The idea that healthcare is, at its core, about human beings caring for human beings is not a new or surprising notion, but the foundations of this concept seem more relevant today for all the challenges we in healthcare, and now in many ways those beyond, are working to overcome. As we look to where the experience movement has come from to where it is rapidly moving, we find it is grounded in the fundamentals of all that is right and good at the core of our humanity. The patient experience in healthcare is ultimately the human experience. It is encountered in every healthcare interaction and impacts and is affected by not just those receiving care, but by all engaged in ensuring it is delivered with the utmost in quality, safety and service.
I have watched the recent events taking place both in the United States and around the world with both great curiosity and some concern. The first words used to define patient experience – the sum of all interactions – may be no more important now as we work to not only be cognizant of the interactions we each have, but also to reinforce the power that exists in ensuring positive interactions are at the core of all we do. These interactions, as the definition continues, are shaped by the very culture we create and espouse in the organizations and systems we build and sustain. And this culture must be grounded in the values we hold true in guiding our decisions and framing our actions.
It seemed now was an appropriate and important time to reinforce and reaffirm the core values we introduced in late 2015 that have been central to our work at The Beryl Institute. We have also continued to find these values implicitly at work in the many organizations striving to achieve experience excellence overall. With all that is pushing and pulling at us in recent days, as people ponder the future of healthcare policy and practice and as we consider the broader implications on human connectivity, it seemed time to reiterate both our commitment to these values, as well as call on all committed to this work, and to the greater human experience, to reflect on what these ideas truly mean. I list our values below with my thoughts on their importance today:
- ACCESSIBILITY. I have always believed in a focus on experience as in life we have a great opportunity with a mindset of abundance. Accessibility is about fairness and equity, about providing opportunity and the ability to connect to information and people, and to do so in a way that removes barriers to and actively encourages engagement and a free exchange of ideas.
- AGILITY. In a world that is no longer measured by years or even months, but rather pushed on one side by rapid increases in technology and on the other by ceaseless waves of information, people and the organizations they comprise must be anything but static in thought, process or action. It is no longer about readiness to change, but the ability to be changing always, while ensuring consistency to your commitments and desired outcomes.
- INNOVATION. The same pressures that call for our agility require we no longer look backward for how things can, have or should be done. In listening, exploring, doing and being willing to fail we push the very boundaries that could otherwise restrain our ability to move with (and if intentional in our efforts, lead) the very changes we need.
- INCLUSIVITY. This idea at the heart of experience may be no more critical than today. From all voices matter in patient experience to underlining all voices matter, perspectives have value, diversity adds flavor and difference catalyzes opportunities for even greater outcomes. We cannot and must not let fear or worse, lack of understanding, cause us to shrink from one another when it is the very interactions we create, engage in and encourage that will remain fundamental to the human experience. On this we must remain steadfast.
- COLLABORATION. At the roots of the Institute itself was the belief that if we are willing to share our ideas openly, without hesitation, we would reap greater returns than we could working alone in the dark. This idea of connection has been essential to our own growth and exemplifies a great opportunity we still have overall. If we all believe we are here for an ultimate goal, be it experience excellence, or something greater, it calls on us to find the bridges that lead us to connection and opportunity, not the chasms that seed distinctions, misunderstanding and missed possibility.
We are at an exciting time in the experience movement. I believe we are entering an experience era that reinforces all that is good about what each and every one of you strive to do each day in working to personally heal and/or provide healing for others. In each of our personal journeys is a great opportunity to travel this path with not only an understanding of ourselves, but perhaps more so with an unwavering commitment to others. In reaffirming the values we hold true to patient experience, we are making a statement about all we believe is right and good as human beings caring for human beings around the world. That must remain our cause.
Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., CPXP
The Beryl Institute