Why Building a Conducive Hospital Culture Delivers on the Premium Patient Care Promise

Dr. Matthew Gettman’s thought on:

Why Building a Conducive Hospital Culture Delivers on the Premium Patient Care Promise

By Dr. Matthew T. Gettman, M.D., F.A.C.S.,

Urologic Surgeon and SSMC’s Chief Medical Officer 

As the 3rd Annual Patient Experience Congress is set to take place on Oct. 3-5, 2022, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Matthew T. Gettman, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) in partnership with Mayo Clinic, reflects on the value of investing in an empathetic and patient-understanding culture to delivering excellence in complex health care facilities. Dr. Gettman draws from his long-standing career in the medical field and shares his insights on the elements at play in providing premium patient-centered care. 

Redefining patient-centricity  

The term ‘patient-centered’ has been buzzing around health care circles for many years but delving deeper into how that is accomplished requires more than mapping out plans that aim to meet the promise of compassionate care. It also means taking consistent and actionable steps that cater to today’s and tomorrow’s patient reality.

Patients’ expectations today, especially in the context of serious and complex care, have never been higher and with that truth in mind, health care professionals must recognize this need and do everything in their power to deliver world-class premium care.

Patient-centric, is when care professionals possess the skills and capacity to holistically understand a patient’s physical case, emotional pain points and all other ailments. Being innovative in this fundamental regard starts with having a constant growth mindset. That begins with knowing everything there is to know about a patient’s case as they seek treatment from a premium care facility.

Adopting a proactive approach to delivering an exceptional patient experience 

Delivering an unmatched patient experience requires proactive and deliberate steps to build a trusted relationship with patients. While health care delivery must be task-oriented and transactional to drive results, it is essential that patients are placed at the center of the care that is being delivered.

According to performance coach and business advisor, Joe Calloway, author of the bestselling book ‘Becoming a Category of One’, knowing everything there is to know about the person you are providing care to is essential to distinguish your offering and reaching a new benchmark in patient experience.

When doctors exercise good listening and communication skills during consultations, they can unlock important information about patients’ social and personal circumstances, which can be factored into the recommended treatment course. For instance, questions such as “what does the patient fear may be the problem?” or “what is the patient hoping to achieve from the consultation?” can help doctors achieve a holistic view of patients, their needs and problems. This is even more important in a complex care setting; studies indicate that effective communication can prevent over 70% of medical errors in the Emergency Department.

A productive conversation with a patient can strengthen the doctor-patient relationship significantly by increasing trust and patient experience, according to a 2018 study in the Journal of Patient Experience. Most interestingly, a deeper doctor-patient relationship can have an extraordinary ripple effect on patient outcomes. Recent studies show that it leads to finer care practice, stronger patient cooperation, self-management, treatment adherence and overall patient empowerment.

Becoming a change agent and instilling the ‘Category of One’ mindset

While it is clear that applying a ‘Category of One’ mindset is a winning formula for delivering premium patient experience, implementing it across a large healthcare organization is less evident. Building a hospital culture that promotes holistic and trusted care requires an all-round shift to an integrated, team-based and patient-centered care model. It is also essential to garner an educational culture where every single person involved in the patient journey is attuned to what the patient is experiencing at every step of their treatment plan.

Leveraging their patient experience offices, hospitals can play a leading role in creating functional trainings that teach staff how to be empathic and focused on personal touch. A hospital’s patient experience department can also create a caring environment that is focused on the holistic approach by introducing transformation projects.

Harnessing cultural foundations in a complex care setting

Since Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) was established in Abu Dhabi in 2019, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, we have made sure to prioritize rolling out a unique model of care that brings advanced and trusted quality care closer to the UAE and wider region. As an organization founded on Mayo Clinic’s three shields of practice, education and research, we consistently seek to evolve to provide integrated human-centric and compassionate care. To accomplish this vision, SSMC is focusing on leading with empathy and compassion through trainings, seminars, and daily managerial efforts by SSMC’s leadership staff so that patients receive the care they deserve.

As one of the largest tertiary hospitals in the UAE, SSMC in partnership with Mayo Clinic, is committed to becoming a regional destination medical center for complex care and a Category of One health care provider.