In my last post I talked about the importance of leveraging the AIDET system (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank You) to achieve optimal healthcare service outcomes. An important piece of the service and communication puzzle in the healthcare industry (as in many industries) is the recognition that part of the role of support services is to take care of individuals as well as facilities.
The question is, how do we make that happen? We can’t assume that teaching people once is enough—building and maintaining a culture of service is a process, not an event. Implementing AIDET, like implementing any organized framework of service and communication, requires an ongoing commitment to education and training/support that has to be built in to the system. Doing that effectively means taking it a step further.
AIDET is a great tool, but it’s all about answering the questions of what and how. To really get the message to stick, we have to educate our team on the why as well. When we can equip our employees with the rationale—when we can help them to understand the value and the importance of what they are doing—they are more dedicated (and more successful). Today, at a time when manners and civility are declining, that isn’t always easy: refocusing on service and civility is really about un-learning some of our ingrained bad habits, especially rudeness. It really gets back to “old-fashioned” ideals of decorum, manners and dignity, which can mean so much to a sick person’s recovery.
Whether it’s a kind word, or an employee going the extra mile to make sure that a patient’s room is comfortable, little things matter. But you can’t get there without a professional culture of service. And great service doesn’t just happen: you need education and training and reinforcement.