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Language of Caring Blog

The Language of Caring® team shares opinions, questions, essays, links, and suggestions to spark comments and ongoing conversation about challenges related to improving the patient, family and coworker experience.   Thought-provoking insights for healthcare leaders, physicians and staff.

January 19, 2016
Invest in Patient Experience—New Proof of its Benefits
Jill Golde, M.S.
Partner & SVP, Market Development, Language of Caring, LLC

I recently learned from a colleague about an important study documenting the benefits of caring communication. Empirical proof of what Language of Caring has been saying for years!

Research published in Management Science and summarized in the Harvard Business Review shows that, when combined with high-quality medical care, “…communication between caregivers and patients has the largest impact on reducing readmissions.” While many health care organizations try to raise their HCAHPS scores by investing in expensive technologies, infrastructure, and luxury amenities to improve patient satisfaction, they would benefit more from focusing on communication!

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November 9, 2015
The “Problem” with Satisfied Patients
Wendy Leebov, Ed.D.
Partner & Founder, Language of Caring, LLC

I just came upon an article by the title, “The Problem with Satisfied Patients” in the April 17, 2015 Atlantic. I found this article disconcerting. Author Alexandra Robbins equates “patient satisfaction” with “patient experience.” She then makes the case that satisfaction and the patient experience have no relationship to outcomes by quoting a Missouri clinical instructor who said, “Patients can be very satisfied and dead an hour later.” Further, she states, “The concept of patient experience has mischaracterized patients as customers and nurses as automatons.”

I couldn’t agree more that “satisfaction” is not an effective driver of important improvement in healthcare. However, the patient experience is NOT about satisfaction.

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September 10, 2015
Introduce yourself! Why is it a controversial issue?
Wendy Leebov, Ed.D.
Partner & Founder, Language of Caring, LLC

Recently, I accompanied my mother to a doctor’s appointment. The Registrar interviewed my mother without looking at her. She just looked at the screen and typed. I thought of clearing my throat and saying, “Ahem! Yoo-hoo! There are PEOPLE standing in front of you.” But I held back, and instead, I asked respectfully, “Excuse me. May we know your name please?” And the Registrar replied curtly, “Why?”

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August 18, 2015
Against Medical Advice: Patient and Family Autonomy
Wendy Leebov, Ed.D.
Partner & Founder, Language of Caring, LLC

It was a very disconcerting experience….signing my mother out of the hospital “against medical advice.”

My mother is 97. She passed out at home and her caregiver noticed some drooling. We thought she might have had a stroke. The paramedics took her to the E.R. and admitted her overnight for observation. I rushed to Pittsburgh to be with her.

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