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The Beryl Institute invites members and guests to submit posts on patient experience related topics. For guidelines and information on submitting a post for consideration, contact michelle.garrison@theberylinstitute.org.

 

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Top tags: patient experience  healthcare  patient  Leadership  HCAHPS  patient engagement  culture  family engagement  healing  Hospital  physician  caregiver  communication  community  empathy  pediatric  person-centered care  physicians  survey  voice  collaboration  compassion  consumerism  Continuum of Care  Customer Service  employee engagement  experience  family  interactions  journey 

The Return on Investments of Empathy In Measuring Patient Experience

Posted By Dr. Avnesh Ratnanesan, Friday, March 10, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Empathy in healthcare is both a traditional concept as it is a new-age buzzword. That’s because it has never lost its importance as a legitimate element of a patient’s healing process.

Simply defined, empathy is the capacity to walk in the shoes of another. Essentially, the ability to understand, appreciate and relate to someone else’s emotions. There is more chatter in the industry now about defining, teaching, learning and measuring empathy in healthcare than there has ever been.

Making emotions a visible part of your (formal or informal) measurement validates the feelings of patients which in turn, 3promotes patient satisfaction, enhances the quality and quantity of clinical data, improves adherence and generates a more therapeutic patient-physician relationship.

Ultimately, it all links back to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) or the Friends and Family Test (FFT). A key HCAHPS question, the NPS or FFT asks the patient point-blank if they would recommend the hospital to family and friends.

There’s your ROI.

EMOTIONS AND NPS

Human emotions are core to every patient experience. At every stage of the patient journey, there is a feeling, sentiment or attitude that will, collectively, define the experience for the patient at the end of their engagement with a healthcare setting.

Hospitals are often obsessed with benchmarking against other hospitals in term of their respective performance indicators, however there is a need to first benchmark against the EXPECTATIONS of your own patient population:

  • If the experience < expectations, then you have a satisfaction deficit which leads to frustration and anger
  • If the experience > expectations, then you have a satisfaction profit which leads to delight and excitement

Frustration and anger are detractors to the patient experience. If these emotions are experienced, then you can be sure that the patient is on their way to relay their negative experiences to others or not return, or both! Feelings of delight and excitement on the other hand naturally motivate patients to ‘promote’ your healthcare setting to others.

MEASURING EMOTIONS

Measuring emotions is key part of our 6E Framework, a step-by-step guide to producing a true holistic picture of patient experience. Its measurement impacts the full spectrum of this framework:

Understanding the real patient EXPERIENCE through EMOTIONAL data ENERGISES staff in their purpose and EXECUTION of solutions. Successes are repeated to produce EXCELLENCE in delivery and organizational capability in patient experience EVOLVES.

How do you draw these emotions out of a patient so you can understand, measure and respond appropriately? Some state it boldly, some 3hide their emotions through seemingly rational questions or casually drop a comment about their emotions, to test the waters on how it would be received in the healthcare setting. Pick up on these clues, don’t ignore it or change the topic.

For the uncertain and non-forthcoming patient, surveys are a great way to get emotional data. One would imagine that a survey asking about their emotions would not only surprise them but send a clear message that there is a space in that setting to talk about emotions, that a culture exists that encourages and supports emotions.

INTELLIGENCE FROM EMOTIONAL DATA

When the clinician and non-clinician are able to recognize the emotions around a patient, it allows them to be more authentic and honest in the support given to the person (not patient).

Clinicians are able to view the person’s emotions within a more accurate context and address it in specific ways: 2

  • Learning: Where the patient is fearful because of a lack of information, there is an opportunity for staff to help educate the patient to reduce his fear
  • Empowerment: Where the patient feels helpless in the face of his health, there is an opportunity for staff to develop the patient’s sense of power over the situation through education, tools and technology
  • Self-discipline: Where the patient is frustrated over their personal management of their health, there is an opportunity for staff to help the patient develop discipline through motivation, tools and technology
  • Feelings of control: Where the patient is overwhelmed with the amount of information around their diagnosis, there is an opportunity for staff to ensure that the communication of information is at a pace and volume that the patient is comfortable with and to involve the patient’s family members or friends in managing overwhelm.

When an organization can undertake the above in a systematic way, an ‘energy’ or a vibe starts to infiltrate through the ranks. Clinicians and non-clinicians start to discover or re-discover the meaning in their roles and the organization becomes more congruent with its purpose.

What’s the vibe like where you are?

Sources:

1. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: What is it Really About?’, International Journal of Caring Sciences, Volume 1 Issue 3, Alexander Technological Education Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece http://internationaljournalofcaringsciences.org/docs/Vol1_Issue3_03_Ioannidou.pdf
2. Adapted/Inspired from information from a Chapter Abstract from Patient Emotions and Patient Education Technology:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128017371000020
3. “Let me see if I have this right...”: Words That Help Build Empathy, Coulehan JL, Platt FW, Egener B, Frankel R, Lin CT, Lown B, et al. (2001). 

Dr. Avi Ratnanesan is a medical doctor with broad healthcare sector experience including hospitals, biotech, pharmaceuticals and the wellness industry. He is a leading expert who coaches and consults to senior executives, entrepreneurs, practitioners, organizations and governments.

Tags:  emotion  empathy  expectations  experience  NPS  Patient Experience  ROI 

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The Power of Partnerships: Unifying Patients Relations and Patient Experience

Posted By Sarah Fay, MBA, Friday, March 10, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 10, 2017

We can all agree that in order to have a well-rounded view of patient experience, we cannot look solely at the information that comes back to us in our patient experience surveys – they are just one piece of a larger puzzle that make up an organization’s culture. And culture is what drives the experience…for everyone. I believe that we must look at data from several vantage points. Some of these, include: 

  • patient experience surveys
  • employee engagement surveys
  • physician engagement surveys
  • information gathered during executive and leader rounding
  • patient stories
  • key human resource metrics
  • feedback from our patient and family advisory councils
  • quality and safety data.

If we leave one vantage point out, we risk losing the complete picture. And this picture must include patient relations data as well.

I oversee patient experience for Southwest General Health Center, a long-standing 354-bed community hospital in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Last year, we merged our patient relations department with our patient experience department. Unifying these departments has not only helped me in my work – it has benefited our patients too.

The richness of the data collected by our patient representative is invaluable to developing and executing our patient experience strategy. By combining our patient relations data with our patient experience data, we have a well-rounded view of our patients’ perceptions. Trending our patient relations data is key to this.

  1. Trends helps us determine where we need to focus our efforts. The trends in concerns and complaints bring to light an area that we have an opportunity in, while the trends in compliments bring to light an area we can celebrate. When we combine these trends with our patient experience survey data, we are better able to prioritize our strategies, programs and celebrations.

  2. Trends help us pinpoint areas that need additional support. When we combine these trends with our patient experience survey data, I am able to hone in on areas, departments, units or individuals that may need specific training or one-on-one coaching. It also tells me where we need to focus our process improvement efforts. The trends in compliments show me areas, department, units or individuals that I can rely on to champion the cause. Those people can then help train and coach others.

  3. Trends help us conclude if the initiatives we have put in place on the front-end are working. Combining the patient experience survey data with the trends of both compliments and complaints, tells me if our programs and initiatives are having the intended outcomes. 

Our partnership extends beyond the data too. Our patient representative has a very unique skillset – one that I hope to transfer to the bedside through a robust service recovery program at Southwest General. With her distinctive skillset, she can help develop a program, train our staff and teach them how to embrace the skills necessary to handle concerns and complaints right at the bedside. This will shift her into a more proactive role and I believe that is the wave of the future.  

Sarah Fay, MBA, is the Director of Guest Experience at Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. She may be reached at sfay@swgeneral.com

Tags:  data  engagement  partnership  patient experience  patient relations  surveys 

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Sustaining and Embracing Our Physicians and Advanced Practice Clinicians: Conversations We Need to Have

Posted By Jeremy Blanchard, MD, MMM, CPE, FACP, FCCP and FACPE, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2017

“I was on the inside looking outside. The millions of faces, but still I’m alone… I hope we’ll be here when they’re through with us.”
- Foreigner

When I hear Foreigner sing “Long, Long Way from Home,” I am reminded of conversations I have had with my colleagues, physicians and advanced practice clinicians (APCs). The world of medicine is so dynamic and different from when I started medical school in 1987. Many of these changes are good and have great intent, but many of the ramifications threaten core value attributes of our different generations of healthcare providers: autonomy, sacred relationships with patients, complex problem solving and the joy of practicing medicine. In these conversations the providers relate not having a voice, feeling like healthcare is changing without their input, and not for the better. They feel alone and not valued.

Being a caregiver seldom, if ever, starts from the perspective of practicing medicine as a business opportunity. It starts from a place of the desire to do good. As we enter medical school bright eyed, empathic and energized, what happens to us? Or at least how is our showing of empathy and building relationships threatened or compromised?

This blog is my call for action. A call for us, leaders in healthcare and patient experience, to develop a strategy to address the following question. How can we help our physicians and APCs, seasoned and new, from multiple different generations, feel valued and recapture or sustain their joy of practice? It is paramount, because the provider being empathetic, engaged and joyful is pivotal to our family and friends’ quality of care and how they feel when receiving that care (1, 2).

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou
 

The reality of our present American healthcare model in regard to providers is reflected in these powerful statistics.

  • 54% of doctors show signs of burnout and only 40% of doctors are satisfied with their work life balance.(3)
  • For every 1 hour physicians provide direct patient care, nearly 2 additional hours are spent in activities associated with the Electronic Health Record.(4)
  • In one study 52% of medical students suffered from burnout; of those burned out, 35% admitted to unprofessional conduct related to patient care.(5)
  • 14% of Internal Medicine Residents rate life “as bad as it can be” or “somewhat bad.”(6)
  • 38% of Internal Medicine Residents had personal debts greater than $100,000 dollars (2008 monies).(6)
  • 6.3% of participating surgeons had suicidal ideations in the past 12 months.(7)

Physician burnout is real and threatening our whole healthcare system - the quality, safety and compassion of the delivery of healthcare.(8) Burnout is not just among older physicians or surgeons; it is across the whole spectrum of healthcare. In Maslach’s Burnout Inventory Manual, he states, “Burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, loss of meaning in work, feelings of ineffectiveness and a tendency to view people as objects rather than as human beings.”(9)

When considering this subject there is a complementary way of looking at it that I find valuable. In each of the above statistical bullet points there are multiple challenges accumulating to depersonalize and overwhelm the provider. But what if we were to focus on how we support these courageous and valuable members of the healthcare team? Instead of focusing on burnout, reposition ourselves and focus on developing resilience, investing in our providers to help them find their joy, recapture their personal and cultural value. The following are conversation topics I believe we need to discuss now to answer this call to action. Here are statements to serve as an agenda for generative conversations and next steps to action.

  1. Interventions for burnout need to be as multi-factorial as the causes. The etiologies of burnout for my generation of providers, compared to the millennial provider, may have the same or different root causes. Recognizing the differences in generations allows for more impactful and valuable interventions.
  2. Costs in healthcare live in silos with their relationships unrecognized or declared. A key to making this a prioritized conversation is identifying the price tag to this epidemic. The cost shifts this conversation from the doctor’s and APC’s problem to the CFO’s and CEO’s problem.
  3. We need senior leadership in health care to recognize and quantify the hidden opportunities of investing in our providers. Data shows doctors who have sustained empathy and joy provide safer care and a better patient experience. In population health models this translates to increased revenue.
  4. It is proposed with future physician shortages, APCs will have a greater impact on care delivery, healthcare revenue and patient experience; that “future” is now. We need to create systems that recognize the APC as a unique member of the healthcare team.
  5. With the changes taking place in healthcare we need to assure the new paradigm of excellent care outcomes (the quadruple aim) - enhancing patient experience, improving population health, reducing costs and improving the work life balance of those who provide care.(10)
  6. A happy physician or APC costs the institution much less in legal fees, mistakes, nurse turnover, etc. How do we help our medical culture apply the resources to address major causes of burnout and to support the development of resiliency programs?
  7. Essential to a successful navigation of our healthcare future is identifying communication as an advanced healthcare competency. It deserves the same attention as the mastery of procedural skills, knowledge base and work flow.

The time is now and the “who” is us. If we do not begin to have these conversations and change the perspective of healthcare, our “default” future is one of: not enough healthcare providers, increased healthcare costs and a loss of the “sacred” relationship between the noble men and women who care for patients. This conversation is focused on physicians, but applies to all who touch a patient’s life. Won’t you join me?

Bibliography:

  1. Lucian Leape Institute. Through the Eyes of the Workforce: Creating Joy, Meaning and Safer Health Care. Lucian Leape Institute of the National Patient Safety Foundation 2013.
  2. Beach M, Sugarman J, et al. Do Patients Treated with Dignity Report Higher Satisfaction, Adherence, and Receipt of Preventive Care? Annals of Family Medicine 2005; 3:331-8.
  3. Shanafelt T, Hasan O, et al. Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction with Work-Life Balance in Physicians and the General US Working Population Between 2011 and 2014. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2015; 90(12):1600-1613.
  4. Sinsky C, et al. Allocation of Physician Time in Ambulatory Practice: A Time and Motion Study in 4 Specialties. Annals of Internal Medicine 2016; 165(11):753-760.
  5. Dyrbye L, Massie F, et al. Relationship Between Burnout and Professional Conduct and Attitudes Among US Medical Students. Journal of the American Medical Association 2010; 304(11):1173-1180.
  6. West C, et al. Quality of Life, Burnout, Educational Debt, and Medical Knowledge Among Internal Medicine Residents. Journal of American Medical Association 2011; 306(9):952-960.
  7. Shanafelt T, Balch C, et al. Suicidal Ideation Among American Surgeons. Archives of Surgery 2011; 146(1):54-62.
  8. Shanafelt T, Balch C, et al. Burnout and Medical Errors Among American Surgeons. Annals of Surgery 2010; 251(6):995-1000.
  9. Maslach C, et al. Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual, 1996.
  10. Bodenheimer T and Sinsky C, From Triple to Quadruple Aim: Care of the Patient Requires Care of the Provider. The Annals of Family Medicine 2014; 12(6):573-576. 

 

Jeremy R. Blanchard, MD, MMM, CPE, is a Chief Medical Officer at Language of Caring. Grounded in healthcare realities and aspiring to partner with others committed to healthcare transformation, Dr. Blanchard is an expert in ensuring physician development, commitment and wholehearted engagement. A dynamic speaker, skilled facilitator and coach, he provides tailored programs for medical staff, coaches individual physicians, and partners with physician leaders to assess needs and implement physician engagement strategies.

Tags:  burnout  clinicians  communication  empathy  language  physician  words 

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Give a Better Patient Experience by Introducing the Care Team

Posted By Julie A. Snow, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2017

As a patient, it can be uncomfortable and overwhelming to stay in a lonely hospital room with a seemingly neverending stream of unfamiliar faces coming and going throughout all hours of the day and night.

Hospitals can do a lot to improve the patient experience. One simple, yet surprisingly effective way to do so is by simply taking the time to introduce the patient to his or her care team professionals. This one act can improve a patient’s familiarity with their care team members, enhance their awareness of what to expect from each member and increase their confidence in the care that is being provided. When these things happen, the doctors, nurses and other hospital staff can also feel more connected with and more committed to providing the best care possible.

With both patients and providers quickly establishing a relationship with each other, patient satisfaction with their overall hospital experience can improve drastically while hospital staff feels more fulfilled in their work. It becomes a win-win situation.

Improve Patient Familiarity with Care Team Members

A team-based approach to patient care is widely used by hospitals. This is to ensure the best care possible for each patient. When the team is optimized by being composed of staff members who are working to the highest level of their expertise and abilities, the following can be accomplished:

  • Patients gain enhanced access to a team of experienced professionals
  • Patients are more satisfied with their stay
  • Care will see improved levels of quality, reliability, and safety
  • Hospital costs will reduce

If there is a downside to using a whole team of rotating professionals, it’s that the patient may not be given much of a chance to establish a relationship with each team member. This delays or reduces the chance for trust to be built. However, by keeping patients regularly updated on not only the name of their care provider but also their photo, title, and qualifications, it is easier to build a higher level of trust in a shorter amount of time.

Increase Patient Trust and Confidence

So what happens when patients are more familiar with the background, qualifications and certifications of each team member who is responsible for their care? Patients feel more comfortable in the hospital environment and even the confidence in themselves and their ability to heal is increased.

With this newfound trust and confidence, patients can become more empowered to voice their concerns, ask questions regarding their care plan or prescriptions and accept the advice of experts. After a patient leaves the hospital, they will be more likely to follow their doctor’s instructions and seek needed follow-up care.

A New Way for Introductions

A nurse can write his or her name on a whiteboard hung up on a patient’s wall, but now there is a better, more engaging way to make introductions. Hospitals are introducing their patients to care team members via an in-room television or even a digital whiteboard displayed on a personal tablet. This method has proven effective since the updates happen automatically, in real time, and patients are familiar with the format.

Easy access to information and enhancing patient awareness both play a big part in the encouragement of patients to open a consistent dialog with their care provider. A simple conversation can make all the difference in the health and wellness of a patient.

Patients are determined, more than ever before, to be fully engaged and educated in their own health care. By giving them the opportunity to be proactive when interacting with their care team, you are also giving them the opportunity to be more fully satisfied with their overall hospital experience.

 

Julie A. Snow is a health researcher and writer who has worked together with Sonifi Health to improve patient experience. When she isn’t working or mothering, you’ll usually find her in an Ashtanga Yoga arm balance or eating (sometimes both at the same time).

Tags:  Interactions  introduction  patient access  patient engagement  relationship  team  technology 

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The Patient Experience as the Ethos of Nursing

Posted By Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D., Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The key to the optimal patient experience is sustainably grounded in the ethos and practice of nursing.

From Florence Nightingale: “I use the word nursing for want of a better. It has been limited to signify little more than the administration of medicines and the application of poultices. It ought to signify the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet, and the proper selection and administration of diet -- all at the least expense of vital power to the patient.”

To nurse someone to health makes us think of specifics images of caring, as well as any number of tasks and responsibilities. The professional nurse, however, does so much more with skill, knowledge, and in-depth commitment. 

When Nightingale wrote this, she was writing a job description of one person. However, in current healthcare organizations many of these tasks wind up being handed to environmental services, housekeeping, and dietary services. Further, a nurse aid or CNA might also take over bathing patients and providing blankets.  

Yet, there is higher risk with the nurse not doing the bathing and not observing patients except at medication time. Nightingale often wrote about how a patient would perk up when the nurse walked into the room, but such a burst of energy was for performance or out of pride. A skilled and trained nurse would see past this to actually understand what was happening with the patient.

The result is that, for patients, many people are involved in their care, with the nurse administering medications and performing a variety of clinical tasks. What’s more, nurses do all the work of tending to medical needs according to what physicians request and, as well, what they see.  

For patients, each person that enters their room performing any of these roles carries the mantel of nursing. Because of this, it is common for patients or family members to ask whichever staff person is in the room about the next pain medication, meal, or any number of other things. 

If you ask patients who is the most important to their recovery, they will tell you it’s the physician and the nurse. They tolerate the system that sends in surrogates, but become frustrated with the inconsistency in quality and authority.

Where is Nursing Located in the Patient Experience?

Nurses have not yet been called to, called for, referenced, or sought out to lead us into a more humane model of care that has been codified in each nurse from the day they decided to go to nursing school. The patient experience is a nursing tradition of compassion and respect for the personhood of the patient. It is inseparable from what nursing is. 

Further, a subculture of nursing has formed without acknowledging its dilution of the patient experience/caregiver relationship. Patients now have one person to tend to taking their vital signs, another to respond to all their non-clinical needs, another to feed them, another to bathe them, and still another to get the “real” nurse. 

Each one of these individuals knows a piece of the patient only to the degree their position allows. The rigorous call to service that is the nurse, the attention to every detail that holds the clue to the patient’s pain and suffering is not part of this subculture. In fact, the tasks that a CNA or nurse aide performs are done with minimal understanding of what human caring is.  While they are considered non-professional assistants, to patients these individuals are in their room to care for them. And to do so with the highest regard for the patient and family.

In service to patients, the cohesive practice of caring should be consistent in all those who take on even a small piece of the total responsibility. Everyone, then, who enters into the domain of the patient is a nurse in the sense, as Nightingale expressed, that the health of the patient has been entrusted to them. Anything less is unsafe and inappropriate to the healing relationship and integrity of care.

Nightingale wrote that the task of the nurse is to make sure that her patient is cared for exactly as she would if she is not there, for any reason at all. 

She wrote, “Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head (not, how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing to be always done?” 

And Then Came HCAHPS

The HCAHPS survey makes visible what Nightingale acknowledged 150 years ago and is the mandate of Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. 

HCAHPS surveys begin with questions about physicians and nurses speaking to the patient with respect. Nightingale wrote this about how to speak to a patient:

“Always sit within the patient's view, so that when you speak to him he has not painfully to turn his head round in order to look at you. Everybody involuntarily looks at the person speaking. If you make this act a wearisome one on the part of the patient you are doing him harm. So also if by continuing to stand you make him continuously raise his eyes to see you. Be as motionless as possible, and never gesticulate in speaking to the sick.”

Respect has many meanings, each unique to the individual and the situation. However, holding the patient in the highest regard was a founding tenet for the Nightingale nurse. She wrote about how not to strain the patient, how to acknowledge by one’s actions that the patient’s comfort was primary to the conversation.  At that time, and even today, this is a demonstration of respect.

Many nurses have no idea what HCAHPS is other than memorandums coming from others.  They are removed from the other side of HCAHPS because the ethos of their practice disavows disrespect for the patient, for the family, and for each other. And, what HCAHPS measures is already within their professional mission and practice.

As we continue to move into greater depth of our understanding what the patient experience is for the patient, those who care at the bedside must be acknowledged and supported. The key to the optimal patient experience is, again, in the ethos and practice of nursing. It is in the mission of caring merged with skill and knowledge that is in the core of each nurse that we will find answers to how to respect and heal patients into wholeness.

 

Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. is the President and CEO of Healing HealthCare Systems®, Inc., which produces The C.A.R.E. Channel. In her work in healthcare, she has authored and facilitated educational training for nurses and physicians. Dr. Mazer has published articles in numerous national publications and is a frequent speaker at healthcare industry conferences. She writes about the patient experience in her weekly blog and is also a contributing blogger to the Huffington Post’s "Power of Humanity" editorial platform, dedicated to infusing more compassion into healthcare and our daily lives.

Tags:  compassion  HCAHPS  healing  heart of healthcare  nurses  patient care  serve  tradition  wholeness 

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Understanding Patient Experience through My Recovery Process

Posted By David Festenstein, Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I embarked on my patient experience journey when I suffered a stroke in 2008 that left me paralyzed on my right side and unable to walk. During this time, I used a lot of my communication expertise to help deal with the event and then subsequently to support and drive my recovery process.

The extensive diary and journal I kept during my recovery process helped me identify seven distinct steps of a recovery model. In hopes to educate other patients, especially at the beginning of a stroke, these steps provide hope to those who have struggled, or are struggling, to engage with their rehabilitation process. In addition, these steps to recovery also can help health professionals better understand what the recovery process looks like through a patient’s eyes as well as reflecting upon their own strategies to improve the overall process.

In reviewing your patient resources, consider the following:

  • How can you tap into great patient recoveries across all health disciplines and give those strategies to other patients to make their recoveries far easier? 
  • Can you identify health professionals within your organization who have wonderful empathy with their patients and outstanding patient engagement skills? 
  • Are you using the power of journaling for both your patients and health professionals?

I encourage you to join me in an upcoming webinar from the Institute on January 17th at 2pm ET where I will further discuss the distinct steps to recovery and focus on what engaging patients really mean.

David Festenstein, Communication Specialist, Coach and Professional Speaker, is committed to sharing his patient experience story and his 7 steps of a recovery model at workshops, trainings and coaching health professionals across the world. Learn more about making the most of your patient resources in one of his vlog’s here.

Tags:  global healthcare  patient education  patient engagement  patient stories  personal experience  recovery  resources  storytelling  stroke 

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Why Your Hospital is Competing with the Apple Store

Posted By Julian Hutton , Monday, January 9, 2017

At a recent patient experience leadership forum, the question was posed “Who is your competition?” Predictably the initial discussion revolved around the merits and reputations of other local or specialist hospitals and how their patient experience was judged to compare. But who else is the patient comparing your hospital to when they give a verdict on the service they have received? What other experiences form the benchmark when evaluating how highly they should rate their hospital experience?

The United States is now a service economy in which we are spoilt for choice on which stores, malls, restaurants, supermarkets, automobiles, hotels and electronics to spend our time and money. As products and services, at all levels of cost and quality, have proliferated, one of the major differentiators has become the customer service experience both at point of sale and for as long as we own the product. Although it is an investment, training staff in the skills to make customers feel valued and respected is a great deal more cost effective than slashing prices. It also has swift return with minimal impact to the bottom line and, if you get it right, earns you enduring customer loyalty. When you buy a $4 Big Mac, you can be fairly certain that somebody will greet you (occasionally with a smile), ask what they can do for you, take your order and deliver the right product. From that standard, the bar for customer service keeps getting higher – for less than $100 a night, a limited service hotel receptionist will welcome you warmly, inquire as to how your journey was, efficiently check you in and show you to a room with clean sheets and small, tastefully designed, bottles of gold, frankincense, and myrrh in the bathroom. (Coming soon to a chain hotel near you.)

When you go into an Apple store, you’ll be greeted by somebody who seems genuinely pleased to see you. They are friendly and professional. They give every impression of being sincerely interested in helping you. They listen attentively, they make sure they have understood what you have told them, and they then tell you who is going to be helping you. They introduce that person and hand off to them by repeating what you have said to them and inquiring if, before they go, there is anything else that they can do for you. During your whole experience with Apple, whether you are buying something, or getting help with an existing Apple product you already own, you are kept informed of the process, how long it is estimated to take, what is going on behind the scenes that you may not know about and when the person helping you will be back. At every stage, there is a handover from one person to the next. If the person helping you needs to go somewhere and you are by yourself, it is only a matter of minutes before an Apple employee asks you if you are being helped and if there is anything they can do for you. You are never left wondering if anyone has forgotten you or what is going on. And however intractable your issue is, you are never made to feel you are being a burden.

Can hospitals ever operate as smoothly as an Apple store? No. But can hospitals learn from the kind of customer service culture that companies like Apple have trained their staff on? That has set them apart from their competition, earned the loyalty of their customers and set a standard of customer experience that other services are judged by? Fairly or unfairly, hospitals are being judged by patients on the constantly improving standards set by the service culture they experience in their everyday lives.

Julian Hutton studied leadership at Britain’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was an officer in the Scots Guards. From there he went into the hotel and hospitality industry, working all over the world for some of the industry’s best known names. For the last 10 years, he has been increasingly involved in developing leadership and hospitality service training programs providing the highest standards of guest and patient experience.

Tags:  competition  customer experience  Customer Service  Hospitality  Leadership  service excellence 

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Interactive Patient Technologies Reshaping the Healthcare

Posted By Natalie Miller, RN, Friday, December 9, 2016

Call it the rise of “patient power.” As value-based care takes hold, healthcare organizations are intensifying their focus on patient satisfaction and engagement in unprecedented ways. And technology is leading the way.

Many hospitals are embracing interactive patient technologies (IPT) as part of their broader IT platform. Providers are using televisions, mobile devices and other communication channels to strengthen patient engagement, education and overall satisfaction. Patients can view daily menus, access information about their condition and even interact remotely with their physician or family members—all from the comfort of their hospital room.

It’s a transformation driven by the shift in healthcare payment models from volume to value. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) forged the link between reimbursement and patient experience. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) followed suit by enacting policies that offer financial bonuses or levy penalties on providers based on quality and patient satisfaction.

According to an American College of Healthcare Executives survey, patient satisfaction is one of the top five concerns cited by hospital CEOs. IPT are fast-becoming a tool health care leaders use to improve communication and share information with patients. Providers are also using IPT to educate patients about their medical conditions, provide instructions to better manage their conditions and offer resources to help patients maintain their health.

Shifting focus to patient satisfaction already is a big part of some health systems’ culture. According to a The Beryl Institute's 2015 Benchmarking Study, healthcare organizations employing a patient experience staff of three or more jumped from 35 percent to 50 percent in two years.

Technology, including IPT, are part of the next phase of patient satisfaction improvement. IPT are making their way into the rooms of both large and small health care institutions across the nation. Click here to download the Optum white paper, “How interactive patient technologies are transforming the care experience.”

Natalie Miller, RN, Clinical Solutions Director, Patient Experience at Optum, has 10+ years of healthcare IT experience. Natalie is a member of The Beryl Institute’s Resource Advisory Council and is an active participant in the Institute’s Patient Advocacy Community. She also is a member of Women in Technology (WIT) in Georgia.

Tags:  hospital of the future  interactive patient room  Interactive patient technologies  IPT  patient consumerism  patient experience and satisfaction  reinventing the patient experience  value-based payment models 

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How We Are Bringing the Voices of Patient and Family Advisors Together

Posted By David Andrews, Shari Berman, Erika Holliday, Barbara Lewis and Zal Press, Monday, November 28, 2016

The Beryl Institute Global Patient and Family Advisory Council consists of 15 people from around the world who come together to provide advice on the strategic and tactical direction of The Beryl Institute. Our role is to ensure that the voices of patients and families are central to the focus and decisions taken by the Institute.

Our members are people with chronic conditions, survivors, caregivers and family members whose collective purpose in our work is to use our experience as the guide to system and care delivery transformation.

While reflecting on our experience as members of The Beryl Institute community, it became evident that most patient and family advisors (PFAs) are working in relative isolation in their own organizations. Our council initiated an effort to begin the creation of a patient led and patient driven community within The Beryl Institute.  This community will recognize the value of PFAs, honor their work and provide a platform where we share information, resources, education, stories, successes and failures, and through which we can have greater influence.

In the past year, we have focused on the necessary building blocks for a community with PFAs as peer members with access to all the robust offerings and resources of the Institute.  The goal is to enable and empower, to build capacity and ability, and to maximize the opportunity of all PFAs to have the kind of impact that will catalyze the change necessary to improve the patient experience in care delivery and design, policy discussions, and research and development.

This has now brought us to the starting point for building our worldwide community that brings people from around the globe together in common purpose.

To that end, we have developed a three-step plan to build that community:

  • Phase 1: Gather – We are reaching out to all engaged in The Beryl Institute community to identify PFAs within their institutions. We want to know who they are, where they are, what their roles are and how to best communicate with them.
  • Phase 2: Inquire – We are committed to co-creation of a PFA Community movement. To achieve this, we will ask members what they want and need that will help improve the patient experience.
  • Phase 3: Build – Based on what we discover, we will build the connections, resources and information the community has identified to build a working network with greater power to influence.

To start on Phase 1, we have a short survey (see link below). Please share widely. The patient and family voice is critical to what we all do. Increasing the impact of PFAs will reinforce their value and enhance the benefit not only to the individual organizations but to the entire patient experience movement. By creating this network PFAs will have the opportunity to be influential partners in the improvement of the patient experience.

Complete and share our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PFA_Community


The authors are members of The Beryl Institute Global Patient and Family Advisory Council and form the steering committee for the development of the Patient and Family Advisor Community.

Tags:  community  connection  global  inquiry  networking  patient and family advisor  patient and family advisory council  PFA 

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3 Ways to Engage Patients Between Visits

Posted By Fred Altimont, Monday, November 21, 2016
Updated: Monday, November 21, 2016

Quality and cost. Two of the most important elements of the healthcare industry today, and key ingredients driving the shift from volume- to value-based care. Providers face tremendous pressure to deliver higher-quality care at a lower cost, and engaging patients in their own care can help on both of these fronts. On top of better health outcomes, engaged patients also typically report higher satisfaction levels.

The problem? Many patients’ interactions with their doctors are limited to the 10-minute in-person visit. Patients can often feel rushed and forget the questions they wanted to ask, and don’t have the time to process new information, leading to frustration. The patients return home, only to feel they’ve lost access to the personalized care and support of an in-person visit.

So, how can providers engage their patients between visits? There are a few ways technology can help bridge this gap.

Remote Monitoring

The proliferation of wearables and mobile devices means we are now more connected than ever before. Patients can monitor and report activity levels, symptoms, and even vital signs today from the comfort of their own homes. When shared with doctors, this data can not only empower patients to self-manage their care, but also inform clinical teams, creating a more productive in-person visit. Data overload for the physician is easily avoidable by setting mutually-aligned goals with the patient. The patient monitors his or her vital sign ranges, and the physician is only alerted when a vital falls outside that range.

Education

Often, a large portion of the office visit is spent educating patients about conditions and treatments. But when the patient only has a short, fixed amount of time with the doctor, retaining instructions or other information can be hard to do. What if that same education could be delivered virtually, though, freeing up more time with the patient to answer questions and have other discussion? For instance, a digital health program could educate patients about how to manage their allergies during the approaching pollen season, or teach them how to properly use an inhaler.

Communication

As simple as it sounds, a quick note to a patient between visits can improve patient engagement. In fact, a recent study from the International Journal for Quality in Health Care found that secure messaging “appears to be associated with higher quality diabetes care, particularly among at-risk populations.” By feeling more connected to care teams, patients often report higher satisfaction levels and may be more engaged in self-managing their conditions. The use of video can also propel the connected relationship for the patient. In seeing a provider’s face, patients can develop a deeper bond with the entire care team.

The in-person doctor visit holds a valuable place in the care continuum and cannot - and should not - be fully replaced. The relationships and trust built during face-to-face time are crucial in caring for patients in their health journey. With the right tools, however, these visits can be supplemented to facilitate even more trust and compassion, while delivering healthier outcomes. We’re committed to bridging this gap to improve patients’ lives and look forward to driving innovation in this area.

 

Fred Altimont is executive vice president at ViiMed, a digital health company that delivers customers’ care plans for acute, chronic, and episodic conditions through cloud-based software.

Tags:  cost  mobile devices  patient engagement  quality  technology  trust  wearables 

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