It is hard to believe that it has been just over eight weeks since the COVID-19 crisis truly hit global proportion. On March 13, with soaring cases in Europe, Asia in lockdown and Africa, Australia and the Americas bracing for the wave, I offered in announcing the reformatting of Patient Experience Conference 2020, “We stand together to tackle this health crisis in a way that ensures the best outcomes, the greatest of dignity and respect, and the human experience it deserves.” I know we can say with confidence that in the weeks since that time, while they feel like years, the humanity at the heart of healthcare has shown its true power and unmistakable presence.
What this time has also shown us is that with challenges, we have responded with agility and speed to innovation. We too can also see that things will not be the same for a while and most likely forever. The idea has been proposed by some that we are entering a “new normal,” and while a term easy to grasp, there is nothing “normal” about what we are facing. Normal suggests a new “typical state or condition.” But the moment in which we find ourselves now and the moments to follow will not be steady. They will rapidly evolve and dynamically shift; we will ultimately find ourselves in a New Existence. Existence is not a state, but rather a way of living and being, driven by survival and a commitment to do what is right and true.
In this New Existence much of what we espoused and worked so hard to put in place in healthcare and for the human experience before this crisis will remain essential. At the same time, this moment has revealed cracks and systemic weaknesses for healthcare globally reinforcing the forward thinking that living in a New Existence will take. More so, there are actions that a New Existence has called on us to take already, will ask of us to reinforce and sustain and to create and evolve. For this reason, guided by the voices of our community at The Beryl Institute, we are undertaking the New Existence Project.
This effort is focused on generating what we think a New Existence will look like, what it will call on us to do in practice, process and policy and what it will ask of us as people in moving healthcare forward. The process will be one in which the voices of the community shape the ideas and outcomes. It will be informed by and aligned with the Future of Human Experience 2030 (HX2030) effort currently underway with the Institute. It will be built on the input of an international steering team with validation and input via community conversations and a global survey. It will ultimately work to align disparate efforts in collecting practices and process and advocating for policy and programs that will ensure the human experience at the heart of healthcare remains strong.
Some of the most practical efforts for a New Existence are clear and already in process in various forms. In particular for healthcare, we will be called to:
- Rebuild consumer confidence and address the fears and needs of patients and families
- Recharge our workforce to address issues of stress, trauma and burnout
- Rebalance models of care where virtual care is more widely accepted and expected
- Reinstate responsible access and visitation policies that balance clinical and personal needs
- Refresh our capacity as we prepare for any resurgence of cases
And more ideas will emerge in these conversations as we get underway this week. We ask you to keep your eyes open for the opportunity to contribute soon.
I have always believed there are structural opportunities in healthcare that we have, in pieces and parts, been working to stitch together. This crisis has made those vulnerabilities real in ways that we can only say are heartbreaking. But from this tragedy, we can and will find and build on hope and possibility. That is what we intend to do as we look at a New Existence together.
Ultimately through our shared effort to co-create a New Existence, we will:
- Ensure the voices of all engaged in healthcare are heard, respected and acted on for what matters to them
- Advocate for and act to sustain practices, processes, and policies that have supported experience excellence
- Address the systemic issues that undermine our capacity to support the health and well-being of all global citizens
- Co-create a future in which new possibilities sprout from the deep roots of human experience
So, I ask you not to accept a new normal but stand for and act with us on a New Existence. Your voices, your ideas, your actions and your lessons already captured and learned will all contribute to an elevation of efforts committed to the humanity at the heart of healthcare. When we acknowledge that healthcare experience is all someone encounters from quality and safety, from service to spirituality, from billboards to billing and more, in all aspects of our care system, then we can truly walk forward together. Our shared commitment through this endeavor will ensure we do just that.
I hope you will join us on the journey.
UPDATES June 5, 2020
Listen to replay of the New Existence Community Conversation: https://www.theberylinstitute.org/page/CmmtyBriefing052920
Participate in the New Existence Global Inquiry (through June 12): https://theberylinstitute.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1B60hb7kMCrEkol
Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP
President & CEO
The Beryl Institute