Employee experience in healthcare: The importance of EX for patient experience

Employee experience and patient experience

Miika Mäkitalo, CEO of HappyOrNot, sheds light on the crucial connection between patient experience (PX) and employee experience (EX), highlighting the indispensable role of healthcare staff in shaping positive outcomes within the sector.

Healthcare is an inherently sensitive industry, where the quality of patient care relies on the experience of those providing it. An already anxious patient can be made to feel significantly more so when navigating the complex web of hospitals, clinics, online databases, and doctors, their journey notably influenced by the people who care for them.

The importance of patient feedback

Patient experience, or PX, includes every touchpoint a patient encounters, from the initial appointment booking, to entering the premises, continuous interaction, and post-treatment follow-ups.

The road to recovery is, however, often marked by challenges, such as long wait times. Patients can be left feeling frustrated if there is a lack of clear communication surrounding what is to happen next. These hiccups along the way not only intensify patient anxiety, but can also erode trust in healthcare providers. To overcome these sentiments, providers need proactive measures to enhance PX. So, what can be done?

Real-time feedback emerges here as a tool for deciphering the nuances of patient satisfaction, allowing organisations to pinpoint areas for improvement more easily. In its most obvious form, gathering data like this presents an invaluable resource for enhancing communication and streamlining processes from a patients’ point of view and based on data; both communications and processes undoubtedly beneficial for healthcare providers, and for improving patient satisfaction scores (PSS). However, the key lies in understanding the utmost pivotal role of employee experience (EX).

The impact of employee experience on patient satisfaction

As we saw back in 2020, healthcare workers were at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasising the vital role of human connection in medical care. While advancements in health technology have proliferated, the role of health workers and quality care remains unmatched.

Insights from data analytics, such as those provided by HappyOrNot's Smiley feedback buttons positioned in healthcare locations, show the reciprocal nature of EX and PX. For instance, global PX data shows that in 2022, the days of the week with the most positive feedback in healthcare locations were Thursday and Friday, while in the first three quarters of 2023 it was Thursday alone. On the other hand, Sunday was on average the day of the week in both 2022 and 2023 with the lowest levels of positive PX feedback.

This analysis underscores the need for heightened attentiveness during periods of lower positive sentiment. Interestingly, EX trends in healthcare also show that in 2022 and the first three quarters of 2023, Sunday registered as the day of the week with the lowest levels of positive feedback, demonstrating a positive correlation between low EX and PX. Looking at this EX and PX data in healthcare locations, the correlation is exceedingly clear.

After collecting feedback, healthcare providers can identify and proactively address issues and dips in satisfaction, ultimately nurturing loyalty among existing patients and attracting new ones with this information at hand. Real-time data analytics not only helps staff respond to developing problems when they arise, but also informs training initiatives by identifying areas in need of improvement and any recurring issues.

By dissecting high and low points in patient satisfaction, coupled with hour-by-hour breakdowns, organisations can implement data-driven interventions to enhance the overall experience. However, the journey towards exceptional patient care begins with a people-centric approach to supporting employees. This means giving practitioners and staff the information to see where they are doing well and where there is room for improvement. Fostering open communication and a supportive environment can only lead to more collaboration at all levels. The initiative for change must begin at the top, with management using data-led insights to guide improvements and troubleshoot problems, effectively yielding positive results.

This approach acknowledges the intrinsic value of employee satisfaction in shaping patient perceptions. Real-time feedback serves as a guiding compass for senior management, providing solid insights to base decisions about staff training, rotas, development initiatives, and day-to-day operations on. By prioritising employee well-being, organisations not only cultivate a positive work environment, but also support the foundation for delivering unparalleled patient care.

EX and PX: A symbiotic relationship

Ultimately, there is no doubt that the symbiotic relationship between PX and EX forms the cornerstone of exceptional healthcare delivery. Evidently, EX directly influences PX: a positive EX leads to higher employee satisfaction, improved staff retention, and in turn has a positive impact on quality of care.

Through real-time data analytics and a people-centric approach, healthcare organisations can navigate the complexities of patient satisfaction, ensuring that every encounter leaves a positive lasting impression. This combination empowers healthcare organisations to prioritise EX for PX, fostering a mutually beneficial relationship that elevates the standard of care, but which, more importantly, consistently cultivates a positive work environment for all employees.

Miika Mäkitalo
profile mask
Miika Mäkitalo
20 March, 2024