Anxiety & The Patient Experience
We know that the Patient Experience is important: a positive Patient Experience is a marker for success in today’s assessment of care. But, we cannot expect patients to have a positive experience if it is surrounded by stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. And the reality is, that providers have work to do to achieve a positive and trusting experience for patients, nationwide. In her October, 2022 piece, “Over 50% of Patient-Provider Relationships Are Marked by Anxiety,” Sarai Rodriquez writes:
Patients’ feelings of anxiety start outside of the medical room. About two in five respondents felt anxious before going to an appointment with their provider. Additionally, 35 percent of respondents reported that both the waiting room and exam room cause them to feel anxious.
According to the survey, medical exam results were the source of anxiety for 38 percent of patients. Another 38 percent reported that the anxiety stemmed from a lack of information and preparation prior to the visit.
If we know that patients are feeling anxious before they even arrive at their healthcare facility, then we must zoom out. To achieve our goals around Patient Experience, we have to examine a patient’s entire journey to identify the small but meaningful places we can make a positive impact on their experience. We’ve said it before, and it remains true: we can strive to remove the stress and anxiety felt around a clinical visit, so that patients can focus on what matters most - accessing care.
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