Although my entire career has been spent in Patient Experience, nothing I have learned from data, evidence-based practice, or experience-based correlations, has been near as impactful as what I learned from being a patient. This article discusses my own experiences as a patient. I ask readers to consider instances of avoidable suffering as sources of harm that negatively impact patient perceptions, erode trust in care providers and healthcare delivery systems, and create barriers to engaging patients in their care. Recognizing how avoidable suffering creates harm challenges traditional views of Patient Experience as hospitality-based “soft skills” and helps to establish patient perceptions as valid indicators of quality care.

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