The sum of our experiences

Published 12:31 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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This is Patient Experience Week. The Institute of Medicine says that healthcare must be “safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable.” And The Beryl Institute defines patient experience as “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions, across the continuum of care.” 


While the terms are frequently interchanged, patient experience and patient satisfaction are different. In evaluating patient experience, we must determine from the patient whether something that should have happened in the hospital indeed did happen. Patient satisfaction measures if a patient’s expectations are met. Two people may receive the same care but have different expectations on how that care should be delivered; thus, they will give different satisfaction ratings.

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At St. Luke’s Hospital, the patient experience begins long before patients enter our hospital. Here, every teammate is tasked with providing an outstanding patient experience — from environmental services who thoroughly disinfects every inch of our facility, to our clinicians who provide excellent healthcare, to our marketing communications to the community. Each department and every teammate must consider patient experience as job one. 


One way to communicate healthcare knowledge efficiently (especially during the lockdown) is to ensure consistent flows of information and education throughout the healthcare enterprise. Information Technology has long been a critical success factor in healthcare. But now, making and attending appointments, sharing records, and securing communications between provider and patient have become essential. 


We were forced to innovate and find new ways to help our community while working to reduce the spread during the pandemic. Technology-enabled innovations enabled St. Luke’s to supplement patient experience to enhance our protocol moving forward. For example, telehealth permitted us to treat patients who could not come to the office. And enhancements to MyChart now include a precheck-in function to reduce the wait time when arriving for an appointment. Both innovations have improved healthcare delivery at St. Luke’s and will remain as we move forward. 


At St. Luke’s, the patient experience is an obsession. So, we work harder at eliminating infection, medical errors, falls, miscommunication, and injuries in the patient room. We work harder at bringing world-class doctors to ensure patient outcomes are improved. And we’ve worked harder to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to give our providers the tools they need.


Through our drive for excellence, St. Luke’s Hospital has earned a Healthgrades score that is sixteen percent higher than the national average. With this score, we are now the highest-rated hospital in the greater Western North Carolina region for “outstanding patient experience.” What’s more, CMS awarded St. Luke’s 5-Stars for patient experience and 4-Stars overall, making us the top-rated critical access hospital in a 200-mile radius.


At every level at St. Luke’s, the vision is vital for delivering safe and proficient healthcare. From our frontline providers, support services, and administrative teammates, we all have a critical role to play.


We’re working harder every day, not because we want a better hospital, but because we want a healthier community.


If you have a healthcare topic of interest or a question, send me a note at