The health care industry has faced some challenging, volatile, and ever-changing times during the COVID era. Physicians and medical staff have endured untold amounts of stress, fatigue, and emotional and physical strain.
Regardless, our ultimate mission remains the same: to deliver equitable, accessible, and high-quality patient care to all.
Providing sustainably exceptional patient care in the face of any and all challenges demands that health care organizations and professionals build a solid foundation — a value-based culture is a primary building block.
Though seemingly invisible, the culture of an organization shows through in its systems, processes, and people, all of which dramatically affect patient experience and outcomes.
Values and Patient Satisfaction
Patient satisfaction can be defined as perception minus expectation. Dissatisfaction results when a patient’s perception is less than their expectation.
Small deeds can have a disproportionate effect on the patient satisfaction equation: time spent with a patient, holding a hand, or an act of kindness and caring all play a part in reducing fear and anxiety, dispelling anger, or offering hope.
Critical acts, whether they are small or large, often originate in values.
Our core values describe who we are as individuals, organizations, industries, and communities. They identify what we consider important and desirable.
Values are a powerful influencer and catalyst for change that define what function and success look like.
That’s why we need to establish a culture based on the values we deem essential and a part of delivering performance metrics.
A hospital that places meaningful values at the center:
- Stands up in times of stress and struggle;
- Gives its clinicians something to believe in;
- Promotes a trusting clinician-patient relationship.
Regarding the importance of values, The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare said the human dimensions of health care — compassion, respect for persons, commitment to integrity and ethical practice, excellence, and justice — are “fundamental to providing compassionate, ethical, and safe relationship-centered care” across the entire care continuum.
It added that “effective communication, grounded by core values, improves health outcomes, quality of care, and patient and clinician satisfaction.”
Values That Transcend Across Health Care
Creating a value-based culture doesn’t happen by default, but by design. An organization’s leaders must choose the path.
In his post, “The Power of You: Commitment to Leadership,” Dr. David Schillinger, chief medical officer at SCP Health, said the following about creating a culture of values:
“Before you can create a culture, you have to decide what it is you want to create. This will again require leadership … Any good health care organization will want to build that culture around the patient, providing quality care.”
He defined culture as the “thread that runs through an organization and keeps it together. It is both tactile and visual, apparent to everyone that encounters the organization.”
Related Resource: 6 Clinician Strategies to Consider for 2022
At SCP Health, four foundational values guide our success, and we recommend them to you for consideration.
Agility means quickly adapting to new behaviors, strategies, technologies, and models. It also means striving for constant advancement, being open to change, and willing to proactively address challenges, pivoting and adjusting our mindset and methods so that patient care doesn’t suffer.
A hospital staff that embraces a collaborative spirit works in concert across all clinical departments and operational teams. Disparate, uncoordinated care negatively affects performance metrics, patient and physician satisfaction, and patient care. Being collaborative comes with the understanding that no one of us is as smart as all of us and that we must function as interwoven teams to successfully provide cost-effective, high-quality care.
The third value, courage, means acting in a way that makes a difference in our patients’ lives, even when it is difficult. Courage demands that we do what needs to be done to deliver exceptional patient care, identifying when change is necessary and taking steps to ensure it does.
Respect entails treating everyone — staff, patients, and their families — with courtesy, professionalism, and empathy. To show respect to all people, beliefs, and cultures, acknowledging the inherent value of every person and their role, is of paramount importance. That only happens when you know your biases and work to overcome them.
Strong values underpin an organization and its people, and those values matter even more as the organization grows.
Any entity that wants to make a difference and significantly impact the lives of its fellow staff members and patients must embrace a value-based culture.
Our encouragement is this: Take time to evaluate what is important to you and align your values with it.
Once decided, reinforce your hospital’s culture and core values. Get your teams involved in ways to recognize core values daily and commit to taking care of your patients with excellence.
Staying true to these fundamentals sets a moral compass that will guide you in the right direction regardless of the difficulties and challenges that lie ahead.
It all starts with building a culture of values.