Getting the Healthcare Industry Back on Track: Patient Experience in a Post Pandemic World

When the healthcare industry made the quick switch to a virtual environment, organizations were forced to redesign their care delivery in order to best serve their patients while also continuing to provide patient centered care. Like we discussed last week, patient experience surveys often feel standardized. Improving the communication between the patient and care team is a way that organizations can turn patient feedback into actual change that improves the care experience.  

The Cleveland Clinic aggregated patient comments from September 2019 to April 2020 in order to identify themes associated with reported negative comments.

The survey found that communication was a main factor when determining whether the patient had a good or bad experience. Patients identified long wait times and slow turnarounds as common pain points. However, patients often had positive insights regarding their interactions with the care team and staff members. Patients have a more positive experience when they are given detailed instructions before their appointment, when they feel included in their care, and also when they are treated with respect during scheduling, registration and check-in. Traditionally, focus is often afforded to the actual care being provided, however it is important to not forget that the entire experience of the patient, from scheduling an appointment until check out, is reflective of the patient experience.

Since empathy cannot be measured by standard patient experience surveys but is a critical component of the care experience, it is crucial that healthcare organizations create a more empathetic environment. One way to build empathy and improve patient care is by hosting training programs centered around creating empathy. Cleveland Clinic created the REDE model, a framework for relationship-centered communication. The REDE model “optimizes personal connections in three primary phases of Relationship: Establishment, Development, and Engagement,” and this model is part of the onboarding process at Cleveland Clinic. (Boissy)

After the REDE training was enacted, physicians who completed the training were compared to physicians who had not completed the training. It was found that metrics including empathy, patient satisfaction, and burnout all had significant signs of improvement. There are variations of REDE that are used globally to build capacity for not only empathy but also actions of compassion. The “What Matters to You?” framework is both a tool and movement championed by organizations around the world, including goShadow. These 4 words serve as a jumping off point that creates opportunities for meaningful connection and allows providers to discover what truly matters to patients in their care and personalization of care.  

Although care teams provide life saving care every day, empathy in care delivery can positively transform the patient experience, improve adherence to treatment plans and be conducive to healing. In order to truly understand what would make a difference in the patient’s care experience, care providers must be empathetic and directly engage in meaningful conversations. To see a real world example of how compassion makes a difference in patient experiences visit or check out this blog post on the Center for Bone and Joint Health. 


Boissy, Adrienne. “Getting to Patient-Centered Care in a Post–Covid-19 Digital World: A Proposal for Novel Surveys, Methodology, and Patient Experience Maturity Assessment.” NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery, 14 July 2020, 

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Posted on

May 20, 2022