If we hadn’t taken the time to chat with Heather, and hear first-hand what a patient experiences when she is about to be transferred to a different care setting, I know I would have gotten caught up in the mechanics of watching the process, timing it with a stopwatch, and furiously scribbling notes and drawing pictures and maps of what I saw. All of the providers we met patiently answered our questions about what they do when a patient moves from the ICU or PCU to a ward. And they appeared genuinely interested in and supportive of mistake proofing this process. But without Heather’s powerful words about the worry that she and other patients like her face at this point in their care journey, we would have overlooked this critical aspect of a process we were trying to improve.
Even when our customer is right in front of us (as they are in health care), it can be very easy to not see them or hear them. We get busy. We get focused on the task at hand. And we fool ourselves into thinking that we know everything, including what patients need and want. Ensuring defect-free or safe care for every patient, every time, is essential. Heather’s words reminded me that we must also reach out and learn from our customers what we can do to makes their care experience exceptional. Thanks Heather.
Photo credit for IV image: timsamoff