Analyzing Annals: Patient Experience Must Move Beyond Bad Apples

The authors of this commentary discuss the shortcomings of current efforts to measure and improve patient experience, which have focused on individual physicians, and instead advocate for a new approach that treats patient experience as primarily a systems property rather than an individual property.

Use this essay to:

  • Consider whether you have ever had to help a family member navigate a multistep process for medical care. Did the experience alter your view of how easy (or how difficult) it can be for your patients?
  • What do you think are probably the most frustrating aspects for patients in your health care system to navigate their care?
  • Ask your Chief Medical Officer or Chief Quality Officer to discuss your system's patient satisfaction scores with your learners. How are such scores generated?
  • What responsibility do you feel you have for the satisfaction of the patients cared for at your health system? What variables are within and outside of your control?
  • Can you identify 1 or 2 problematic areas in your system and propose solutions? Is there a way you could become involved in trying to institute solutions? How would you measure if they have been effective?

Annals of Internal Medicine is the premier internal medicine academic journal published by the American College of Physicians (ACP). It is one of the most widely cited and influential specialty medical journals in the world.

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