Archive for Health

The Patient Experience Should Be Everything, But, What Happens When it’s NOT?

Recently, I gave a keynote speech to one of the top-rated hospital and healthcare groups in the country.  My immediate take away is that great organizations are consistent at empowering their people to be great. 

Becoming top rated, the best or one of the greats doesn’t happen by accident, luck or wishful thinking. It happens through attitude and action.
It happens on purpose!

In the case of this article, the focus is on patient care and creating an exceptional patient experience.  You might assume that is the goal and mission of every healthcare facility, program and hospital, but what happens when it’s NOT???

Here is my story, recently shared at an LDI – Leadership Development Institute Day for one of the top rated hospital and healthcare groups, as a learning example. I didn’t share it as a professional speaker and author, but rather, as a patient, a father and a husband.

 

I think there are three words that can best sum up my Patient Experience this past year. Disappointing. Sad.  Scary.

 

When I speak at leadership development meetings for healthcare groups and hospitals, I always start my speech off by saying:

“The patient experience is everything.”

 BECAUSE IT IS!

While not everyone has direct contact with patients, everything and everyone contributes to the patient experience – legal, billing, maintenance, nursing, education, registration, help desk, and so on. Every position plays a role in the creation and contribution of the big picture. It’s the culmination of attitude and action. It communicates a vital message to patients – “Either we care about you and will demonstrate it or we won’t.”

Some hospitals and healthcare groups make
patient experience their biggest priority.

The result of how that happens can be credited to leaders and leadership who authentically care and are accountable to upholding a standard of excellence. This doesn’t mean you are perfect every day, but you learn from the “off days” and mistakes and get better. That is part of the pathway to how you achieve excellence in this workplace environment.

Let me share my year-long experience with a healthcare group that I will leave anonymous. My family and I reside in Carmel, Indiana. Healthcare is important to us. As a father of two little girls and a husband to an incredible wife, I don’t want mediocre service and treatment for them.  Nobody should ever tolerate mediocre service or healthcare treatment. That is never an option. Ever! I want the best for my family because I love them, and they are everything to me. I want security and confidence that they are being cared for the right way.

When I arrived, or have ever arrived, for my regular doctor visits, there is never a smile at check in. I’m not expecting a ray of sunshine, but something to make me feel human would be appreciated.

When you walk into the doctors office and peer through the glass office window, someone rolls over in their chair, reaches out and slides the glass window open almost like you are interrupting their day or selling them life insurance. They ask for your insurance card and driver’s license, tell you to have a seat, and that someone will call you.

Let’s break this down a little:

The nurse called me back, weighed me, took my temperature and blood pressure and said the Dr. will be into see you soon. Twenty five minutes later, the Dr. arrives.  Immediately, he opens his laptop, asks a few questions, checks my heart, looks in my ears and throat and makes suggested recommendations for meds and a blood test.

When I arrived at the pharmacy to pick up my medications, they were not called in yet. The pharmacist indicated this particular doctor is very slow to respond to requests and that I would have to come back the next day or call him myself.

Then, found out the meds I was prescribed didn’t mix together well, and I ended up experiencing significant side effects. My wife researched which meds work best based on my condition and found a better treatment. My question is, why did my doctor not care enough to do a good job in the first place? I dismissed it as an oversight. When I called my doctor and suggested a different combination via voice mail, the doctor called it into the pharmacy based on my non-medical degree suggestion and no discussion.

  1. Insurance – when you check in and provide your insurance card, it’s a form of how you will pay for the visit or treatment. For some reason, this healthcare group never updated my insurance and tried billing my old insurance, which lapsed over four years ago. However, they photocopied my insurance card every time I went in. I guess they like to photocopy stuff for fun? I didn’t know this until we got a call from a creditor in Chicago informing me that we need to pay our IU bill now. Even when we did pay IU Health the full amount, they never communicated this to the creditor – so they kept calling and calling and calling.

I even took time out of my schedule to go in to the doctor’s office to discuss it with the people who do billing. They made it seem like it was all taken care of and fixed. However, throughout the rest of the year, we got harassed by credit collectors for medical bills because  this healthcare group never fixed my insurance like they said they did when I took time out of my day to go there and fix it. So, now my credit score has taken a hit, and it’s all compliments of people who are not driven by excellence.

  1. Blood test – I had to get a blood test done. When I was getting my blood drawn, the nurse who took the blood kept looking at the clock and sighing. I asked if everything was okay, and she said, “My shift is up in twenty minutes. This day is going so slow. Just want to get out of here.”

This is coming from the person who has a needle in my arm and keeps looking away.

  1. The Nurse – Whenever I called my doctor’s nurse to follow up on my blood work or prescription refills throughout the year, she never called the number I provided her – which is my only number. She always called my emergency contact. Even when I informed the nurse that the number she kept calling was my emergency contact and to call my direct line, she continued to call my emergency contact.

 

  1. Chest pains – I had pulled a muscle in my chest; however, it didn’t feel normal. At my age, you get medical attention fast for any chest pain. I thought it was a heart attack. I went to the hospital, where my doctor’s office is located, and when I asked to see my doctor because of chest pains, she said she couldn’t get me in until Thursday – and this was a Tuesday. (I should have just got to the emergency room, but I didn’t want to make it a big deal with drama, and I didn’t know what was happening.) It wasn’t until someone stood up and yelled at the receptionist, “He is having chest pains!!!! Get him to a doctor now!!!!”

It turns out it was a pulled muscle, but when that lady yelled – you saw all the receptionists and people behind the plate glass window MOVE!!

I will end my personal patient journey here, but will leave out the scary details about my families experiences with this healthcare group.

The really sad part about this experience is that me and my family are left wondering, “Who can we trust?”

We thought it would get better, but it never did.

It was almost like each visit was progressively worse. It’s a scary feeling, and one that we shouldn’t have. The goal of a patient experience isn’t to instill more fear, but to do your best to eliminate it or manage it.

Trust is the byproduct of healthcare groups that make excellence a priority in patient experience.

A lack of this is a lack of real leadership.  You can be in a leadership role and not grasp what real leadership is and that seems to be the case in my experience. Again, the goal isn’t to be perfect every day, because we won’t be.  The goal is to get better every day and use the imperfect days as a spring board – not a sink weight.

 

When I share this story with audiences, you can see their eyes get HUGE and heads shaking back and forth in complete disbelief.  But, I also want to point out, these audiences I am sharing this message with are top rated, the best and driven to achieve excellence.

Average and mediocre health care groups run by leaders who have a leadership title, but don’t understand leadership don’t hire speakers like me or plan for events that empower their people. They view empowerment and engagement as a waste of time and resources.  That is blind leadership, because real leaders understand that action and attitude is what drives the bus!

When a group hires me, they aren’t buying a speaker.  They are investing in their people, their mission and the quality of their patient care experience.  For me, its an honor, a privilege and a huge responsibility to help make this kind of contribution.  As one head surgeon told me after a staff meeting,

“Sam, I just attended a week long conference and I got more out of your one hour speech than the whole week at that conference.”

Recently, the CEO of a Hospital was giving me a tour of their facility, and we came upon the emergency area. It sure does move fast there. My observation is the medical and healthcare world is overwhelming and demanding. The amount of change that happens is incredible. People are responding to detail, the unexpected, new people, new technologies, new challenges, changes in the system, and the list goes on and on.

But, the key to making excellence real in a world of change is when you choose to care, improve, communicate better, find purpose in your work, do a little extra, lend a helping hand, encourage the people around you, and give your best through your attitude and actions.
It’s got to be “everyone on board” and heading the same direction to work. If it’s not, you add more problems to the equation and author more sad stories.

 

The positive to this story? The hospital where my doctor’s office is located has an excellent cafeteria employees and the food is fantastic. And that’s all I have to say about this.

Why I love HOSA

HOSA stands for Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) I want to share an experience I had recently with this organization.  I recently was selected as the keynote speaker to kick off a state HOSA conference in Oklahoma.  Mind you, I have been working with student leadership groups for close to 17 years now, but this was my first time being invited to speak at a HOSA event.  What peaked my interest was quite a bit of my work  for the past several years (speaking at conferences) has been working with leaders in the health care industry– Health Care Associations, Hospital Associations, Nursing Associations and Emergency Response Providers.

I love working with these organizations because I believe patient care starts with attitude.  Why I love working with HOSA is being able to share the real world principles that matter the most to working well with others, serving patients with care and building trust, as well as how to be effective under pressure and unexpected changes.  The health care world is always facing new changes in technology and regulations and because of that, the value of having the right attitude is a necessity.

While, I always make my speeches memorable and entertaining, I also ensure solid content that members can use and apply immediately.  The scope of my speech to the HOSA audience was not just for the younger crowd, but also for the nontraditional members attending the event who were looking to sharpen their leadership skills. I intentionally made sure my message connected with everyone regardless of their level of experience.

About a week after the event, I got a handwritten note signed by the entire leadership team and here is what it said,

“Dear Mr. Glenn,

Thank you so much for on behalf of the Oklahoma HOSA for delivering a challenging and inspiring message that we could all relate to.  Thank you for delivering in such a level that would all understand.  

We deeply appreciate the kindness, support and incredible attitude you have.  You have made a lasting impact on the lives and in the lives of Oklahoma’s HOSA members.”   – State Secretary

I am glad I could make a positive impact and was more impressed that their leadership took the time to recognize my small part in what was a pretty big event.  That was impressive.  That was great leadership.

The future of health care occupations starts with HOSA and that is a big reason I love this organization.  The education, skills and involvement this organization offers young people today is going to play a big role in future patient care.  Being a patient or having a loved one being a patient can be a little scary, but when you see the effort, development and attitude of HOSA members, it gives you the confidence that some amazing people are working hard to make a positive difference.

A part of my speech was encouraging everyone to choose an attitude that works for them.  When we choose the right attitude, we serve others better, we handle stress better, we work with others better, we feel better and we feel a greater sense of purpose and connection to the role we desire to play in the world of health care.  Attitude is such a broad subject and some may even say that it is a topic that is not very measurable.  I think it is the most measurable element in any workplace place and life environment.  I remember when I had my shoulder surgery a few years back and I felt scared.  You almost feel helpless.  But, everyone from the nurses, doctors, administration, insurance – and I do mean everyone helped me feel supported, confident and guided me through the valley of my fears.

I am now a big fan of HOSA.  I can’t wait to work with other state chapters.  I know as I continue to work with the health care industry, I am going to continue working with many HOSA members as they make the journey through personal and professional healthcare development.   Some students who saw me speak when they were in high school are now grown up, working in the health care field and hire me to bring that fuel of attitude into their departments, hospitals, offices because the know the value of  positivity in an ever changing and stressful industry.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about HOSA, here is their national website.  Take a few minutes to check it out and all that they offer their members.  It’s pretty outstanding.

Until next time, remember  IT ALL STARTS WITH ATTITUDE!

Sam Glenn is an award winning keynote speaker and is often the highest rated speaker at every conference he speaks at.  If you are looking for an uplifting speaker that your audience will absolutely love and gain value from, then contact Sam Glenn’s office about booking him.  – Sam@samGlenn.com

What Is the One Thing You Wish You Could Change?

Today’s guest blog about using attitude to overcome is from a reader, Michelle Homme, who is also a speaker and writer. Click here for her website or to connect with her. Thanks, Michelle! –Sam Glenn

road I am 43 years old and started living my life at 41.5 years on January 4, 2010, when I said eight simple words to a friend at lunch in response to her questions of, “What is your purpose in life?” And, “Why now?”

My reply was, “Maybe we are ready to receive it now.” That is the day my life changed forever–even when I was afraid and was “going places I had never gone before.” I began to experience words like never before and began to share those words with others, even those I did not know very well at all. Read More →

Live Happy…Take Your Fiber

I was standing in the post office waiting for my number to be called when a female customer standing at the counter started yelling and making an ugly scene—about what—I have no idea.  But, she was on a rant about something.  It was clear she had a negative attitude and it didn’t help her situation or make her look good.  After she finished her negativity show, my number was called.  I walked up to the counter and the people working at the post office just had these looks on their faces like, “Whew…thank God she is gone.”  

Sam Glenn FiberHowever, I heard one guy say to another employee, “Looks like someone didn’t get enough fiber today.”

That caught my attention because if you have ever sat in one of my presentations, that is my shtick or stuff.  I talk about how we researched that moody and negative people are often that way because they have toxins in their body creating a negative effect on their attitude, and fiber is one option that gets the trash out. If you have seen me talk on this, you know I make it funny. If you haven’t—well, buckle up! It’s what some may call the ugly truth to achieving a positive attitude!

I asked the employee, “Where did you hear that saying?”

She said, “A friend of mine saw this speaker who said that if you don’t get enough fiber, you become negative.”

I said, “THAT’S ME!”

She started laughing and was like, “For real!?”

“Yes, when people are negative, I often ask them if they had their fiber today.”

She laughed more and whispered, “There are several people here who could use some fiber!”

It is not meant to be gross in any way, but rather a humorous play on truth.  In all the research I have done, fiber is a good thing.  It is heart healthy, brain healthy and mood healthy.  Why would you not share this information? It’s awesome!  

So, let me ask you something: do you know anyone in your office or place of work that could use some fiber—a better attitude?  I am sure there is.  But here is what is important to know: we cannot change other people’s attitudes.  They have to make that choice.  But, you can have fun and buy them some fiber, put it on their desks, and include a note saying, “You seem a little moody lately; this should help.”

It’s fun and guarantees a good laugh.  The other person may not see the humor ‘til they actually use the fiber, but it’s all good fun.

Fiber is not just something we take to get rid of toxins; there are other kinds of fibers that get the trash out of our mind.  Some of us think poorly because of experiences we may have had or just a lack of self confidence, so your mind always drifts south and you think negative.  How do you “fiber that out?”

Simple:  Input leads to output.

If you don’t like your current level of thinking and can acknowledge that my thinking or thoughts may not be the best, then you have taken step one.  Now it’s time to do something about it (fiber it out!).

To change your thinking, it starts when you change your daily input.  Some input you cannot control, but you can pre-plan some input that will keep the toxins out of your thinking and create gravity towards a positive attitude.   

5 Things You Can Do to FIBER OUT a Bad Attitude, and Get a Positive Attitude:

  1.  Read three pages or five minutes a day of a positive book. (I happen to know a great one titled A Kick in the Attitude!)
  2. Determine if the people you spend the most time with are negative or positive.  If they are negative, then you need to trim that time down and create boundaries.  If they are positive, then plug in more and embrace their positive.  Copy it!
  3. Work out.  If you want to feel good, you have to do good. Treat your body better.  Work it out, so you feel fit and look fit.
  4. Eat clean. Eat salads and fish. Go on-line and research best meals for good health. There are some great recopies online. I used to hate fish, but I found new ways to grill it up and now I love it.   
  5. Make being positive a choice. Ultimately a negative attitude or a positive attitude is your choice.  Nobody can choose your attitude for you.  You have that responsibility everyday and all day.   Develop an attitude awareness.  What are your thoughts – positive or negative? If they are negative, what will adjust them to go positive?  How are you responding to adversity and others? Do you need to step back and fiber out the bad, so you can get engaged with the positive?

Fiber isn’t always just something you get at the store; it’s a philosophy that when you have some toxic thinking, you act in a way that fibers out that thinking and puts you in a better frame of mind and gets you living with a positive attitude.

So the next time you feel moody, maybe playfully say, “Oh Boy, I need some FIBER!”

Have fun with it and until next time, embrace all that a positive attitude has for you!

How do you give your attitude a fiber boost?

How to Deal with Selfish People

Do you ever feel like the bird who flies to the feeder, only to consistently be knocked down by a bigger bird, or a squirrel? You may want to scream, “What about ME?!!” Or you may want to peck the squirrel in the cheek to show him who is REALLY boss!

Isn't he pretty?

Many of us will rationalize why it’s okay for this bigger bird to butt us out of the way. “Well, he’s a lot BLUER than me,” you may say. “That, um, makes him more hungry.”

Or we may want to rationalize why it’s okay to ruffle up our feathers and fight with all we have, inflicting as many wounds as we can while stating, “He WAS a bully, afterall.”

What if this happens time and time again?

If you find that you are emotionally, mentally, or physically drained by someone—whether it be of time, money, attention, or resources—chances are you are dealing with someone with selfish, or narcissistic, traits. This person will test you as you may want to react and send feathers flying, or you may prefer to give away all your birdseed. Neither, however, will get you where you need to be. Read More →

5 Ways to Get Healthy by Changing Your Attitude

fruit and vegetables

Disclaimer: This is not an infomercial where I will sell you some pink pill to dissolve extra weight, or a Bellybuster that will fit in the palm of your hand and dance for you when you aren’t using it. I’m not even going to say “Just Do It” while flashing a slow video clip of me running to inspirational piano music.

Instead, I’m going to share with you that I, like many, struggle to stay healthy. I am 6’7”, and my doctor tells me my heart has to work pretty hard to get blood all the way down to my toes and then back to my heart again. In fact, I’ve had some scares over the past couple of years. I’ve had to work extra hard at doing what I can to stay healthy. In other words, I’ve discovered I’m not invincible (imagine that?!).

But, I’ve decided it’s important to get healthy.

Getting healthy all starts with having the right attitude, so that you can follow through to eat right, exercise, get your vitamins, drink enough water, etc.—all those things that might seem painful or boring otherwise. I would bet that 95% of health management is in our minds. So how do we get our minds in the right shape so our bodies behave?

Here are 5 tips I’ve learned the hard way: Read More →

Avoid the Monday heart attack

I sat swiveling in my chair trying to see how many times I could go around with just a few pushes. This is how I started my work day—drinking coffee and spinning in my chair with thoughts of, “I need a new job! The management here is not good, the stress is intense, and it’s just not a fun place to work.”

I was mid spin when my manager walked in and informed everyone that Bob (I won’t use his real name) wouldn’t be in for a few days—he had suffered a heart attack the night before.

My first thought was that poor guy.  Bob was in his late 40s trying to make it, pay the bills, take care of a family…the works. The sad truth is, Bob didn’t thrive in our workplace because it did not have a culture structured for thriving. Management wanted results, and they really didn’t value the people who created the results.

I honestly believe that Bob had a heart attack due to all the stress in his life and the fact that he didn’t like where he worked or the direction the company was going. You can argue the cause, but statistics indicate that more people have heart attacks on Monday than any other day of the week. I think this indicates that people are stressed over their work.

It’s really simple. Ask yourself these questions:

1.      Do you work in an organization that values results over the people who produce the results?

2.      Is your culture positive? Is there at least an effort to boost morale and positive spirit?

3.      When you leave work, does it take you a few hours to unwind?

4.      Do you frequently fantasize about doing something else?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be heading in a direction of stress manifesting itself in negative ways like:

1.      Not being able to sleep well.

2.     Reaching for carbs or sweets.

3.     Feeling overly fatigued.

4.     Acting grumpy towards others.

5.     Becoming over stimulated with coffee or caffeine products.

Stress at work can also manifest itself in other ways that are not healthy. So what can you do?

1.      Listen to something positive—audio books on the drive to work and home.

2.      Have a quote book by your desk, so if you feel your attitude going south, you can adjust it.

3.      Take a 20 minute walk at lunch.

4.      Take time to breathe deeply for two minutes throughout the day.

5.      Inquire if your company has a personal development library where you can check out positive books and audios. If not, suggest they start one. Everyone wants to be great. They just need a little help to get there.

There are a lot of things you can do to reduce workplace stress. But, the key is taking action before it takes a toll on your mind, body and spirit. That negative chain reaction seems to be going around as of late, and you don’t want to fall victim to it. I care about you and your well being, and I sure hope my words encourage you wherever you are and whatever you are going through.

p.s. Bob recovered, ended up losing his job due to cutbacks. However, the experience turned his negative into a positive. He was able to revaluate priorities, find a new position with a company that values people, and go home each night as a happy man to his loving wife and kids.

p.s.s. I got let go too…and I too turned my adversity into an opportunity. I am now an author and in-demand motivational speaker who happens to be hilarious and the world’s worst cook. I can motivate you, but if you ask me to cook…y’all better run for the hills!

What tips do you have for managing stress in the workplace? What are you going through right now?

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