The Triple Aim in Patient Satisfaction Gets a Makeover
Staff Engagement Gains Traction and Healthcare Linen Programs Play a Part
The Triple Aim¹, which is comprised of patient experience, better outcomes and cost management, has been the accepted measure of a high-performing health system. Until now. Staff engagement is increasingly recognized as a growing priority and driver of the patient experience. Different from staff satisfaction, which deals with measures of contentment, staff engagement is about an employee’s feeling of contribution and enthusiasm in work.
Image 1: Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Patient satisfaction and staff engagement intersect across multiple patient experience initiatives that, generally, are within the control of staff. Others that are not, including access to comfortable, high quality linens and gowns, must be held to a high standard. Service providers for these contributors to the patient experience must offer quality product and reliable, worry-free service so that clinical team members can focus on their core duties.
Image 2: Graphic adapted from
Cardiac Interventions Today
All patients have a choice as to where they receive their services. This choice is influenced by physician and family / friend referrals, non-clinical considerations like proximity / access and, of course, by real or perceived health outcome performance. In 2017, Christy Dempsey, a nurse of over 30 years, a breast cancer survivor and family member of a critically injured police officer, wrote an article² about patient experience for FierceHealthcare, a news site that “delivers healthcare news at the intersection of business and policy.”
In it she reported, “… the concept of patient satisfaction was discussed inconsistently until about 10 years ago when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began publishing patient experience scores on its Hospital Compare website. Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the agency began to link payments for hospital care to patient satisfaction scores. Suddenly, healthcare providers started scrambling to ‘make patients happy.’ They talked about smiling, delivering warm greetings and closing curtains for privacy. While those are all important elements of compassionate care, they reflect just a fraction of the patient experience.”
As to her personal experience, she said, “A great patient experience connects clinical excellence with outcomes. It connects efficiency, quality, behaviors and mission with caregiver experience and engagement. The patient experience relies on teamwork, communication, shared decision making, empathy, compassion and human connection. It is also influenced by dignity, respect and humanistic values, as well as the ability and willingness of clinicians to relate to their patients as people, not as a medical condition or a room number.”
That’s a heavy lift for the clinical team. With these attributes taking nearly all the clinician’s share of mind, it is critical that external providers for product and services such as healthcare linens and gowns step up to not only provide quality product and choice but deliver it in a way that frees the staff and enhances their feeling of contribution and enthusiasm in work.
A particularly good example of this is when healthcare linen and gowns meet specialty services such as maternity. Great linen can help give each mom the best experience on her most important day. And because moms often make healthcare decisions for the whole family, that will help mom commit to the health system that gave her such a great experience.
As with Faultless Healthcare Linen’s Product Plus, having a linen program provider that takes care of the clinical staff allows the clinical staff to take care of their patients.
Having a large selection available at the right time in the right place – from maternity gowns to bed linens to cubicle curtains – matters to staff. It gives staff further peace of mind to also know, as one does with Faultless, that the service provider assures the linens’ safe and clean laundering with the most in-demand medical laundry certifications and accreditations that help the health system succeed in its exhaustive compliance audits – Hygienically Clean (HC), HLAC, Infection Control University and TRSA Clean Green.
Taking it one step further, a healthcare linen service provider like Faultless adds assurance of infection control to its program. Medical laundry is the most touched hospital supply item before it gets into the patient room, while it is in the patient room and after it leaves the patient room. To reduce the risk to patients, it is important to launder medical linens according to AORN standards – in a manner that will reduce pathogens to an acceptable level that does not pose a threat to patient health.
Faultless Healthcare Linen supports the goals of quality staff engagement with its healthcare linen-only program that reliably delivers on a large selection of safe and clean laundry.
- Triple Aim, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, The IHI Triple Aim
- FierceHealthcare, Hospital Impact: For a Better Patient Experience, Focus on the Outcomes that Matter Most, Christy Dempsey, April 2017