You know what’s great about blogs? It gives you the space to say what you really wanted to talk about in that tweet. Earlier today, I tweeted about New York Times blog, Are Women Less Satisfied With Care Than Men? The answer, according to a Health Services Research study, is yes. The study says that women, more often than men, feel there are things left to be desired when it comes to healthcare. Satisfaction with staff responsiveness and the general hospital conditions, for instance, ranked lower with women than with men.
The starkest difference came in communication. When it came to doctor orders and prescriptions, women wanted more information, and the more ill they were, the more likely they were to be dissatisfied with the doctor-patient, nurse-patient communication. At the end of the blog, Dr. Marc N. Elliot, the study’s lead author, remarks that “Real quality improvement is not one-size-fits-all.”
People learn differently, think differently and not everyone speaks the same language when it comes to healthcare — literally. Chicago Tribune featured another study. The study found that staffing professional Spanish interpreters reduced ER pediatric misinterpretations. And we all know that when everyone is on the same page, better care follows.
But how do we get to that same page? Yes, quality improvement is not one size fits all. But as the industry seeks to improve the quality for all through new care models and healthIT, how can organizations also find the time and resources to address gender differences? Can it be done, and if so how? Should it be done at the individual level with doctors and nurses digging a little deeper into the lives of their patients? Or can hospitals and practices develop programs aimed at caring better for women? Hospitals have long offered diverse food items on their menus, especially if a particular ethnic enclave is in the area. Doctors also know to be on the alert for certain illnesses that may be more dominant in one race versus another.
How can the industry translate specialized programs such as these into serving women better? A good place to start would be asking your female patients because according to the Health Services Research study, they don’t mind a little more communication.