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This toolkit was developed for Integrated Behavioral Health Partners IBHP) by Elizabeth Morrison with the help of Barbara Demming Lurie, and final editing by Alaina Dall. The toolkit was sponsored by IBHP as part of the California Mental Health Services Authority’s (CalMHSA) Statewide Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Initiative.  

The toolkit is based on the valuable contributions of many key players, and our gratitude and appreciation goes to all the people whose information, advice and contributions fill its pages. We would particularly like to recognize Wendy Leebov, author of Physician Entrepreneurs: The Quality Patient Experience, 2008.  She has also written The Language of Caring Guide for Physicians:  Communication Essentials for Patient-Centered Care and produced the modular, web-based program:  The Language of Caring for Physicians.

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Facilitating culture change over the long term

The Client Experience Toolkit

Given the highly personal nature of health care and its supreme importance in all of our lives, one might expect to find that these interactions would focus, at their center, on human connections.

In fact, research tells us the opposite is often true, that in this most intensely human of encounters, patients often experience a marked lack of connection. While other industries have long understood the value of skilled, kind interactions, healthcare has been slow to acknowledge the importance of focusing on the human experience of patients.

Enhancing patients’ health care experience means more than just providing excellent clinical care.  It requires care that addresses every aspect of the patients’ encounter at the clinic – their physical comfort, their understanding of what’s happening and their emotional needs.  Putting the patient first benefits not only the patients, but the clinics treating them as well.  As more treatment options become available to patients, they may make choices based not only on clinical outcomes, but also on whether their provider delivers compassionate patient-centered care.

The foundational tools gathered here are intended to facilitate culture change over the long term. While they may not produce an immediate result, by serving as the building blocks for a culture that prioritizes empathy, they allow organizations to achieve lasting long-term improvements.

The tools are organized around the following concepts:

Importance of The Patient Experience

Enhancing patients’ health care experience means more than just providing top-notch clinical care.

Communication Matters

Better communication results in better patient care.

Referrals, Handoffs and Good-byes

A transition that goes smoothly can increase the patient’s feeling of security and being well taken care of.

Hiring Matters

Organizations in the healthcare industry are often faced with the need to hire employees quickly.

Patient Dissatisfaction

When things go wrong, what is the best way to respond?

Assessing Patient Experience

Assessing patient experience means measuring that experience, and fostering an environment that encourages and sustains improvements.