The International Clinical Operations Board recently published an article on the, “5 Myths That Doctors Believe about Patient Experience.” One may think that patient experience is not directly related to hand hygiene, but let’s take a look to see how quality of care and hand hygiene are very closely related.
The first myth they touch upon is something that can get everyone’s attention. It deals with money.
Some doctors believe that patient experience is only a hospital metric. However, the metric goes deeper than just the score or the rate. Depending on certain metrics that hospitals meet, there are certain financial ramifications that can occur.
In the case of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), patient experience and financial ramifications are directly correlated. In the U.S., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are cracking down on hospitals that aren’t decreasing their rate of infection. Nearly 800 hospitals received word this past December that they would have Medicare cuts in 2017 as a result of their failure to improve their rate of HAIs. Many hospitals like Riverside Medical Center, have turned to initiatives to improve their hand hygiene compliance, and have been extremely successful, reducing their rate of infection and avoiding HAC penalties.
Another myth the article addresses is the patient rate experience based on factors like amenities or nursing – things outside doctors’ control. In fact, doctors significantly influence the most important drivers of experience ratings. Especially when it relates to hand hygiene, patients want to see medical professionals properly performing hand hygiene in front of them.
In addition to properly performing hand hygiene, patients also want to hear a constant communication line among the nurses and doctors reminding each other to perform proper hand hygiene. In turn, the patient observes and recognizes that the hospital maintains a just patient safety culture that focuses on clean hands and the prevention of spreading infections. With this recognition on behalf of the patient, they realize the level and quality of care they are receiving, enhancing their experience and satisfaction.
Myths exist about patient experience, just as they do about any other topic, even hand hygiene. Many hospitals have a firm belief on performing hand hygiene on an in-an-out basis. Sometimes, these hospitals do not realize the risks for spreading infection after entering the patient room. The WHO 5 Moments Guidelines seeks to decrease the rate of HAIs. Many hospitals have adopted these guidelines and have been able to reduce their rate of infections.Sometimes, we have to question current practice to truly achieve best practice. When it comes to hand hygiene, we should question what has been done in the past and what was practiced. The ultimate goal is to reduce infection and enhance patient experience.