Helping People Feel Better

The British Medical Association’s head of science and ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson recent spoke with the BBC about how ‘happy hospitals’ can save money

“What people sometimes forget is that while helping people to feel better during their hospital stay we can reduce their need for painkillers, their likelihood of getting some depression and perhaps not eating enough.

“All of these things will limit their recovery and if we can speed people’s recovery, they have shorter time in hospital, shorter time for the problems of being in hospital and of course save money.”

A subsequent article included a response from Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association who said

“We welcome this report and hope that it will serve as a wake up call to healthcare providers to see the person behind the patient and to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.

“Healthcare professionals must stop treating people as widgets on a production line or a statistic and treat the person as a human being.”

I’ve been thinking a bit about this recently as I learn more about Community Health Center, Inc.  On my second day at work, Mark Masselli, president and CEO of Community Health Center, Inc. took me to see the New Britain office.  He spoke about providing world class health care in great facilities and making sure that everyone receives a friendly greeting.  It is a theme that I hear leadership return to time and time again.

It makes a lot of sense from a business perspective.  If you want your business to succeed, especially as people share experiences online, you need to have great customer service.  But what about from a health perspective?  Does treating patients kindly, from their phone call setting up an appointment, through walking in the door, meeting the doctor and wrapping things up improve health outcomes?  Does who feels that he matters to the staff of a healthcare agency do a better job of following taking care of himself, of taking changing his behavior or taking his medications?  Based on what the British Medical Association is saying, this just might be the case.  Perhaps we all need to study this much more closely.

About Aldon Hynes

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