This year's Healthcare Service Excellence Conference, in it's 14th year, was another inspiring experience. The conference was aptly named "Revoluntionizing the Patient Experience." Starting with Colleen Sweeney's opening keynote "What Patients Fear and What We Have to Know," the focus of the conference was squarely where it should be: patients and their families.
A common element among sessions was sharing common experiences among healthcare professionals with a solid dose of humor, but always coming back to empathy. Scott Gross' session on "The Service Prescription: Healthcare the Way it Was Meant to be," followed through with great antecdotes about staying fresh and inspired in healthcare while sharing examples of great service from other industries. Breakout sessions addressed topics from Michael Bayer's "The LEAN Hospital" to Stephanie Staples' "The Idea Bank: How to Create a Breakthrough Year at Work and Life."
As is typical of the Healthcare Service Excellence Conference, there was as much to learn from attendees as from speakers. This think tank of service excellence and engagement in healthcare is an encouraging picture of where healthcare is going.
My own biggest take-away from the conference was another recurring theme that presented itself in a few of the sessions I attended--"hospital-ity." Essentially, the idea is to coach staff to mirror the hospitality industry and treat patients and their families as guests or even as you might treat guests in your home. If you want really great HCAHPS scores, treat them like guests at a 4- or 5-star resort by always staying a step or two ahead of patient needs. This concept was an "Aha" moment for me, having spent a decade in the hospitality industry before healthcare, starting off my hospitality career with a Disney internship. As is typical of conversations involving exceeding expectations in hospitality, Disney was pointed to as an example, so it certainly caught my attention as it did others in the sessions.
If you would like more ideas on exceeding expectations by engaging staff, watch the recording of a webinar I co-presented with conference founder Brian Lee a few years ago, "The Magic of Frontline Engagement."