After shadowing over 450 physicians, I learned that to improve the patient experience, we must first create a good experience for the physician. Establishing a relationship with the physician and understanding the pressure he or she is under is the key to enhancing the patient experience. Treating the physicians the same way we are asking them to treat their patient is essential. Physicians deserve the same consideration that we are asking of them with their patients. They deserve understanding, respect, time, and empathy. They should never be treated with the preconceived notions that they are either resistant to change, jaded, difficult, arrogant, or any other type of prejudgment. It is vital to show physicians kindness, generosity, and a sense of camaraderie in order to make a difference. A lot of physician shadowing programs make the physicians out to be the bad guy and the root cause of a patient having a less than perfect experience. Although the physician does play the largest part, we should never approach them with the attitude that sounds and feels like this: "Here's what you need to do." The attitude should sound or feel like this: "What can I do to help you have a good experience with your patient?"
I spent 20 years as a Stand-Up Comedian and Musician. I leaned how to engage with audiences very quickly. I performed for all types of corporations including health care systems. I would customize my presentation with materials they provided, most of which was on Patient Experience. This led to being asked to be a part of a shadowing program that required me to shadow physicians, watch for certain behaviors, create a report, and coach them on necessary behaviors. In one year, I shadowed over 350 physicians. Each department that was shadowed showed significant improvement in their customer satisfaction scores. The key to the improvement was my dedication to getting to know the physician, relating to them, and figuring out together how best I could serve them.
I've asked to speak at some of the largest Patient Experience conferences and now, I spend most of my time giving keynote presentations, coaching physicians, and consulting health care systems on Patient Experience. I am excited to share all that I have learned over the past few years because I know what a big job this is and have seen, firsthand, this process work.
"Matt Jernigan is an exceptionally creative presenter! He was able to adapt his unique blend of skills for our Henry Ford staff with great ease. Matt is able to beautifully blend relevant content, examples, creativity, and humor in a way that is lively and engaging for a diverse group of professionals. I heard from many staff that they applied ideas they learned in the presentation back at their departments. Because of his ability to be so flexible in his approach, Matt has proved to be a wonderful think partner. He is extremely sincere in wanting to create lasting and measurable results."
Kelley Dillon, Director of Care Experience
Henry Ford Health Systems