all the predictions of new healthcare trends and the expanding requirements
being placed on healthcare providers, one thing holds true – at the center of
all these efforts and initiatives lies the patient. This is not
patient-centeredness in the traditional sense of simply the care setting, but
it is now clear that whether you are ready or not, the patient has taken center
stage in our healthcare system.
some, the patient experience was the fundamental driver of their efforts well
before any requirements were raised; providing the greatest service and highest
quality outcomes for the patients and families served at every touch point.
Others have found new initiative in addressing patient experience with
expanding financial implications. Yet many still struggle with where to focus,
what to do or even if to act.
harsh reality is that as of today over two-thirds of the initial performance
period for Value-Based
is now in the books. With a closing date of March 31, 2012 and then the reality
that reimbursements will be impacted just six months later, this is not the
time to get stuck in a state of confusion. If you are not already moving, you
still have time to act.
have been asked by many healthcare leaders for the secret to the "best” patient
experience. And while I will be the first to say I do not believe there is one
specific formula that leads to patient experience success, I have offered a few
considerations. In my recent blog with
Hospital Impact, I reiterated the importance of four central strategies:
A clear organizational definition for patient experience.
A focused role to support patient experience
A recognition that patient experience is more than just a survey.
A commitment at the highest levels of leadership.
suggestions are not complicated initiatives, but rather they should be a simple
every instance of high performance in patient experience what I observed above
all else is that willingness to make a choice. For some it was a broad strategic
effort where patient satisfaction was a key measure in performance compensation.
For others it was finding that one area where they could begin to move the
needle – creating a more quiet and relaxing environment, rounding with
intention and empathy to ensure a patient and their family felt attended to, or
simply communicating consistently that they were taking every action possible
to ensure their patient’s pain was managed. I have suggested and will reassert
here that excellence in patient experience emerges in the ability to balance
its need to be a strategic imperative with clear measurable, tangible, and yes tactical
Most importantly, as my grandfather so wisely
shared with me years ago, the more complicated we choose to make things, the
more difficult they seem to accomplish. Patient experience is a critical issue,
with increasing demands and pressures intertwined with a passion for care and
an understanding that it is the right thing to do. This does not mean we need
to make it bigger than we can handle. Or even that we need be discouraged if we
have finally been able to make it a priority after others may seem "so far
ahead”. The reality is that whenever and wherever you start is the right time
and place if the intention is right and true. Now you have the choice, one as
simple as committing to take that first step. My hope is that each of us, in
every healthcare setting, has resolved to do something to improve the patient
experience in 2012.
Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D.
The Beryl Institute