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Healthcare leaders should embrace feedback

For doctors and healthcare leaders, accepting feedback can be a difficult task.

While some clinicians and nurses are amenable to accepting reviews of their work from their superiors, as is the norm for employees in any field, few healthcare workers are open to feedback from patients. Healthcare leaders are even less likely to embrace patient comments on their performance. 

In the New England Journal of Medicine Danielle Ofri describes receiving her own feedback "report card." She states, "Only 33% of my patients with diabetes have glycated hemoglobin levels that are at goal. Only 44% have cholesterol levels at goal. A measly 26% have blood pressure at goal. All my grades are well below my institution's targets." 

Ofri calls her numbers "abysmal" and tells readers that it's hard not to feel like a failure when the numbers don't rise over the years. However, her response to the performance report is not to strive to be a better doctor but to suggest that all healthcare workers in the industry are already doing their best to help patients. She believes that doctors and nurses are good people and when their motivations are ignored in exchange for quality measures and data, it can be demoralizing. She admits, "I don't even bother checking the results anymore."

Yet, as Kent Bottles, MD states a doctor's judgment of their own goodness or smartness isn't very reassuring for patients, particularly when considering cognitive biases like illusory superiority. Human beings are, by their very nature, prone to embellishing their abilities. In the case of healthcare workers self-deception can be a fatal mistake.

Feedback is essential for growth and improvement. Scott Kashman states on Hospital Impact that healthcare leaders and doctors should avoid getting defensive and should make a point of soliciting feedback so that they become more comfortable with reviews of their work.

Partnering with Patient Approved is a great way for facilities to receive and view real time feedback from patients who have used their services.