Are you overwhelmed by performance statistics that tell you little about patients’ real concerns?
If so, you may be able to learn a thing or two from soap powder giants Procter & Gamble.
Sachin Jain says he was flooded with statistical reports that revealed little about the real-life experience of patients, when he took over as chief medical officer at Caremore Health System.
Jain had read how Procter & Gamble chief executive AG Lafley had turned around his company by talking directly with customers to better understand their needs.
So Jain decided to apply the same technique, introducing lunchtime patient feedback meetings that were to transform his organisation.
“More than anything, I have learned to never assume anything about the experience of care without consulting patients first,” he writes in Forbes magazine. “Over and over again, I have been humbled by how much they know about the system I help to oversee, and how much I don’t. Excitement about these meetings has been contagious as some of my colleagues have begun to join me to more strongly incorporate the patient perspective into our work. We aspire together to bring the patient perspective into every conversation we have and every solution we build.”
Jain says that whereas focus groups have long been the norm in consumer manufacturing, too often in medical schools doctors are taught to keep their distance.
“There is an asymmetry in power between patient and physician that inhibits patients from surfacing what’s working and what isn’t. We are also taught to avoid socialising with our patients. That engaging with them outside of care may compromise our clinical judgement. And so we have the formality that we have, a system in which doctor is doctor. Patient [...]