The 5 Cs of a Great Patient Experience


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Today is my birthday, so I’m dedicating this post to my mother, who is the reason I exist today.

Unfortunately, at 90 years old my mother had a minor accident recently. Not serious, but it was enough to put her into the hospital for a few days, and then a stint at a skilled nursing center for rehab and recovery.

A lot of amazingly talented and dedicated people helped my mother through her ordeal. From the 5-minute 911 response to comprehensive tests in the ER to skilled rehab in the nursing facility. Probably 2 dozen specialists were involved in one way or another over the past couple of weeks.

This experience gave me an up close and personal view of our health care system at work. And helped me understand what’s really important in the patient experience.

Here are the 5 Cs that really matter:

  • Cheerful – There’s really no substitute for friendly, upbeat people, especially during trying times. I don’t mean that fake “how are you today?” niceness that some companies try to train into their people. Rather, it’s a genuine attitude that’s a part of the person. You can’t train this, so you’d better hire cheerful people.
  • Competent – Of course, friendliness is not enough. Especially in healthcare, we absolutely depend on competent people who have the right training and equipment to do their job right. This you can train, if a caregiver has the aptitude.
  • Compassionate – Paraphrasing an old saying, patients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Some healthcare workers are good at conveying compassion, others just are doing their job. But I can tell you it’s immediately obvious who genuinely cares, and it matters a lot.
  • Collaborative – It seems nearly everyone is a specialist in healthcare. One meeting at the nursing center had 10 people attending, each with a specific job: physical therapy, nutritionist, nurse, etc. That makes it all the more important that these team members work together to do the best job for the patient.
  • Committed – Maybe it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway… the best patient experience must include an outcome of getting well. That means everyone on the healthcare team is committed to this outcome, not just to their assigned tasks

I have just one birthday wish this year — that my mother makes a full and complete recovery. Hats off to our healthcare workers for the job they do, despite many challenges.

In you’re in the healthcare business, I hope this perspective will give you something to think about to improve your patients’ experience.


  1. Completely agree. there are many amazing people in healthcare. their kindness and compassion is critical to the healing process. I do hope your mother is doing better!


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