Fostering Exceptional Patient Experiences – 7 Steps for Health Care Leaders

There are many leaders in health care environments – each with an opportunity to exert positive influence on those who follow them. If you’re in a position to guide and shape the behaviors of those around you, here are some specific things you can do to help foster exceptional patient experiences:

  1. Set the expectation. Leaders may have a strong internal commitment to the patient experience, but they sometimes fail to explicitly convey that commitment, along with their expectations. Don’t assume that your staff knows what is expected of them. You need to clearly communicate your expectations.
  2. Get out of your office and talk to patients and staff. Leaders can’t influence from behind their office doors. You need to get out of your office and interact with both patients and staff to help reinforce your expectations and commitment to a positive patient experience. And above all listen and learn about the needs and expectations of those you serve as a leader.
  3. Do an attitude check. Attitude is everything. As leaders we have to develop a mindset of being service excellence champions ourselves. That starts with an attitude check on ourselves beginning with the question: “Do I have an attitude that conveys that I expect excellence?” Saying it is one thing. But, it is what we do that most influences those who follow us. Do you have a crusader mentality – an attitude that communicates to everyone around you that a positive patient experience is a must and that you’re going to do whatever it takes to make it happen?
  4. Get out of the way. It’s an old and often over-used term, but organizations that really, truly, empower their staff to make decisions on the spot and on a day-to-day basis, will provide exceptional service. They are rare, but they don’t just happen spontaneously. They are developed at the hand of strong leadership that has the confidence to get out of the way and let their employees do their jobs, including whatever it takes to create exceptional patient experiences.
  5. Recognize and reward the behaviors you wish to see. Catch people doing something right. And when you catch them, recognize and reward them. This can happen in large and small ways. A simple, sincere and specific “thank you for…” means a lot to an employee and reinforces the behaviors and actions you want to see again and again from each and every individual in your organization.
  6. Hold people accountable. The flip side to recognizing and rewarding the behaviors you want to see is swiftly addressing the behaviors you don’t want to see. As leaders we need to have a zero tolerance for things that overtly conflict with our organization’s mission, vision and values. If we’ve hired people who reflect our mission, vision and values; clearly and explicitly communicated our expectations; and provided the training and tools they need to meet those expectations then we need to hold them accountable. This may be both the most challenging – and the most impactful – leadership action we can take. Nobody likes to think of themselves as being deceptive. But, for every day that we tolerate behavior that is inconsistent with our mission, vision and values, we’re being deceptive. We are deceiving people into thinking that these behaviors are permissible when they are not.
  7. Create a cultural expectation that everyone in the organization is responsible for spotting, recognizing or correcting actions and behaviors they see every day. Anybody walking through the organization, from the housekeeper to the CEO, that sees something amiss should feel a sense of responsibility to do something about it. Just as our collective consciousness was raised after the tragedy of September 11, 2001 to be alert to suspicious activities that might suggest terrorist behavior, as health care leaders we need to have a heightened awareness of the patient experience – really seeing and experiencing every interaction through the patient’s perspective.

Whenever we fail to convey our expectations, model our expectations or hold people around us accountable for meeting those expectations, we fail our patients, our staffs and ourselves. We owe it to them – and to ourselves – to take our role as health care leaders seriously and to take steps every day to build a culture of service excellence.

5 Tips for Excellent Pet Health

A healthy pet is a happy pet! Just like with humans, pets need healthy food, mental stimulation, physical exercise, social fun and regular visits to a medical professional. Follow these tips and keep your pet’s health in top condition so he’s with you for many years to come:

1) Provide Them with Healthy, Nutritious Food

Just like humans are recommended to consume a healthy diet, pets are too! The best decision you can make for your pet’s health is the food that you give them. Try your hardest to provide them with nutritious dog food. Research their food before you give it to them, which may consist of checking ingredients or even calling manufacturers. It might seem crazy, but your pet will thank you when their lives are prolonged by a healthy diet. Avoid food with by-products, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. Limit or completely avoid people food.

2) Help Them Use Their Brain

As animals age, they can begin to have altered cognitive function. The same happens with humans and can result in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It has been proven that “exercising” the brain can delay or prevent cognitive problems. Try to come up with games you can play with your pet that will force them to use their brains. It can be as easy as hiding their toys around the house and having them look for them.

3) Make Sure They Get Plenty of Exercise

As said above, physical activity is extremely important to every pet’s well-being. It keeps them healthy physically and mentally. If your pet doesn’t get enough exercise, he could become overweight leading to a host of diseases like arthritis and diabetes.

4) Social Interactions

It is known that dogs that are exposed to other dogs have happier lives. There are some exceptions to this because some dogs simply do not get along with other canines. But some will be better behaved and more fun if they are socialized. Having your dog interact with other animals can even help to improve your own social life! Visiting the dog park is a great option when considering ways to socialize your dog.

5) Visit the Vet

Yes, visiting the veterinarian may be expensive and a pain. However, it will prove to be very beneficial for your pet’s life. Just because there isn’t an apparent problem with your pet’s health doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring them for regular visits to the vet. Pets sometimes have underlying conditions that do not always cause apparent symptoms that can be diagnosed, such as fleas or ear infections. The vet can weigh your pet to determine if it is at a healthy weight. He/she can give you recommendations for how to improve your pet’s health and answer any questions you may have.

It is known that there are many other ways to improve your pet’s health, but these are just some of the most important to get you started. Hopefully following these tips and recommendations will prove to be beneficial for your pet’s health and wellbeing.

Practical Tips on How to Maintain Excellent Oral Health

You can ensure good oral health when you keep your mouth and teeth clean at all times. Ideally, you should brush your teeth at least thrice daily and floss regularly to get rid of food debris. Moreover, you should visit your dentist for expert advice on how you can prevent common oral problems including gum disease, tooth decay and halitosis.

What You Can Do to Maintain Oral Health

By following a healthy lifestyle and applying these tips, you can achieve excellent oral hygiene.

1. Consult your dentist regularly

Regular visits to your dentist and professional prophylaxis are excellent ways to prevent oral problems. Your dentist will also search for signs of dental cavities and diseases, since certain oral issues may lead to serious health concerns. For instance, untreated cavities may be quite painful and cause infections. Only a dentist who has the expertise and professional training can diagnose and find the ideal treatment to all types of oral health concerns.

2. Practice proper oral hygiene

You should consider using a soft-bristle toothbrush and brush your teeth twice or thrice daily with fluoride toothpaste. This way, you can remove bacteria and plaque that cause periodontal disease and cavities. Fluoride is effective in maintaining health teeth that are free from proximal caries.

3. Eat nutritious foods and follow a well-balanced diet

Healthy food can help you maintain overall health, since certain nutrients support strong bones and teeth. You may want to consider drinking fluoridated water occasionally, as this can help maintain oral health. However, you should keep in mind that too much fluoride in your drinking water could cause damages to your teeth. It is also ideal to avoid eating sugary foods such as sweets, rich cakes, and carbonated drinks that may cause dental problems.

Foods and Drinks that You Should Avoid

Aside from brushing your teeth, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly, you should avoid certain foods and drinks that can lead to oral diseases. Individuals who drink alcohol are risk factors for throat and mouth cancers. Cigarette smoking is also detrimental to your oral health, as tobacco reduces the level of blood flow to your gums. When this occurs, your gums will not be able to receive the right amount of oxygen and nutrients that can prevent bacterial infection.

You should also avoid eating foods and other snacks that have high sugar content or starches. It is also ideal that you eat about five servings of fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables that can stimulate salivary flow. This supports the re-mineralization of the surfaces of your teeth during the early phases of tooth decay.

Bottom Line

While the tooth enamel is considered as a hard substance, it is still prone to damages and decay. If the condition is left untreated or undetected, bacteria will continue to go deeper into your teeth. This will lead to serious pain, swelling and abscesses. You can avoid this problem and ensure the general health of your oral cavity by visiting your doctor and obtaining the right treatment for your dental problem.