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What Is Patient Experience and Why Is It Important?

3 Minute Read

Patient experience has long been talked about in healthcare, often referred to as a pillar for healthcare success. But what exactly is patient experience? More importantly, what does it offer for providers and patients? And why should every facility focus on this all-important metric?

Patient Experience, Defined

Patient experience refers to the improvement of the physical experience of a patient during admission and the positive impact on the events that follow by empowering patients through education.

Patient experience is all about encouraging patients to be actively involved in their care by better understanding their diagnosis and accountability for what happens next. From a practitioner’s perspective, this is achieved through patient-centred care, which promotes compassionate and effective communication to reduce readmission rates, increase patient engagement and support patient morale.

Some people confuse patient experience with patient satisfaction. While the two go hand in hand — an improved patient experience usually results in greater patient satisfaction — the two are inherently different.

Patient satisfaction is more temporary, relating to the advocation of experience accounting for any number of supporting factors in addition to specialised care, entertainment and food provisions among them. Patient experience goes deeper, relating to long-lasting comprehension of diagnosis and treatment.


The Goal and Benefits of Patient Experience

Patient experience is a primary goal for every Trust and healthcare facility across the country. It can profoundly impact healthcare outcomes, create efficiencies, preserve resources, limit healthcare service utilisation and ease workloads.

But what else can patient experience offer?


Patient Experience Reduces Likelihood of Readmission 

According to the most recently published update, NHS readmission rates have increased by 1.3% in the last four years. It’s a metric every Trust is focused on to conserve resources and better patient health. Through proper education and understanding of rehabilitation, patient experience can effectively reduce readmission rates.


Patient Experience Supports Patient Safety

While practitioners can oversee patient safety through the duration of a hospital stay, the onus is on the patient to continue safely rehabilitating an injury or condition once their case has been discharged. Patient experience can create a safer transition from hospital to home by filling patients with the confidence and knowledge to manage their diagnosis.


Patient Experience Promotes Patient Morale

For patients with serious conditions and long expected recovery periods, patient experience can play an essential role in helping patients come to terms with disease or injury, increasing their capacity to deal and live with long-term changes to their health.

With 1 in 6 adults experiencing a common mental health problem in their lifetime, the mental benefit of improved experience can’t be overlooked. Now more than ever, healthcare practitioners need to prioritise and recognise the psychological impact of physical conditions and do everything they can to combat this.



Achieving Patient Experience

All in all, patient experience is something to set your sights on as a healthcare practitioner and everyone from doctor to healthcare assistant can play a part. Join our Special Interest Group (SIG) to join forces with other healthcare professionals and contribute to the conversation around patient experience. 

It's a community for those passionate about improving patient outcomes. So, why not be a part of it?



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