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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Staff training with patient stories: It’ll fall flat

Caroline Moore’s story:
I’m the Program Leader for Patient and Family Engagement at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  The Radiology department had just established new goals and their Service Excellence Program Manager was trying to find ways to drive them home to her staff.  She said, “I don’t want to just go into staff meetings and say, ‘Here are our goals.’  It’ll fall flat. I need something more patient-centered, from the lens of the patient to help them understand why that’s important.”

So I sent out a question to 80 of our Patient/Family Advisors.  They’re actively involved as members and consultants on task forces, hospital committees, and boards at every level.  I got back some very poignant quotes.  A blind patient had said, 
“I would like to comment on patients with visual impairment going into an area such as Radiology. Even with a little sight, it can be difficult to know where to stand and who is open next during the registration process. Vague directions such as "gowns are over there", and "go over there when you're done getting dressed" are not helpful.  It is also important for healthcare workers to introduce themselves and tell us what their role is, especially in this day and age when everybody seems to be wearing scrubs.”  They really need to be mindful, since I can’t see.”   I got other quotes about how anxious people are to walk into Radiology if they are going there for a procedure that may reveal cancer or a recurrence of a cancer that had been in remission.  We’re making a training video for the orientation and training of front-line staff in Radiology and hopefully it will be used in other departments.  The blind woman who was a patient will be in it, as it’s really important to personalize the experience.  

In the last year, the Service Excellence Program Manager has been coming to me more and more, saying, “You really have something here, with people who were so vulnerable and are willing to share their stories.”  So she is planning to embed our advisors in more of her meetings.

Ken’s Note:  This is an inexpensive way to make staff training much more vivid and memorable, and to increase patient engagement.

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