‏‏‎ ‎


Patient experience in time of COVID-19: Case study Eye hospital Sistina Oftalmologija

Patient experience in time of COVID-19: Case of Sistina Oftalmologija

By: Dr Vesna Cado
Dec 28, 2020

At the beginning of the Covid -19 crises, in February 2020, most of the eye hospitals in N. Macedonia faced the “new reality” by closing their practices and postponing their activities until after the pandemic. On contrary, our hospital leadership decided to act differently and implemented a strategy focused on human experiences that anticipated disruption versus reacting to disruption. We chose to act and communicate early with our key communities by integrating digital, physical and social realms to maintain our credibility in creating positive experience for our patients, employees and community as a whole.

To do so, hospital launched Emergency plan based on four main tenants targeting different aspect of human experience:

  1. We are ready! -special organizational and safety protocols for medical procedures, patients and employees;
  2. 2. Stay close & safe – communication with patients through: Special Covid-19 web section, and two free of charge expert services: Emergency line for doctor’s advice; and On – line group consultation for certain types of eye problems or treatments;
  3. We can do it! – Personal and corporate gratitude and assistance for each of the employees, special section on self-care and mindfulness ;
  4. We share– showing solidarity through sharing food and clothes with socially vulnerable part of the community;

Applied innovative programs have positively contributed to building an organizational culture associated with “doing it first”, “doing it together” and “doing it right”. Hospital staff was scared but at the same time, they felt safe, courageous, and proud to be part of the medical system that steers through the crises and contributes to positive human experiences. Organizational changes through strict and urgent implementation of new safety protocols adds to their feeling of being well protected.

Through its four innovative projects implemented in the first few months of the crises, Eye hospital Sistina Ophthalmology has demonstrated how adaptive and innovative approach with main focus on human experiences can create positive experiences even in the time of unprecedented crises and ensure sustainability for the healthcare provider and community of which it is a part of. Hospital has retained the number of daily operations and respond to those in need of eye care while implementing highest level of safety protocols for all involved.


Reccomendation for tomorrow:

Positive experience of Sistina Oftalmologija in the time of Covid-19, clearly demonstrates that future managerial practice should refocus on human experiences, suggesting four main directions:

  1. Re-designing of physical environment and new healthy policies to keep the patient’s privacy. For example: further efforts and resources in developing Servicescape towards providing safe-quality care. Additional efforts should be invested in ensuring an effective regulatory environment for digital health along with official country policies and strategies to open the market for public reimbursements in digital health.
  2. Focus on the wellbeing (emotional and social) of hospital staff. For example: further efforts and resources should be invested in self-care practices for the medical staff to reduce their psychological stress levels and increase their wellbeing. Such programs should include e-coaches, such as social workers, nutritionists and others who can provide personalized guidance for the caregivers.
  3. Digital transformation of communication. It will involve several aspects, such as personal engagement tools (through mobile devices, mobile apps for monitoring and tracking and wearables); health technology (patient-centered records); as well as analytics of big data to reap the expected information benefits and assemble knowledge assets. Advanced use of certain innovative digital tools through remote monitoring will also improve mobility of patients ensuring accuracy of medical results.
  4. Following and implementing latest academic and managerial knowledge to better embrace the uncertainty of the future reality. Further academic and managerial practice and joint effort are advisable to establish further pathways to steer through the post covid era. While guidelines and protocols are considered universal, every practicing surgeon/hospital system, should adapt and modify their practice to be in line with the guidelines of their local professional medical society and governmental authorities.

Dr. Vesna Cado, is a Co-founder, Chief Experience Officer at Eye Hospital Sistina Oftalmologija, and Researcher at International University of Monaco