Speaker Interview

Dr. Samer Ellahham, Cleveland Clinic Care Giver, Regional Chair – Middle East Patient Safety Movement Foundation

Q-1)What are the challenges you face in implementing healthcare quality programmes? How does patient experience data impact quality improvement in healthcare settings?


There are several challenges in general to implement healthcare quality that can be addressed by assessing organization readiness for change, accepting that there an area that needs improvement, identifying a solution, monitoring through data collection, setting reasonable goals, establishing a culture of learning organization, encouraging staff engagement, establishing leadership support and securing sustainability.

There is evidence that more positive experiences of healthcare can have tangible benefits for patients, which in turn helps to reduce the burden on overstretched services. Patient experience data play a role in accountability, transparency and patient choice in health provision and a role in identifying areas in need of improvement.

Q-2) What do you think is the key to successful implementation of patient safety tools? How would this impact patient experience in an organisation?

Culture, communication, change management, medication system steps, medical errors and prevention tools, electronic medical records, identifying quality improvement, calculating the resources required, generating a business case with an adequate ROI.

There is ample evidence that there is consistent positive associations between patient experience, patient safety and clinical effectiveness for a wide range of disease areas, settings, outcome measures and study designs. There is positive associations between patient experience and self-rated and objectively measured health outcomes; adherence to recommended clinical practice and medication; preventive care and resource use (such as hospitalisation, length of stay and primary-care visits). There is some evidence of positive associations between patient experience and measures of the technical quality of care and adverse events. Patient experience is positively associated with clinical effectiveness and patient safety. This supports the case for the inclusion of patient experience as one of the central pillars of quality in healthcare. We should avoid looking at patient experience as too subjective and unrelated to safety and effectiveness measures.

Q-3) Please tell us about the importance of patient involvement in patient safety interventions and what are the challenges and opportunities this presents for healthcare in the region?

Patient engagement as a patient safety strategy is recommended by numerous groups, and consequently it should be embedded in policy. The literature suggest patients are likely to internalize messages around patient safety when they are framed in a direct manner (e.g., “your safety”), and when specific, actionable terms are provided and reinforced. Additionally, patients acknowledge their role in sharing responsibility for their safety when they are able and willing to do so.

In your experience, what’s the most important aspect of optimal patient experience that most organizations overlook or mishandle?

Health care organizations tend to focus on the patient-to-clinician interaction and forget about the key “in-between” entities that can impact a patient’s time in the organization. Everyone from call center, parking, security, registration to transport to care team to discharge is part of the patient’s overall experience, but when considering process improvements, organizations often overlook these areas. It is truly important that organizations actively recognize that a patient’s entire opinion of his or her stay can be affected by just one poor interaction.