Below is a collection of discussion prompts and exercises designed to engage the hearts and minds of all members of the team in the practice patient-centered transformation effort. These exercises are designed to be concise enough to be incorporated into brief huddles or team meetings. Specifically, these exercises are designed to:
- Help all members of the team reconnect to the joy of practice
- Re-sensitize them to the patient experience.
- Learn specific techniques for connecting with patients, remaining present and delivering care with compassion – even when it is most difficult to do so.
- It is recommended that exercises like these be regularly incorporated into operations as a means of nurturing an understanding of patient-centered care and the responsibility and opportunity for each member of the care team to embody those values.
Exercises to Understand the Patient Experience
- Trace the path a patient takes from arrival at the office through to registration to the waiting room to the exam room and to check-out. What do they see? What barriers may then encounter? Is the signage they encounter informative? Does the environment (including the signage) convey warmth and compassion? Trace patients’ steps using a walker and/or a wheelchair. Ask yourselves the same questions. Better yet, do this exercise alongside patient representatives.
- Pair up with a colleague. Share a brief personal story with your partner (2-3 minutes, does not need to be overly personal). Initially, tell the story with your partner sitting down and you standing up; then both sitting at the same level. Switch roles. Together, identify specific behaviors that created a sense of connection as you shared.
- Role play a typical patient interaction in your exam rooms. Observe how the set-up of the room either facilitates eye contact and personal connection or inhibits it, specifically in consideration of how you use the EHR. Consider placement of the computer screen, availability and height of chairs, etc. Better yet, complete this exercise alongside patient representatives.
- Sit in an exam room on the table for 10 minutes, just as a patient would (though they wouldn’t know in advance how long they would be waiting.) Take note of the environment of the exam room. Is there anything to keep you occupied? What can you hear going on outside the room? How does it feel to sit there?