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Patient experience is key element in quality improvement initiatives

Patient experience is a valuable element of addressing patient safety incidents and conducting quality improvement initiatives.

After decades of operating with provider-centric care, healthcare organizations are becoming increasingly patient-centric. Evaluating and improving patient experience is a core component of patient-centric care.

“When you are defining patient experience, the most important factor is the patient perspective. There are many different levels. There is the one-on-one encounter that generates patient experience. There may be a sampling tool or survey tool to understand at a broader level the experience of the patients,” says Pat Merryweather-Arges, MA, executive director of Chicago-based Project Patient Care.

Patient experience can play an essential role when there are patient safety incidents, she says. “The patient experience is extremely valuable when there has been harm because patients can comment on a missed diagnosis, on not being listened to, or other factors. You can answer important ‘what if’ questions. ‘What if the clinician had acted differently?’ ‘What if the clinician had listened to me?’ ‘What if the clinician had taken me seriously?’ ‘What if the pain that I was feeling was addressed?’ ”

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