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Collaboration key to driving patient experience excellence

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, November 4, 2014

One underlying and powerful philosophy has driven all the work we have done at The Beryl Institute in the last four years. It is through the collective voices comprising our global community of practice that we generate ideas, learn and share with others. Through this collaboration both within the community and with others committed to this critical cause – the patient experience movement is supported, nourished, and will continue to thrive.

I have yet to see in any environment, the ability to achieve AND sustain success without a sense of alignment, collaboration and shared purpose. Organizations intent of fostering deep-rooted silos (or simply allowing them to exist) tend to reinforce battles for scarce resources and the pulling at an organization’s seams. In a movement as delicate and important as providing the best in experience for the patients, families and communities we serve, while also caring for each other delivering care, we must work in a much different way. I do not suggest competition is bad, in that it motivates innovation, expediency and progress, but rather that we must look to collaboration as a central capacity we should search for in our own organizations and those we choose to work with as we address patient experience excellence.

We have worked hard to model and encourage this through our work at The Beryl Institute. Our efforts have worked to bring disparate voices and perspectives together, such as our "voices” paper series that even included a paper with many competing survey vendors in one publication. It has been seen in the various research we have conducted, events we have produced, learning we have developed and organizations we have worked to engage with or support.

The Patient Experience Body of Knowledge itself was developed by over 400 voices and included the engagement of central partners and experts in the experience effort such as the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC) and others. We have worked with the American Hospital Association to ensure patient advocates still had a professional home to continue expanding their rich history. We are expanding our engagement with key players in the physician practice and long-term care arenas to reinforce the fact that experience crosses the continuum of care.

From the collective voices that helped frame the very definition of patient experience, to our recognition that all voices matter on the experience conversation, we have worked to engage experience leaders and executives to front line staff, patients and families to resource providers, journalists to academic researchers. Our purpose is to not only encourage, but also model collaboration. We do this for the greater good of the movement and as an opportunity for all to consider in driving experience excellence.

If we are to continue to push the patient experience conversation forward, it will take the aligned efforts of many to frame, reinforce and progress the effort. It will take a reinforcement of the very values that have driven our work to date. You can consider the same as an opportunity in your own organization as you work towards collaborative success in impacting your patient experience efforts.

  • Ensure clarity of what it is you are trying to achieve. I maintain that definition and a clear purpose that is understood and shared by all is central to any patient experience success.
  • Find alignment in your efforts. What are the common causes you are looking to address? All too often we let competing interests shadow central needs that will benefit our organization and desired outcomes. Find points of purposeful action and move forward.
  • Actively engage all voices. Beyond simply creating the space for inclusion, is actively seeking, inviting, respecting and integrating all voices that may influence your work. There are multidimensional and broad reaching perspectives that impact experience excellence and we are best served by hearing them all.

While these values in action are fundamental to success, the most important thing we can do in addressing experience excellence is to take action itself. We must be mindful not to let the desire for or enactment of collaboration become the reason for inaction. It should and must become a means by which we all move forward on this issue together.

Collaboration in patient experience excellence is a local issue, one that must be managed by each organization striving for success. It also is a critical systemic opportunity. For in finding the strength of collaboration among organizations and ideas, we can support clarity, purpose and shared action that will ensure a strong and lasting focus on the experience of patients, residents, families and each other for many years to come. This may be healthcare’s strongest prescription for excellence. It is our job, together, to see it through.

Jason A. Wolf
President
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  collaboration  culture  engagement  healthcare  Patient Experience 

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