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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Patient Experience

For anyone who has read articles about the negative aspects of patient experience and satisfaction, such as The Atlantic piece The Problem With Satisfied Patients or the op-ed Death by Patient Experience in the ER, embracing patient experience may seem absurd. As medicine has slowly evolved from paternalism to mutual autonomy or shared-decision making, more and more feel that the pendulum has swung too far. They fear that healthcare now too closely resembles a service industry. Patient experience or “satisfaction” is interpreted to mean “the customer is always right”. You may have heard Burger King’s slogan of “Have It Your Way” (or “You Can’t Have It Your Way”) thrown around jokingly. Having read the aforementioned articles, one would be forgiven for assuming that patient experience efforts will result in mutually assured destruction: poor care for patients and high levels of burn-out for physicians.

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