April 24-28th is Patient Experience Week, and we would like to celebrate all of those in the healthcare field that are dedicated to impacting patients’ lives every day. This week provides a time for organizations and medical practices to show employees how much you appreciate their hard work and encourage their efforts on behalf of patients. It is a great way to enhance patient and staff relations, re-energize efforts, increase morale, and improve communication.
The truth is, this week should not be a lot different than any other. Providing an optimal patient experience begins with every visit, every day, of every week. One fundamental but valuable tool that many hospitals and medical practices utilize for more effective patient communication and better patient experience is AIDET, an acronym that stands for Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation and Thank You, developed by The Studer Group:
A - It begins with a friendly greeting using the patient’s name, making eye contact, and smiling or Acknowledging their family and friends in the room.
I- It continues by Introducing yourself with your name, skill set, professional certification, and experience.
D- It also includes giving an accurate Duration of time expectation for tests, physician arrival, and identify next steps. If this is not possible, give a time in which you can update the patient on progress.
E- Next, it includes Explain what to expect, answer questions, and let the patient know how to contact you.
T- Finally, it includes- Thanking the patient and expressing gratitude to them for choosing your hospital, medical practice, or for their communication and cooperation. Thank family members for being there to support the patient.
Another similar but helpful tool for improved staff communication with patients, used at the Cleveland Clinic is S.T.A.R.T with H.E.A.R.T:
Smile and greet warmly
Tell your name, role, and what to expect
Active listening and assist
Rapport and relationship building
Thank the person
Hear the Story -Listen attentively
Empathize- “I can imagine how frustrated you must feel.”
Apologize- “I’m sorry you were disappointed.”
Respond to the Problem- “Here is what I can do…” or “What can I do to help?”
Thank Them- “Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about this.” “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
"PX Week" is a great time to consider incorporating AIDET or S.T.A.R.T. with H.E.A.R.T. into all medical practice encounters if you haven’t already. Both tools are easy to implement, do not require in-depth training or cost, are not time-consuming, and have been shown to decrease anxiety for patients and staff, increase compliance, improve patient perception of care, and build patient loyalty. These tools also help ensure staff and providers are consistently providing and expressing measures such as empathy, concern, and appreciation.
As we celebrate and take the time to appreciate our doctors, nurses, and medical staff this week. Help re-energize your efforts through implementing some of these tools that will help better communication and increase patient engagement.