How do we create an exceptional experience for patients and caregivers?
As leaders in healthcare, finding and applying the answers to this question drives our actions. Often, providing an exceptional experience seems like an arduous task—the system is complex, the stakeholders many, and the patient’s needs diverse. Yet, at the center of any achievement is an effective team.
Investments in technology, equipment or training don’t succeed on their own. They require strong collaboration among teams comprised of individuals who trust and respect each other. Such teams rarely develop organically.
Effective teams require training and consent to exist within the organizational culture. Once established, effective teams transform the patient experience by building trust, finding solutions and meeting goals. Here we explore five ways effective teams transform healthcare.
1. Building trust
Trust begins with our day-to-day conversations. How we listen shapes the way people feel about us, and ultimately, how they determine our trustworthiness. Think about the conversations you had today. Which ones made you feel productive? Chances are it is the conversations in which you felt heard, valued, and ended with all parties knowing your common goal.
Trust depends on listening
The connection between communication and trust is present in all relationships including those between doctors and nurses and between care teams and patients. Having the communication skills to build meaningful connections leads to trust and exceptional patient experiences.
Train your care teams to identify opportunities to build trust. For example, it takes the average doctor or nurse 18 seconds to interrupt patients when they begin telling their story. These interruptions are not prompted by rudeness or callousness. Most likely, doctors and nurses are trying to be efficient with their time. However, from the patient’s perspective it feels as though they are not being heard, and that erodes trust.
If early on a doctor takes a few moments to listen to the patient’s story, then the patient feels heard and is more likely to become an active member of his or her care team. In the end, listening is a time-saving tool; it instills a trust that makes future communication easier and more efficient.
Trust makes for more effective and resilient teams
Building trust makes achieving your goals easier. Teams who trust have a clear understanding of and dedication to the mission. They will do their very best to provide exceptional experiences for patients. However, teams who lack trust will lose focus because they don’t see the shared vision. They find it difficult to give their whole effort, Also, effective teams are more resilient because when individuals trust each other, they support each other through challenging times.