Yesterday I thought a lot of patient experience vs patient satisfaction and I felt I was going in circles – round and round and round. Made me dizzy! Today, I come to think of it again… The thing is, I think I got it… Funny enough, it was my dysfunctional marriage (2017) that gave me the final clue.
Early in life many of us learn to lower our expectations in an attempt to reduce the chances of getting disappointed, right? It’s kind of a life hack – to go around with not too high expectations and then when you least expect it to happen, it surprises you, and – voilà! – suddenly you’re extremely happy and satisfied. Just because you had no expectations and this experience was more then you expected 🙂 If you for example have high hopes and expectations on your marriage and believe it’s going to be like in the romantic comedy films, then you (sadly) probably going to experience something else and be terribly disappointed.
Consider these two scenarios:
- The patient is an anxious younger woman and she expect the colonoscopy to be painful and embarrassing and in the end it turns out to be quite “OK” since the sedation made the pain go away and also added a bit of amnesia. Given those circumstances, we can suspect the experience of the colonoscopy in this case to be over expectations and a pretty “good” experience. We have a satisfied patient.
- The patient hasn’t heard anything negative about colonoscopy and has a strong believe in the health care system. There will be no need for sedation since the patient is a calm elder male. Under the procedure, at the end of it, he gets nausea and hypotension due to visceral pain. It all goes away in 2-3 minutes but the patient ends up with a feeling of betray and loss of control. This patients experience was not align with the expectations and it ended up with an unsatisfied patient.
The conclusion: The satisfaction is closely connected with the expectations of the experience. Research on satisfaction much include both expectations and experiences meanwhile research on experiences can “stand alone”. Regarding my choice, the focus must be on the experience instead of satisfaction!
You made it clear to me, Stefan. Thank you for marrying me 16 (long) years ago!
My dysfunctional marriage (ongoing) Real life marriage. Yours 4ever and ever… and ever, until death do us part, Sweden.