Quality in the Eyes of Patients

The press coverage we received in The New York Times made me wonder if patients have been treated with a little more dignity this week in hospitals across the nation?

I know we dedicate great resources to systematic quality improvements that are designed to reduce medical errors and complications, and increase our standard of care. But, as the article suggests, there is another important part of delivering quality care.

I would guess that many providers may have read the article and concluded that no matter the perception of patients, if the health outcome was positive, it should constitute a positive health care experience ? no complications; the treatment was effective; problem solved. While there may be some truth to that, it is clear that patients expect much more.

On the bright side, since most of us learned the values of common courtesy years ago, improving quality from a patient perspective is much easier to implement in a systematic way than some of the more challenging requirements of clinical care improvement. And, it is just as important.

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