Unparalleled Patient Experience

Patient experience- it’s at the heart of everything we do.

So what if I told you we have a fantastic new technology to provide the primary care interface? It can communicate detailed patient information to the care staff accurately and efficiently, and studies show that families and patients embrace the interface and find it user-friendly. It does a phenomenal job of patient education, and responds in real time to patient needs. It greatly reduces the burden of paperwork and is capable of determining whether or not a doctor should be contacted in case of emergency. It has been proven to show improved patient outcomes. Are you on board yet?

The good news is that this technology is already operational in our clinics and hospitals. All we have to do is recognize it. Or recognize them. Our patients certainly do. You know I’m talking about nurses. Or I hope you do. We succeed or fail, sink or swim, and literally live or die by the quality of the nursing care provided to our patients.

As a physician, I am with my patient at most an hour a day. Our nurses spend dozens or even hundreds of hours with this patient. They handle their most intimate physical needs. They provide comfort and answer questions for their struggling families. They meet them first and they see them go. They are the primary caregivers.

Going forward, we are working in an inter-professional and highly competitive world. We need to work closely as a team and leverage all of our resources to improve patient experience and outcomes. This is not an option. This is what we have to do to succeed. It is one thing to expect an operational hierarchy, it is quite another to expect subservience. I invite all of you to join me in fully integrating all the members of our care team equally and with respect.

Many of you are already doing this with outstanding results. Our patients notice. A recent email from one patient praised the culture of how the University and Fairview practice the “healing art” and described everyone from the front desk staff to the nurse to the physicians as “kind, appropriately sympathetic and above all efficient.” Another email spoke of how a patient and family felt cared for and “in the best hands possible.”

We see efforts throughout the Medical School. Recently one of our former students, Dr. Caleb Murphy, won the Grand Prize in the American College of Physicians’ Innovation Challenge for work begun as a student here to develop a way to identify and reduce daily lab orders that are not medically necessary, an outgrowth of the Minnesota Lab Appropriateness Criteria. And as I mentioned last week, the care we are able to provide our patients is a direct outgrowth of our powerhouse research programs.

Lastly, it isn’t just about how we treat our patients. It is very much about how we treat each other. Did you know that one of our pediatric cardiac cath lab nurses (Rosemary Manion) donated a kidney to a co-worker this year? And that if she hadn’t been able to do a paired kidney exchange, another nurse in the area was ready to step forward as a donor? Or that the nurses and lab staff worked extra hours to cover the shifts missed by donor and recipient?

There are many deficiencies and excesses in the world lately. How we respond to these difficulties gives things—all things—value. Let’s remember that what we do has the potential for making the world a better place.