Code Lavender – making the patient experience a strategic goal

“Most patients want the high tech and a great quality outcome, but they can’t judge the quality of the [treatment] they can judge the quality of the experience…” – Bridget Duffy, MD

This inspiring video came to my attention by way of Dr. Howard Luks. Every time I watch it – I have done so several times – I become more inspired. Dr. Bridget Duffy, the Chief Patient Experience Officer for the Cleveland Clinic (how great is that title!) presented this talk at the Gel Conference. Dr. Duffy makes the case for elevating the patient experience to the same level of importance as clinical outcomes.

There are two concepts in particular that resonate with me from this talk. The first occurs around 21:45 when Dr. Duffy talks about “Code Lavender”. In her words, TV medical dramas have made us all familiar with a Code Blue, a patient in cardiac and/or respiratory arrest. A Code Lavender is when someone is emotional arrest – a patient, visitor, doctor, nurse, anyone in the hospital. Calling a code Lavender means that “everyone in the hospital stops and sends healing intention or prayer…” It is a powerful concept.

The second point that I find especially apt is an overall theme of the talk: creating a meaningful, positive, healing patient experience is the most important strategic goal a provider can have. “If you focus on that, [hand washing, clinical outcomes, quality, performance improvement] will come.”

At the end of her talk, Dr. Duffy slips in a key part of this plan, “listening to their needs.” I recently had cause to say to someone “I’m working with a patient to resolve a concern they have, this is the best part of my job, social media is just a way to get there.” Using these real time tools to connect with patients and improve their experience is truly what #HCSM is about to me. I am fortunate to work for an organization that has made experience a strategic goal. I get to see every day the impact it has.

Bridget Duffy at Gel Health 2009 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.