I recently had the opportunity to hear Maureen Bisognano, CEO of Institute for Healthcare Improvement, speak at the Society of Hospital Medicine 2015 Annual Conference. In her keynote address, she challenged us to focus less on asking what's the matter with our patients and more on asking what matters to our patients. One way to do this, she noted, is to start asking our patients what a good day looks like to them. Why is this so important? As providers, we have a specific agenda we want to accomplish while in the room with the patient. As we've gotten busier, the time we spend just talking has decreased. Given the rush, we often don't stop to ask our patients what their actual preferences are. Taking a moment to ask our patients, What's a good day look like for you?, puts the focus back on our patients and their wishes. It's not complicated, and it only takes a minute, but the answers could be transformative.

Imagine a patient with pneumonia. As the physician, a good day in my opinion would be one in which my patient takes the antibiotics and doesn't spike a fever. However, in my patient's mind, a good day may be one in which he or she sits outside in the hospital's healing garden for a few minutes. You can see that my good day and my patient's good day are completely different. In fact, I may never suggest the healing garden on my own. By taking the time to ask the patient what a good day looks like, I now know one small thing I can assist with to make a huge difference for my patient. The nice thing about this question is it applies to both the inpatient and outpatient setting. 

Maureen Bisognano challenged all of us at SHM to start asking our patients what a good day looks like for them, so now I challenge you to do the same. 
 


Comments

12/28/2015 8:40am

It is nice to know that the healthcare industry is improving their services, focusing more on the needs and wants of the patients. Being sick and in a hospital is difficult that’s why patients should be provided with the medical and personal care that best suit them. Patient-centered care and patient-centered communication are essential in addressing not only the medical needs but also the main concerns of patients. Based from a medical study, when physicians communicate with their patients effectively, get to know them and their families personally, ask about their worries, their wishes, how they want to be treated and other things that matter to them, most often, patients appreciate the concern and care they receive. They respond to treatment better and follow the physician’s clinical recommendations. On the contrary, patient’s adherence to treatment is poor and tend to forget the physician’s advice when the physician generally doesn’t express empathy or doesn’t ask them personal questions and involve them in decision making.

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07/05/2016 1:17am

Being personal with patients helps their mind in getting off the type of illness/disease they are experiencing right now. It is formality to address the patients regarding information, asking the questions what and how, but it is also important to ease away their feelings of pain and suffering. It is a part of a physicians job to address anything that makes a patient uncomfortable and uneasy. Therefore, what you have stated in your post is true and real, everything that helps someone's mind forget about the pain they are enduring right now helps cure them. It is always correct to calm one's soul and reach thru matters personally rather than only opting out to scientific means and process. All in all, if one is to help another person's life specially in relationships such as physicians and patients, it is always important to remember that healing comes from physical, mental and emotional aspects.

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11/20/2016 7:47am

I am sure it was an amazing conference. I wish I could visit this event.

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To my mind every day is a good day, because you live and breathe and you have family and friends.

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    Author

    Trina E. Dorrah, MD, MPH, is a board-certified internal medicine physician who practices at Baylor Scott & White Health in Round Rock, TX. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Dorrah is the medical director of quality and the physician champion for the patient experience. Dr. Dorrah is passionate about improving the patient experience and she loves to share her expertise with others. 


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