Recently, I read a provocative article on the issue of improving patient safety and medical outcomes. Unlike other discussions of the same topic, this article considered the oft-overlooked difference between clinical quality and experiential quality. When it comes to overall patient well-being, the difference is important.
Here’s an example of this difference according to the article: “Clinical quality is about doing things correctly – strict guidelines, standardization and checklists, for example – so when you consider experiential quality is about customizing health-care delivery to an individual patient’s needs, there is a tension there,” said Aravind Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of management sciences at Ohio State and lead author of the study.
How might this tension play out? The authors describe a case in which clinical quality guidelines recommend a beta blocker prescription for patients who have had a heart attack, but offer no suggestions for how to effectively relay that information to a patient. So the hospital gets a good mark for prescribing the drug, but a patient may not understand the instructions and possibly won’t even fill the prescription.”
So, a good outcome from a clinical perspective does not necessarily guarantee a good experiential outcome which, in turn, affects the overall outcome. Both matter and influence the bottom line which is patient health. Good communicaton which allows rapport and trust is crucial to the experiential quality experience and should be part of the standards adopted by healthcare organizations.
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