Key takeaways from HMA Virtual's fireside chat with Dr. Thomas Howell, Assistant Medical Director of Patient Experience at Mayo Clinic, on patient experience during COVID-19.


Dr. Thomas Howell is currently the Assistant Director of Patient Experience at the Mayo Clinic Health System. He shares Mayo Clinic’s framework of patient experience, highlighting that patient experience is more than addressing complaints (service recovery team) and gathering patient satisfaction data (research team).

At Mayo Clinic, there is a training and education group that plays a big role during COVID-19 in providing information to patients. There are “improvement partners” who shadow physicians to improve communication with patients and an experienced relationship management team that looks after the care system in a more holistic way. All these are motivated by the core value of providing a superior patient experience rather than achieving certain scorings in feedback surveys.

The pandemic changed patient experience by moving clinic visits online. Yet, we have to remember that technology is only supplementary; connecting with patients is still and always a big part of the patient experience.

As we marched towards providing better and personalised care, we also need to think about the patients’ families, caregivers, and staff and recognising that factors like fatigue or burnout derived from prolong provision of care also play a role in arriving at the best patient experience.

Overall, patient experience is about knowing the values and priorities of patients (plus their caregivers and families), the staff, and the organisation.

Key Takeaways

  1. Medicine is as much about people’s hearts as it is about their heads.
  2. Patient experience involves improving everybody’s experience, meaning not only for patients but also for their families and caregivers.
  3. Loyal patients are often those who felt their concerns were resolved rather than those who didn’t have any complaints.
  4. Pay attention to your patients, but in doing so, also remember to pay attention to your staff.
  5. We have to find values coincident with the organisation’s values and with what people really care about.


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