Discover the transformative potential of hospitality, turning ordinary health care into extraordinary experiences
Content sponsored by CareCredit and Pets Best
Presenting at the AVMA 2023 Convention, Debbie Boone, BS, CVPM, examined the potential of hospitality to improve the healthcare experience for patients, clients, and veterinary professionals. Her talk delivered valuable insights and actionable takeaways to transform the clinic’s approach to patient care and team wellbeing.1
Boone emphasized that hospitality is not merely about being "nice"; rather, it's a powerful mindset and skill that can be cultivated. Regardless of individual personalities, healthcare professionals can learn to embrace hospitality to enhance both their own wellbeing and the success of their practice or workplace. By adopting this approach, medical care providers can create positive experiences that resonate with clients, fostering lasting relationships.
One key takeaway from the presentation was the importance of recognizing that clients seek personalized experiences and positive interactions throughout every touchpoint. Every interaction within a healthcare facility contributes to the overall experience. From the initial phone call to the actual visit, the entire team plays a role in shaping how patients and clients perceive the care they receive. By providing a warm and welcoming environment, healthcare professionals can leave a lasting positive impact on their clientele. “When we greet our clients with a genuine smile, their reaction as a human is to return the smile,” said Boone. “Now here's the catch. Human behaviorists believed for years that when we were happy, we smile; now they've discovered that when we smile, we become happy.”
Boone reminded the audience that health care, for both humans and animals, is an emotional event. The stress and anxiety associated with medical visits can influence the overall experience. To counteract these emotions, the speaker advocated for training teams to handle clients and patients with empathy and support. Small gestures, such as offering treats to anxious pets or taking the time to address client concerns, can significantly improve the visit's quality.
Another important takeaway shared during the presentation was the profound connection between positive patient experiences and team wellbeing. When clients and patients have enjoyable visits, healthcare professionals are less likely to encounter difficult or angry individuals. This positive environment boosts team morale and job satisfaction, leading to a more harmonious workplace and ultimately better patient care.
The COVID-19 pandemic served as an eye-opener for the loss of human connection in healthcare. With limited face-to-face interactions and increased stress, clients and healthcare professionals became disconnected. Debbie Boone urged the audience to recognize the significance of regaining this connection and rebuilding trust.
To foster meaningful connections, effective communication training and emotional intelligence are crucial. Treating both clients and staff with kindness and empathy can change a healthcare facility into a haven of positivity, benefiting everyone involved. There is a practical benefit, too, Boone said: “When we use hospitality skills, we know from human medicine there are higher client retention rates. Satisfied clients stay with the practice longer.” She added, “And creating a great experience with our clients helps us keep our teams [happy].”
Boone's presentation at AVMA 2023 brought to light the untapped potential of hospitality in the veterinary industry. By embracing this powerful mindset, healthcare professionals can create an environment that fosters positive experiences for clients and patients alike. Understanding the emotional aspect of health care and focusing on team wellbeing ultimately leads to a more harmonious and successful practice. As veterinary professionals navigate the challenges of modern healthcare, it is important to remember transformative power of genuine care, empathy, and meaningful connections in enhancing the lives of all participants in the health care journey.
Note: Debbie Boone, CVPM, is the author of Hospitality in Healthcare, which served as the inspiration for her session at AVMA 2023. Available now, Hospitality in Healthcare was made possible by educational sponsorships from CareCredit and Pets Best.
Boone D. Hospitality In Healthcare. Presented at 2023 AVMA Convention: Denver, Colorado. July 16, 2023.