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Deb Spicer, MS, BS, RN


First, let’s agree that if it was easy to be a 5-Star hospital, every hospital would be. The truth is there are many variables in the healthcare clinical setting therefore, it is easy to get some areas right and have no sight on others that drag down healthcare delivery success measures.

 Just as champions in industry and athletics are elite in their fields, their extraordinary success comes from their willingness to do what the “low performers” or “only ordinary” will not do; invest in time and training.   

 The first in this three-part series discusses the role of Ethnography Research and how elite hospitals – and those who strive to deliver superior patient engagement across their enterprise – use Ethnography Research and reporting to amplify the patient’s voice about their care.

 Delivering care that is perceived as a true Provider-Patient Partnership from every person who “touches” the patient is fundamental to the elite performance hospital administrators are striving. In addition to the Mission of the hospital, administrators recognize their direct impact on bottom-line financials through the pay-for-performance reimbursement model. 



 Conducting Ethnographic Research by trained researchers outside of hospital staff unveils in non-threatening ways to the patient vital information that can highlight catalysts for change that begins transformation. Researchers ask more open-ended questions than paper surveys and researchers can ask follow-up questions for more robust interpretation or information. Simultaneously, trained researchers can observe caregiver challenges and identify the root of issues of those barriers versus behaviors or personalities.

 Revealing and reporting the newly unveiled barriers to operational excellence, together with customized and specific plans and training to improve the variables at issue is the first in three steps and ongoing investment toward extraordinary success – in superior healthcare delivery, in reputation, and financially. 

 Implementing training and education around physician and provider communications with each patient is the second part in this series. The third of the series, discusses how top-performance hospitals continue to succeed when their physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals and staff are versed on a “way-of-life” in dealing with patients. These approaches are NOT a program of the day. These approaches are NOT a “flavor of the month ACRONYM”.  The “way-of-life” approach focuses everyone on passionate care delivery so that Every Patient, Every Time, Every Day is treated as a central partner in their journey to better health. 

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