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Experience isn’t everything, but patient experience is pretty darn important.

At Children’s Minnesota our number one job is improving kids’ health. Providing medical care so kids can live healthy lives.

But what if that’s all we did?

It would be like going to a restaurant where you eat a delicious meal but have nowhere to sit and you have to wait hours for your food.

It would be like going to a movie theater where you can see and hear the show, but the theater is freezing cold and there’s no popcorn.

Providing remarkable health care is much more than providing medical services. It’s providing a great patient experience.

A few years ago, the Institute of Medicine defined six areas of quality in health care. The best care:

  • Helps and doesn’t harm (safe).
  • Minimizes delays (timely).
  • Results in better health (effective).
  • Doesn’t waste supplies, time, etc. (efficient).
  • Affords everyone an opportunity to reach their best health no matter their race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, preferred language, etc. (equitable).
  • Respects each individual patient’s wishes and needs (patient-centered).

As you can see this is a much more holistic approach. And in general, I think children’s hospitals do a good job of taking this wholistic approach. But there’s always room for improvement.

Especially because patient expectations change. What may be one person’s great experience may be another’s bad experience. Gen Z probably has different expectations, wishes and needs than Baby Boomers. Back to my earlier movie analogy, it used to be that films were only shown on large screens. Then people started watching shows on smaller TV screens. Today, people view films on tiny phone screens. Some people may think that’s a terrible viewing experience. Others think it’s great; they love the convenience.

What constitutes a good experience is subjective and ever-changing. So, it’s our job to understand the expectations, needs and wishes of our patients and patient families and work to meet them. What a 25-year-old parent of a patient thinks is a good experience, may not be what I would want, but I’m not here to meet my definition of good experience.

I can’t overstate the importance of delivering safe and effective health care. But that can’t be all we offer. It’s certainly possible to provide great results without a great experience. But we want to do more than that. We want to provide the highest quality care, which means paying attention to all aspects of quality. Care for the whole person, the whole family. That’s work we can truly be proud of.

Marc Gorelick, president and CEO

Marc Gorelick, MD
President, chief executive officer

Marc Gorelick, MD, is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Children's Minnesota. He is deeply committed to advocacy issues that impact children's health, sustainability and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Julianna Olsen