Required Reading: Patient Experience

The patient experience represents the sum of a patient's interactions — and perceptions of those interactions — with the health care system. It reflects the dimensions of care most important to them: personal interactions and communications, access to care, and how well care is coordinated. Patients who rate their experience with providers highly are more likely to adhere to treatment recommendations and have better outcomes. A growing body of research finds a "patient-centered" approach to delivering care saves time and money, and improves quality — but it's often hard to know how to improve the patient experience and where to start. The collection of resources below provides a good overview of what's important to patients and the basic steps to embark on a patient experience improvement journey.

General Resources

Measuring and Improving Patient Experience in Safety-Net Clinics
A step-by-step guide to improving access to care and physician-patient communication in community clinics, along with patient experience survey tools. (California Health Care Foundation)

Improving the Patient Experience Change Package (PDF)
This toolkit highlights nine high-impact changes that will improve the patient experience and includes links to numerous additional resources. (California Quality Collaborative)

Advancing the Practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Care in Primary Care and Other Ambulatory Settings: How to Get Started (PDF)
Overview that defines the key elements of patient- and family-centered care with assessment tools and a list of resources. (Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care)

Measuring Patients' Experience of Care
Website with a collection of primers on measuring patients' experience of care and engaging stakeholders. (Aligning Forces for Quality, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Patient Experience in California Ambulatory Care
Landscape paper on the ambulatory patient experience in California that includes a summary of practices utilized by high-performing organizations. (California Health Care Foundation)

On Physician-Patient Communication

Can Teaching Agenda-Setting Skills to Physicians Improve Clinical Interaction Quality? A Controlled Intervention (PDF)
Research article demonstrating the connection between the practice of agenda-setting and the quality of the physician-patient interaction. (BMC Medical Education)

Getting the Most out of the Clinical Encounter: The Four Habits Model (PDF)
Article describes a successful approach — the Four Habits — to the medical interview. (Kaiser Permanente)

Physician-Patient Communication in the Primary Care Office: A Systematic Review (PDF)
A review of verbal and nonverbal communication behaviors associated with favorable patient outcomes. (Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine)

For Further Reading

Primary Care Access
Collection of tools and resources to improve primary care access. (Institute for Healthcare Improvement)

Team Up for Health: Partnering with Patients and Families for Better Chronic Care
Website dedicated to advancing self-management support, with resources on team transformation, patient and family engagement, and support outside the office visit. (California Health Care Foundation)

Connectedness and Continuity: Patient-Provider Relationships Among Low-Income Californians (PDF)
Summary of an in-depth survey of low-income Californians on the patient-provider relationship and innovations in providing care. (Blue Shield of California Foundation)