem was fixed.
(2) Happy staff, happy customers. Want to “put the customer first”? Put the staff “more first”!
(3) Quality is free—and then some. We learned (well, most of us learned) when the “quality movement” dominated our consciousness that not only was quality free—but doing the quality thing right actually reduced costs, often dramatically.

With the attention being paid to patient satisfaction in hospitals today, it is interesting that organizations haven’t launched an all out assault on “process” elements (begging for 5s in Press Ganey’s patient satisfaction survey is far from such an effort).

Taking all of this into account, one might think that if a hospital appears on this Hospital Food tumblog (via Boing Boing), appropriate action would be taken.  Appropriate action, in this case, would be to completely reinvent the hospital food experience.

It’s A-L-L process “stuff” in the patient’s eyes.

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