Getting your mammogram can be a daunting experience, especially when the patient thinks that there may be something wrong. They wait for the exam, don a medical gown, are maneuvered onto a cold receptor plate and prepare themselves for the uncomfortable compression. What is often a life-saving process, can often feel cold, impersonal, and feed the anxiety of an already nervous patient regardless of what the technologist may do to make them feel comfortable.
With so much focus on raising patient satisfaction these days technologists are often left wondering: 'What more can I do to reduce anxiety, personalize the patient experience, and provide excellent patient care in just a 15 minute exam?'
Sometimes all it takes is a simple change.
A high-volume imaging center in New Jersey seized the opportunity to add an extra dimension to their evaluation of Bella Blankets protective coverlets by creating their own clinical trial to determine the effect the use of the protective coverlets may have on patient satisfaction and the overall mammogram experience.
601 patients were involved in the trial: 153 patients were imaged as usual on a bare receptor plate and 448 patients were imaged with the protective coverlet atop the receptor plate. Each patient was asked 15 questions regarding their patient experience.
The results demonstrated that the use of the protective coverlets helped increase overall patient satisfaction during the mammogram. Patients observed that the equipment was less chilly with the protective coverlet and they also noted that that their breasts “stuck” far less on the protective coverlet than they did on the bare receptor plate. Furthermore, there was a noticeable increase among patients who felt that this mammogram was more personal, sanitary, and better than their previous experience.
Patient comments given during the survey support the findings that this one small change made a positive impression on the women getting their mammograms at that center during their trial:
- “The new protective cover kept my body from being stuck to the cold hard plastic. Great! Please keep them.”
- “The Bella Blanket made it my best mammogram in 27 years! I’ve had mammograms, sonograms, biopsies, and without a doubt, it’s a must for ‘routiners’ like me or those for the first time. Skip the snacks, buy the blankets!”
- “Please continue to supply a Bella Blanket – made my experience so much better. I would rather that than a pen. Thank you for thinking of me.”
Without altering anything else about their protocols, equipment, culture, or decor, the imaging center was surprised to learn that something as simple and inexpensive as providing a protective coverlet during the patient’s mammogram can have a profound impact on perception of quality of care and overall satisfaction with the experience.
With Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner, what tips would you share that have improved the mammogram experience at your imaging facility?