An extensive ethnography study conducted by Perception Strategies in 2012 for the Cleveland Clinic is featured in the May Issue of the Harvard Business Review in an article entitled Health Care’s Service Fanatics.

Written by Dr. James Merlino, head of Cleveland Clinic’s Office of Patient Experience, and Ananth Raman, our study is described as an “anthropological examination of a nursing unit that had received some of the Clinic’s worst scores in the CMS survey.”

In this study, Perception Strategies “observed interactions between patients and employees and questioned both parties about things that happened.”  According to the article, the study proved to be beneficial in better understanding patient values.  Merlino and Raman write, “(Patients) wanted information about what was going on in their environment and about the plan of care; they wanted to be kept up-to-date even on minute activities. And they wanted better coordination of their care. When nurses and doctors did not communicate with one another, patients were left feeling that no one was taking responsibility for them.”

Our ethnography studies document every aspect of patient care through focused interviews with patients and families, and observations including patient/employee communication, patient/physician communication, family interactions, housekeeping, food service, and a wide range of environmental issues.

These studies may take days or weeks to complete, but the benefits to our clients have been far-reaching by striping away silos, miscommunication, and faulty processes, and allowing the organization to see what the patient sees (quite literally in the case of photographing the environment).  And because our findings present immediate, actionable feedback, the solutions recommended and acted upon my management will correlate directly to improved satisfaction scores.