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The True Power of Community – Celebrating our 10th Anniversary

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP, Monday, September 14, 2020
Updated: Thursday, September 10, 2020

Grounded in a shared and lived experience, co-created by a global community of voices who lead, live and innovate experience every day; those ideas represent the seeds from where every positive healthcare experience should spring. Those ideas are the foundation on which this community was born.

Ten years ago today, September 14, The Beryl Institute community opened its doors as a global community of practice and formal membership community. The first member joined that morning. He was from India. With that single commitment, the dreams and the possibilities of many, rooted in the idea that we could create a space for learning, collaboration and connection that could change the face of healthcare, were realized.

In reflecting on the ten years since that moment, there is one constant that I see and have seen in every encounter with our members – a true generosity; a sense of something bigger than one’s self; a commitment that in healthcare we are called to something beyond just the task. We are rooted in purpose and called to serve. This sense of connection, and yes, this sense of family, has served as the catalyst for the Institute’s growth over these years, from a possibility to an active global voice for what is possible in healthcare committed to ensuring an unwavering commitment to the human experience.

From the start, in defining patient experience as something more than satisfaction or survey scores, as the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care, we recognized the broad, complex and exciting opportunity a conversation on experience and a commitment to action would bring to healthcare. We have worked diligently every day, inspired by that definition built from the voices of this community, to ensure that we recognize every interaction matters, the type of organizations we build and how we lead matters, that every touchpoint across the continuum matters and the ultimate measure of our success is found in the perceptions of patients, family members and care partners. This idea remains the backbone of our work.

From framing a globally accepted definition of patient experience to supporting small grants that have catalyzed lessons on improvement at the point of care, from building a comprehensive PX Body of Knowledge through the contributions of over 1000 community voices to expanding evidence via Patient Experience Journal, which is accessed 16,000 times a month in over 200 countries and territories, the growing story of the experience movement is not just The Beryl Institute’s story, it is our shared story.

Our history over this decade has been one of raising the conversation through research, such as the State of Patient Experience studies, a comprehensive library of white papers, to our most recent addition, PX Pulse; all this work has come from this community. We have never claimed to be the experts dictating how to tackle your work or what model to use from some isolated office you never see. Rather, we have worked in every moment to foster a vibrant, living network, sparked from the expertise of all who have committed to the experience conversation. While we have been able to hold the space for and catalyze the opportunity to contribute, this decade represents a powerful and moving tapestry of possibility and hope, practice and process that when woven together reflects the true essence of who we are, and more so who we are together – community.

I often share the quote from Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” For in those words, she captured what we have been able to achieve. While we celebrate ten years of the Institute, it is not about the Institute at all. What we have achieved has been because you, a collection of diverse, dispersed, passionate and committed human beings, who have remained committed to the idea that the experience people have in healthcare – for both those delivering and receiving care – matters. It is personal; we can feel it, and we can impact it in profoundly positive ways.

This journey of a decade of “doing much together,” helped lead to where we find ourselves today. I have been fortunate to travel the world to be with so many of you, to stand on almost every continent in service to our community. To see the efforts of experience excellence from Latin and South America to Asia, Europe and the Middle East to Australia, Africa to North America, one fundamental I continue to share is that no matter where I stand, when I ask the question “how many people here are human beings,” all hands stand tall. The humanity is palpable. That humanity is more critical now than ever before.

And now, just over a year after introducing a robust Experience Framework, reinforcing a comprehensive view of experience grounded in eight strategic lenses, we find ourself in a once in a lifetime moment trying to create a sense of consistency in the face of crisis, to sip life from exhaustion, to find hope in the deepest moments of sorrow. That too is our reality; that too is part of our journey; and how this community has chosen to reach out, connect and rise may be the most moving and satisfying moment I have experienced in our journey together. As we rapidly moved to elevate our strengths as a virtual community, noting “we were built for this,”  we realized we could not waiver in our focus or commitment to all we have done together.

Our community voices shaped the Future of Human Experience  just months ago as a call to action for the next decade and now is guiding an exploration of what New Existence must look like in action as we traverse our current health crisis and beyond. This work reflects all that has been true about how we have come together over that last ten years. In a moment that could stop us, to borrow from the great Maya Angelou, we rise. And rise we will as we look to what is next. So, as you review and reflect on our history, know it reflects the elegant foundation for the future we together helped lay.

Coretta Scott King once said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” I feel she was talking about you. From the floor of our very first Patient Experience Conference, a conference participant in the small conference room of just 150 people stood at the end as I asked people for their reflections and said, “I now know I am not alone in this work.” You are not alone, for it has been the compassionate actions of so many that have made reaching this milestone possible. You have all stood and declared “I am the patient experience,” but you too in more subtle ways have also acknowledged “I am because you are.”

That is our reality at the Institute. From the Institute Team who brought these ideas to life to our members and our community, I can only say that we are because of you. This moment is humbling, this moment is moving and this moment is inspiring. For in all we have done to get to this point in time, even in the face of a crisis we could have never imagined, we are strong and ready, we are community, we are The Beryl Institute and we are only that because of all of you. So, thank you for the opportunity you have given us and for the commitment to one another you express every day. That is ultimately all the future of healthcare can ask for, and it is a gift that will be remembered forever. Happy Anniversary!

 

Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP
President and CEO
The Beryl Institute

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A Special Welcome to the Volunteer Professionals Community

Posted By Stacy Palmer, Monday, August 17, 2020

 

We recently announced a collaborative partnership to integrate members and resources of the Association of Health Care Volunteer Resource Professionals (AHVRP) into our patient experience community at The Beryl Institute. Previously part of the American Hospital Association (AHA), AHVRP has a 52-year history supporting healthcare volunteer services, retail operations and related support services disciplines.

AHA notified members in April that it would seek a new home for AHVRP that offered better alignment to its ongoing mission while also supporting its history and legacy. We were excited to step up and offer that home. We believe volunteer professionals and the volunteers they oversee have a tremendous impact on the patient experience. In fact, it is not unusual for a volunteer to be the first and last person a patient sees during a hospital stay.

Volunteers carry great responsibility as a critical contact point for those engaging in healthcare, and they help fill the needs of organizations in expanding capacity in a lean operating world. This requires a perspective on both the value of volunteers as well as the means in which they are strategically deployed, including how they are recruited, developed, evaluated and supported.

AHVRP’s community of over 1,100 members are now part of the Institute, and AHVRP resources, including its webinar archive, publications and learning programs, are in the process of being incorporated into our patient experience library. Moving forward, we will work closely with members of the Volunteer Professionals Community to understand their challenges and opportunities and develop new resources to support their unique roles while reinforcing the tremendous contribution of volunteer services on patient experience.

In addition, we are excited to introduce a special interest community for Volunteer Professionals to support the ongoing sharing and networking of AHVRP members and others leading volunteer programs throughout the healthcare continuum. AHVRP’s annual conference will be integrated into our annual Patient Experience Conference, offering a dedicated learning track for volunteer professionals along with networking and connection opportunities.

While we are committed to preserving the history and legacy of AHVRP, we also acknowledge that the transition comes at a very challenging time for healthcare overall as well as for volunteers. The COVID pandemic has caused many policy changes and raised concerns about how and when organizations can safely bring back volunteers. Like other areas in healthcare, volunteer teams have been challenged in new ways by this pandemic, and we look forward to providing resources and connections to help volunteer professionals navigate the new waters.

As we introduce and embrace a new focus on volunteerism, I’d like to share our fundamental commitments at the Institute. These statements outline the approach on which we have built this organization over the past ten years as well as the approach in which we will integrate the work of volunteer leaders.

As a community, we commit to:

  • Elevating the importance of experience across all care settings

  • Generating, collecting and sharing ideas and proven practices

  • Engaging a broad range of voices and views

  • Putting patients, families and care partners first

  • Recognizing the value of the entire healthcare team

  • Reinforcing experience encompasses quality, safety, service, cost and outcomes

In welcoming many new members from AHVRP, I am also reminded of our purpose at the Institute. We are committed to changing healthcare by advancing an unwavering commitment to the human experience. We hope our support and partnership with the Volunteer Professionals Community will elevate their contributions to that vision and enable their role to have a vital and lasting impact.

 

Stacy Palmer, CPXP
Senior Vice President & COO
The Beryl Institute

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Sitting in Discomfort: Finding the Thread of Hope

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, CPXP, Monday, July 13, 2020

The week prior to Sunday, April 19, 2020 was a pretty normal week other than the adjustments that came with the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. I worked, and I walked my dogs and I did all my normal activities. I was tired, itchy and, from time to time, queasy. As a person with kidney disease, though, none of these symptoms rang any alarm bells.

 

Things really started to change on Friday. We had a strategic planning meeting at work, and my mind was blank through most of it. I told myself I just needed more rest. On Saturday, the nausea had intensified, and I slept much of the day. A friend came over to provide support. By Sunday, I was having problems forming sentences and had frequent nausea and a feeling of being “out of body.” I kept thinking I could push through it—I mean it was a pandemic out there, after all, so shouldn’t I stay away from hospitals? But it became apparent that I needed medical help, so I called my doctor and she arranged for me to come in.

 

Luckily for me, the COVID-19 crisis in my part of North Carolina was not yet severe, so getting admitted to the hospital was not as scary or difficult as I had imagined. By the time I got to the ICU step down, I was struggling to find basic words and began having severe spasms in my tongue, legs and arms. These spasms made it more difficult to speak. I dropped most items I picked up and had a fall in the bathroom. Emergency dialysis started the day after I was admitted, but it did not offer immediate relief as I fantasized that it would. 

 

That week was one of the hardest in my life. I truly thought I might not make it out of the hospital. I suffered some of the worst, unrelenting nausea I have ever known. When I did speak, the words took all my might and were punctuated by long, painful pauses. I could not advocate for myself because I was just too sick. Luckily for me, I did begin to stabilize and was discharged home one week from when I went in. Today, I am on dialysis three times a week and hoping for a living donor transplant from my sister.*

 

Those days in the hospital were so intense. They are in my mind like it was just yesterday. The physical difficulty permeates my memories, but so too does some of the interactions I had with staff and clinicians. Because my symptoms were so severe, I found many of the people in and out of my room were unable to really be present with me. To provide some examples of what I mean, let me share two little stories.

 

1)    I mentioned earlier that I fell in the bathroom. After I fell, I cried. Hard. This was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. The nurse assistant who helped me back into bed was visibly unsure of how to handle my emotion. She patted me on the back and said, “I’m glad you’re doing ok” and left the room. I had not finished crying.

 

2)    For two days I had extreme nausea and vomiting. I had my head in a basin for more time than not. On at least eight or nine occasions, different providers came to see me, and I was actively using the basin. They asked me these questions: “Are you doing ok?” and “Are you nauseous?” Some people became visibly frustrated because I wasn’t answering their detailed questions about going home, symptoms, etc. 

 

I attribute these interactions to a few things. First, of course, the people working in healthcare today are experiencing an intense level of pressure and overwhelming fear due to COVID-19 and all that comes with it. Many of the people I encountered in the hospital were very new to the profession and many were working on a unit they had never worked on before because seasoned pulmonary providers had been moved to the COVID-19 care areas. These circumstances would make anybody uneasy and focus more on tasks to keep the patients safe than interactions with the patients themselves. All of this is valid. But I also believe there is another layer, a layer deeper, at play.

 

Somewhere along the way, in the US at least, we have become a culture in which personal discomfort—emotional or physical—is regarded as something to avoid at all costs. In some ways, we have become so attached to being comfortable we have developed a low threshold for discomfort or pain; even if it’s not our own. While all of this is worthy of a broader conversation, I have experienced this cultural tendency reflected in the interactions I’ve had with my healthcare providers (and I have seen it with the patients and families I interact with as well). This makes me wonder: if healthcare is not a place where we can sit together in discomfort, where might that place be?

 

As COVID-19 continues to surge across the US and we dig deep into addressing systemic racism after the murder of George Floyd, this question of sitting in discomfort seems much more important. If we want to truly move the needle and make healthcare equal for all people, we must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations about slavery, white privilege and unequal distribution of power. If we authentically want to support healthcare providers who have been traumatized by their experiences working through the COVID-19 crisis, we will have to put away the words “brave” and “hero” so that we can hear their reality and what they need. As we look to the future of improving patient experience, we will need to be open to listening to the patients and families who have faced COVID-19 and those who had to be placed in a holding pattern despite needing or wanting care.  

 

So, what’s the good news in all of this complexity and heartache? These don’t have to be separate efforts. The skill set is the same. We are all asking for much of the same things. We are asking for other humans to be present with us as we experience the challenges of our humanity. We are asking other humans to sit in discomfort and listen without deflection or interruption. We are asking other humans to seek out our lived experience in the interest of doing better. We are asking this culture to place a value on leaning in rather than stepping back, cultivating compassionate curiosity rather than giving in to the ease of avoidance.

 

And do you know why I am excited? Because I see it happening. All around me people are going deeper into their personal awareness. They are looking at the world with new eyes and committing to taking on bold challenges for change. Organizations all over the globe are learning from COVID-19 that healthcare is far more agile (telehealth, anyone?) than we ever gave it credit for. The murder of George Floyd has made “systemic racism” a matter of fact rather than a debate. Working at The Beryl Institute, I am inspired to wake up every day to be a part of the discussions and programming that pushes for true innovation and equity.**

 

May we find our way to a new existence where compassion is no longer a topic we need to teach, the love between staff/providers and patients/families is a given and healthcare is equal for all people. May we all find the thread woven through so many of today’s challenges, lean into the discomfort and, in turn, create hope for authentic change.

 

*If you’d like to follow my sister’s and my non-matching living donor journey, you can find me on Twitter at @sickgirlspeaks.

**For COVID-19 and systemic racism in healthcare resources, you can find more here: https://www.theberylinstitute.org/page/COVID-19Resources and here https://www.theberylinstitute.org/page/Racism_and_Health_Disparities

 

 

Tiffany Christensen, CPXP
Vice President, Experience Integration
The Beryl Institute

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Effective Leadership Doesn’t Happen by Chance

Posted By Deanna Frings, MS Ed, CPXP, Monday, June 8, 2020

Since the early weeks of March, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a leader as our world continues to navigate a global pandemic and now the racial and social unrest in our country. As I anxiously tuned in to the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings, watched the news, read through various social media threads, links and articles or had conversations with many in our PX community, I found myself asking, “If I were in charge, what would I say? What would I do? How would I respond under what seems like insurmountable challenges?” In a sense, what I was searching to understand was, “What is really needed from leaders at this time?”

 

As the crisis escalated  entering April, I longed for clarity in the information being shared. I wanted direct and transparent answers to so many questions and decisive action that would move us forward with optimism and hope. Maybe that’s why, in part, I found myself anxiously awaiting the calm, measured and informative voice of Dr Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. His voice of science and reason was a combination that quieted my internal concerns.

 

As our world continues to navigate through its current dual challenges, I have been inspired by incredible leaders within our PX Community. They have had the courage to do their part to elevate the human experience in healthcare including shining a light on the disparities that this crisis has exposed, gaps such as health inequities in access, quality and affordability of medical care.

 

This time has also shined a light on the critical role of leadership. Please know, I’m not suggesting the importance of leadership during a crisis, global unrest and great uncertainly is a major revelation, but I have become even more acutely aware of how vital it is in order to prevail.

 

There is an abundance of information on the art of leadership. Even as I was reflecting on writing this blog, I received my summer issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR) with a cover headline, How to Lead in a Time of Crisis. The issue is a collection of previously published articles that reinforces the idea that effective leadership doesn’t typically happen by chance. It is a choice.

 

In my early career as a Respiratory Therapist (RT), I knew the day would come when I would be called to do my part during a CODE 4, an emergent situation when a patient is suffering from a cardiac or respiratory arrest. I thought about it often in those early days working the third shift and the sole RT in the hospital. Would I know what to do? Would I be able to lead with decisive action, and if asked for input, would I have a clear and informative answer? I had studied long and hard, I had trained and practiced, I had listened and watched, and in the end, it all served me well. I chose to be prepared. I chose to take the lead.

 

Being prepared to effectively lead during a time of crisis requires different things at different times. In reading my current issue of HBR, I am reminded that as a country, we have experienced multiple crises in our history resulting in great uncertainty that have required us to pivot in how we do things. Three examples include the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the financial downturn of 2008, each requiring strong leadership to navigate through the unknown, creating a vision forward and inspiring hope.

 

These leadership qualities and the need to change or pivot is also a central focus of the discussions in the PX Community and what many believe is required to ensure we successfully move forward in our ongoing mission to elevate the human experience in healthcare. And I agree. So, today, how does one successfully lead when no one is the authority because we are in the midst of something never experienced before? 

 

When I responded to my first CODE 4, as much as I wanted to have all the answers, I knew that wasn’t my role. That’s the reason the CODE 4 team was a composite of multi-skilled healthcare professionals with a process that was designed to allow each to do their part within their specific set of skills. I have learned that leadership is not about having all the right answers. I tend to lean more towards what Brene Brown said in her book, Dare to Lead, “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas and has the courage to develop that potential.” In our current crisis, that’s what #STRONGER TOGETHER really means to me: aligned in a vision, engaged in conversation and being open to new ideas from various perspectives. Put another way, leaders point to inclusion of all voices and render endless possibilities of calls to action.

 

It has been incredible to hear some of the possibilities from the voices of the PX Community during the pandemic. Ideas shared through forums like PX Connect, Community Briefings, check-in calls with our many council members or live discussions taking place during PX Body of Knowledge classes and Virtual PX Conference 2020 have afforded us the opportunity to share, listen and learn together. During these conversations, many found answers to questions or solutions to problems but many also discovered opportunities to develop leadership skills including the confidence to know what to do, what to say and how to respond in a moment of crisis. 

 

With multiple voices aligned in elevating the human experience in healthcare, we are one in community and stronger together. As leaders in this effort, you are invited and encouraged to continue to grow and develop in your commitment to patient experience by:

 

·      Engaging in the conversation by sharing your ideas and those of others

·      Listening intently with an open heart and mind

·      Taking courageous action to develop ideas into possibilities for the future

 

Thank you for your willingness to engage and invest in your own growth and development, for supporting those around you to grow and develop and for bravely sharing your own fears, concerns and vulnerabilities during these uncertain times. These too are incredible personal strengths, and it is through these foundational traits of effective leadership that I believe, is needed most at this time.

 

 

Deanna Frings, MS, Ed, CPXP
Vice President, Learning and Professional Development
The Beryl Institute

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There will not be a “new normal” but rather a New Existence for healthcare and human experience

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP, Monday, May 11, 2020

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

 

Tags:  covid-19  existence  future  healthcare  human experience  hx2030  new existence  patient experience 

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The Essence of Human Experience in the Face of COVID-19

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP, Monday, April 13, 2020

I have started almost every email, conversation, webinar or call in the last few weeks with a simple wish that you, your families and colleagues are safe and well. Each morning as I hear my two boys rustle themselves awake, I am reminded of how precious our lives are, how important the people around us remain and how every moment we have is one to appreciate for its essence and to contribute to making better with our every breath.

 

This is no different than in our shared efforts to address COVID-19 as a community, to stand with each other during this crisis and to sustain and ensure that a focus on human experience is not lost in these critical times. It was just 10 years ago to this day – April 14 – that I first stood in front of a room of people to publicly share what my dream for The Beryl Institute was. I believed the opportunity that we were called to address and the possibility I saw in our coming together was not to simply espouse certain ideas, but rather to foster connection, to ignite innovation, to catalyze connection and to elevate a conversation that has only grown at the heart of healthcare over the last decade.

 

My hope for our community then is being realized now, as I called on us at the time to establish a destination for shared information and research and an incubator of new ideas and practices that positively impact the patient experience. What we have become together is much more now, as we are truly a global community of practice committed to elevating the human experience in healthcare.

 

This journey led us to this moment where we reinforce that our efforts have never been about the Institute, but rather they have been about what the Institute represents in the voices of those who are served by healthcare and those who serve in healthcare every day. That is the power of community, for the voices right now spending tireless hours to care for those in the most dire of times are doing so moved by something bigger and knowing there are so many more standing behind them with hope, with commitment, with shared purpose and with a belief that together we can and will move through this crisis.

 

At a time when days feel like weeks where people are either charging in to care for others on the front lines, supporting it from afar, showing up to provide essential services in so many needed industries such as food stores and pharmacies or by doing their part by staying home to flatten the curve, teaching their children or providing care at home, this crisis has called on all to contribute, and it will take all of us to succeed. That premise of all of us together is fundamental to the essence of human experience that brings us all together in our growing community with the Institute. Just last week alone we saw over 1000 people engage across webinars, phone calls or virtually online to share and support one another. Those voices represented thousands more in their own organizations, each touching the lives of thousands more in the communities they serve. That is the powerful and positive ripple effect we are creating together! And why the human experience is not something to lose in this moment in our history.

 

As you follow the stories of challenge and success, of loss and hope, of overcoming odds and succumbing to this disease, in all of this what we have done and continue to do as a community is ensure the humanity at the heart of healthcare burns brighter than ever. I think at the start of this crisis there was concern that the dire needs and actions required would squelch out the embers of humanity at our core, but in all we have seen in acknowledgement and success, compassion and clinical excellence, sacrifice and unwavering commitment to fellow humans by so many, the idea I will forever reinforce – that in healthcare we are human beings caring for human beings – has only seemed to grow stronger.

 

At the same time, we are reminded of the vigilance this crisis will take. If we pull up on the reigns of our essential efforts too soon, we will find ourselves slowing before the finish. And I believe that as we look at this crisis, we will never truly get beyond it. This is not a pessimistic tone, but rather one grounded in optimism for all we will have and will continue to learn. I do not believe we will have a post-COVID era, or even a new “normal.” Nothing about this is, or will be, normal…but rather, we will have a NEW EXISTENCE where much of what we espoused and worked so hard to put in place before this crisis will remain essential. At the same time, cracks have been revealed and systemic weaknesses highlighted for healthcare globally, many which we subtly or in passing have acknowledged, some with more extensive efforts to address underway, but in the midst of this crisis have become ever more apparent.

 

In our latest episode of the To Care is Human Podcast released this week, I had the chance to speak with Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, President & CEO of the National Quality Forum. In our conversation, as in many I have had with leaders and community members in the last few weeks, we discussed the revelations of this crisis beyond the challenges of readiness or even the lack of “systemness” in our regional, national and global healthcare system, to that of the inequity that is revealed in healthcare itself. This crisis has revealed powerful things about us societally as well, not just about those we serve in healthcare but even the everyday heroes in our midst who don scrubs or coveralls, aprons or gowns to support the very foundation on which healthcare operates. We will be called as a result of this crisis to tackle those issues in ways we have yet had the muscle to do.

 

At the same time, healthcare’s self-perceptions on the dangers found in assessing risk versus acting with agility and speed has been challenged, as we have seen technology application rapidly deployed, protocols overturned or rewritten, inflexible structures cracked and quickly rebuilt and more. All of what we are learning in the face of the real suffering and sadness in this crisis is also what responsibilities we have to change and address our own opportunities as a healthcare system globally. These bigger issues will be part of the larger conversation on new existence, but we too cannot get too far ahead as we have people now living life’s final moments, while others are working feverishly to save those lives.

 

At the heart of the actions and efforts of so many lie what turns us back to the humanness of healthcare. Yes, the clinical excellence at healthcare’s roots will ensure we save lives, but the efforts we are seeing to elevate the human experience now will ensure we honor those lives through and beyond this crisis as well. While we struggle with the realities of bed space, access to personal protective equipment, ventilators, adequate testing or other needed technologies, we too have seen humanity elevated in ways we knew existed and will remain forever possible.

 

  • Even in the face of limited visitation policies, organizations are finding technology and other means to connect people to one another, to enable those in isolation to feel less alone and provide a face and voice of comfort, even if not in person, at the end of life. We are working more to ensure we connect as people…that is the essence of human experience.
  • We are seeing the human spirit personified in the efforts of so many on the front lines of care hidden behind masks and screens putting a picture of themselves with a smile and even a note or two about who they are as a person on the front of their gown. We are working to break down barriers and structures to the people we are…that is the essence of human experience.
  • Caring for healthcare teams has been elevated to new heights from social-emotional needs of having support lines and respite rooms to ensuring basic needs are met in providing internally- developed markets to provide for food and sundry needs for those focused on healing others. The breadth of support for those who serve has never been so evident and tangible,  even in the face of some of the challenges those providing care still face…this recognition and effort too is the essence of human experience.
  • While most charging into the trenches of this crisis, from doctors and nurses to environmental service and food service workers and so many others, would not call themselves heroes, the recognition of their sacrifice in the face of potential danger is real. This is the same for all providing essential services in grocery stores or pharmacies, transporting goods or delivering food. These individuals are the synapses of a physically distanced society and the bond on which it will be connected once again. We too see an outpouring of appreciation and acknowledgement from the blaring sirens of fire and police departments, to the flashing car lights, street signs and chalk art appearing outside hospitals and care centers, simply to say thank you. These gestures remind us that what binds us is and must remain stronger than what divides us…that is the essence of human experience.

 

These are just some examples of what people have stepped up to do at this time, but we are reminded again and again in times of crisis that our most important resource and our greatest source of hope is one another. It is in our capacity to face what is in front of us, both for its ugly realities and its moving successes, that make humanity and, yes, the humanity in healthcare so powerful. This is not to downplay the seriousness of what we are fighting as human beings, but rather to recognize as human beings our motivation to fight comes from our ability to overcome challenge, to acknowledge and celebrate success, to see hope in darkness. That is where community comes in and why community is so important, and that is why we are and will always be stronger together!

 

For many, a tough stretch continues over the next few weeks and for some small cracks of relief may even be visible. With that all we have created together in our web of knowledge and support is powerful, broad and unbreakable. Know that no one stands alone, and this global community stands behind and with you in what lies ahead. I encourage you to review what the community has created together to support one another at this time in the Institute’s COVID-19 Resource Center. That is how and why I know our new existence will be a place that honors the tragedy, sacrifice and sorrow of this time, but has roots in our strength, in our collective innovation and in our shared passion and purpose.

 

The human experience we have all committed ourselves to has never been more real, more critical or more needed. And from all we have done and will do together in ensuring we overcome this crisis, I think we can all stand reassured that our commitment to the human experience will not be going anywhere any time soon. That is the essence of human experience.

 

Please stay healthy and well and thanks for all you do…it will truly take all of us…together.

 

Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP
President & CEO
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  community  covid-19  crisis  human experience  human spirit  personal protective equipment  podcast  social-emotional needs 

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Lessons from the Lived Experience: What Your Vented Patients Would Ask if they Could

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, CPXP, Friday, March 27, 2020

As I watch the national news and talk to my friends working in hospitals, the two main themes are PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and ventilators. I am not sure most citizens know what we mean when we talk about these things. As a CF/lung transplant patient, I know what it means to be on a ventilator because I’ve been on one for ten days out of my 46 years, and those ten days will never be forgotten.

 

As I think about the experience of COVID-19 patients who are going on ventilators surrounded by a global pandemic and without the support of the faces of those they love around the bed, I feel a deep tightening in my chest. I so desperately wish I could be at the bedside of each patient to calm them and to help the professionals who may or may not work with vented patients in the normal routine understand that lived experience.  I can’t do either one of those things. So, instead, I have connected with other patients who have been on a ventilator and compiled my experiences with theirs.

 

I hope this list can serve as a guide to all of the amazing healthcare professionals who are on the frontlines and would like some supportive insight about how to interact with patients on vents. The patient experience continues after the tube is placed and, hopefully, all the way through to discharge home. God speed to all.

 

What Your Vented Patients Would Ask if they Could:

  • Please narrate your care. My external body does not reflect my internal life. I am listening. I hear everything, even if I don’t fully understand it. Talk to me as if I were not on a vent.
  •  Give me updates on my health and orient me to time and place.
  • Kind words like "you're doing great" and "just rest and let your body heal" go a long way to alleviate anxiety and confusion.
  • I want my loved ones at my bedside to comfort me. Although you are here taking care of me, not having the faces of people I love around me makes me feel alone and (more than likely) scared. Can you please serve as surrogate family, even if for a quick minute? Find what is uniquely human about me and engage in a real human connection.
  • I need to communicate! Whenever possible, please give me a pen and paper, a dry erase board and a pen, or a visual board where I can point to emoticons and letters to communicate. Look into my eyes and help me feel heard even though I can’t speak.

 

If you remember nothing else, always talk TO vented patients, not AT them or NEAR them.

Thanks for listening.

 

Special thank you to Kara "Missy" Lyven and Beth Peters for contributing their lived experiences in support of this blog.

 

 

Tiffany Christensen, CPXP
Vice President, Experience Integration
The Beryl Institute

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Experience as Integrator

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, CPXP, Monday, March 9, 2020

The other day I went for an iron infusion, and because I have a history of anaphylaxis with iron, I am required to receive pre-meds of IV Solumedrol and Benadryl. Taking these two medications together feels like someone has strapped my body to an electric fence and then put a spell on me so that my limbs are too heavy to move. It takes a lot of mental concentration to ride the sensations. As I am in the treatment chair trying to deal with my emotional response to my challenging physical state, a flutist plops down in a chair a few feet in front of me and plays songs like "Pop Goes the Weasel" for an hour. High pitched flute sounds pulled me out of my meditation/sleep over and over, and it was PAINFUL. Literally, physically painful.

 

Nobody asked me or any of the other patients if we wanted to hear a flute play while we got our treatments. The flutist never looked at us to check in or to see how the music was being received. Because of my “magic spell” symptoms, I was not able to open my eyes or speak without distress. I chose to put in my earbuds and turn up Lady Gaga, but the piercing flute notes still woke me as they overrode the melodies being piped directly into my ears. I was not able to articulate my experience while it was happening, and I felt trapped.

 

So, does this mean we shouldn’t have flutists in treatment areas? No. Does this mean I should go out and buy noise-canceling headphones? No. Does this mean music therapy isn’t a good idea? Of course not. What this means is something quite simple: Never assume you know what will be helpful to patients or families. ALWAYS ASK.

 

I tell this story because it highlights an unfortunate reality in healthcare today: With as much progress as we have made in the field of Patient Experience in the last decade, we still greatly lack a necessary integration of concepts, systems and individual capacity for customizing care.

 

Integration is the next necessary frontier in healthcare today, and it must happen on multiple levels. In my flutist story, we witness a lack of system and individual integration. The system has built a music program that lacks integration with understanding the lived experiences of patients and families. The individuals caring for me that day lacked integrated knowledge about the medicine given to me and the possible effects of taking it. The experience showed me that there is an overall lack of integrating the core concepts of “nothing about me without me” within that organization. However, this is only one slice of what we mean by integration in a healthcare setting.

 

Integration requires the intentional overlap of safety and quality, with experience as the driver. Integration requires tools to capture and act upon the perspectives of patients and families and rigor to embed them in standard workflows consistently and in every corner of the organization. Integration requires an investment in helping staff and clinicians think beyond their area or expertise to a broader concept of care. At the point of care, we MUST begin to integrate clinical excellence with excellent engagement and communication. This all requires experience to become the North Star.

 

If my flute story makes you think I am not a music lover, that could not be further from the truth. I love music, especially jazz and swing. The other night I went to see a “big band” style swing band. There were about 20 musicians and three singers that entertained us with songs from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Watching all of these people play their instruments, I thought about the collective years of practice and evolution of skill in that room. The human ability to find a passion for something and work at it until it is both extraordinary and second nature is fascinating to me. Seeing it in the context of a big band—a place where many people have this dedication to building skills over time AND doing so in harmony with others—felt to me like a metaphor for integration in healthcare.

 

In healthcare, every member of “the band” (healthcare team) is required to bring his/her own skill set to create music or, in this case, health outcomes. Equal to the importance of skill and expertise of the band is its ability to also align with the listeners and dancers (patients) receiving their music. If the audience is a partner in the design and production of music, the experience is richer, more meaningful and the room is still full at the end of the night. In a similar way, the goal in healthcare delivery must be a collective goal and, therefore, the effort must be an integrated one. If there is a sour note or if the band lacks harmony, the music turns painful and hard to hear.  When there is integration of sound, however, the music has the power to move mountains.

 

I know we all have the power to move mountains. All of the band members are here and accounted for. We have the skill, the training and the passion. We have engaged, educated and poised audience members. Now, all we need is new sheet music. Sheet music that focuses on integration of sound with experience as the leader of the band. Integration is here and it’s right around the corner; we just have to set the intention, plan well and be open to a new song. If we can do that, we will make powerful change.  

 

Tiffany Christensen, CPXP

Vice President, Experience Integration
The Beryl Institute

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How are YOU doing?: Uncovering the needs of those we serve

Posted By Michelle Garrison, CPXP, Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 10, 2020

We want to thank everyone who participated and shared their comments and suggestions in our first annual Community Needs Assessment launched in December. Moving beyond our standard member survey questions asked in the past, we grounded the assessment in the opportunity to learn what you, our community, needs and wants and what really matters to you in your experience efforts. At the same time, we wanted to understand how well we are meeting these needs and where The Beryl Institute can improve to better support you in a more meaningful and impactful way.

The Consumer Needs Assessment asked these questions which helped identify key challenges and additional needed support:

  • How are you feeling about your experience efforts?
  • What resources do you need to raise your score?
  • What specific problems or opportunities are you trying to address?
  • How can the Institute best help you in addressing those needs?
  • Why is this community important to you?

How are you feeling about your experience efforts? What resources do you need to raise your score?

Two themes emerged from this question. First, we were pleased to learn that the majority of the community feels optimistic about their experience efforts. This indicates that the field of practice is developing in a positive direction. Second, some organizations expressed that their improvement efforts could be enhanced with additional resources that address raising scores and how to sustain current scores. Other suggestions for key resources necessary to improve experience efforts included defined organizational strategies, leadership support, staff buy-in, a focus on patient and family engagement, education and training, time and opportunity to execute on the work. What resources to you need to raise your score? Resources that were identified as essential to raising scores directly correspond to the Institute’s Experience Framework, which identifies eight strategic lenses through which any experience endeavor should be framed. In particular, the community expressed great interest in additional resources around culture and leadership, staff and provider engagement and patient and family engagement.

What specific problems or opportunities are you trying to address?

With the many perspectives across the continuum of care represented in the assessment, we saw a variety of challenges and opportunities being addressed. People are addressing the need to elevate what patient experience means not only for staff but also leadership and to raise awareness that patient experience is everyone’s job across the organization. Parallel to this was the opportunity to improve customer service and staff communication skills. Additional challenges spoke to addressing patient access and care coordination. There is also an awareness of the need to engage a broader range of voices, engaging patients and family members and integrating patients in all the work that is being done. Many people reported being in the process of solving challenges but needing to create strategies that promote staff accountability and sustainability.

How can the Institute best help you in addressing those needs?

With this question, we learned more about the value that you have found in our current resources including webinars, white papers, PX Connect community and events including Patient Experience Conference and also how we could improve on and expand the resources available. Recommendations included sharing more best practices, offering short key learnings, providing summaries or infographics for white papers and webinars, expanding the focus beyond hospital-based resources, local networking events and more opportunities for virtual connections. With the many resources available through the Institute, we recognize it can be a challenge to locate the resources you might need. One source that can assist you with getting connected to the tools you need to guide your experience efforts is the Experience Assessment.

Why is this community important to you?

As we reviewed the responses, we were humbled to read the comments about why people find the community important to them. Many of you shared how important the resources to support experience efforts are to you and expressed your appreciation for a community that reinforces the importance of experience in the overall healthcare conversation. The community finds value in making connections and learning in partnership with others who face similar challenges and developing solutions to address them.

As we look ahead, we are committed, inspired and excited to continue to provide a place for you to learn, network and engage, and you can look forward to our continued focus on providing and improving resources, learnings and engagement to support you, your organization and your community on your patient experience journey.

The work we do here at the Institute is possible due to this passionate and engaged community. We look forward to working with you and will share additional opportunities for engagement and sharing through volunteer opportunities, such as virtual focus groups, where we can gain your insights on exciting new projects and resources.

We thank you for your comments and suggestions. If you have any additional thoughts, feedback or stories to share, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Michelle Garrison, CPXP
Vice President, Membership
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  accountability  community of practice  experience efforts  leadership  organizational strategies  patient family engagement 

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5 Ways to Accelerate Your 2020 Experience Efforts

Posted By Stacy Palmer, Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I recently stumbled upon a list of New Year’s jokes. My favorite asked, ‘What’s the first thing you’ll say in 2021?’ The answer made me chuckle, ‘Hindsight is 20/20.’ I thought it was clever and kind of cute, but it also made me reflect on what I hope my hindsight on 2020 will be. And when we look back at this year, what do we hope 2020’s hindsight for patient experience will be?

In 2019, we saw great strides in the patient experience movement as we introduced the Experience Ecosystem highlighting the resources, associated organizations and solution providers supporting each of the eight strategic lenses of the Experience Framework. Also in 2019, our biennial State of Patient Experience benchmarking study revealed that patient experience efforts continue to mature and remain established within healthcare organizations. We saw a growing recognition that the types of organizations we build are foundational as people globally reinforced culture is vital in achieving positive experience efforts. Overall, 2019 marked a shift to patient experience not being something healthcare does but being who healthcare is.

When we look back at 2020, what will we have learned and accomplished? I believe that as a community we have built a foundation on which global experience efforts will continue to accelerate. As you plan for the new year, I offer some suggestions that may help accelerate your 2020 efforts as well:

  1. Acknowledge your organization’s strengths and opportunities. If you have not yet participated in an Organizational Experience Assessment, I encourage you to do so. The process is grounded in the Experience Framework and built on global research identifying factors seen as critical to positive experience outcomes by both high performing healthcare units and consumers of healthcare. Your assessment will provide a comprehensive picture of the strengths and opportunities you have in your efforts to improve the patient experience. 
  2. Enhance your team’s foundation in patient experience. When building a culture of patient experience excellence, it is essential to establish a foundation where all team members clearly understand what patient experience is, what it means to them and how they can positively impact experience excellence. Consider a program such as PX 101, a community-inspired resource for use in orientation programs and other staff education that shares patient experience knowledge on the front lines of care to positively impact experience outcomes.
  3. Celebrate your team’s patient experience efforts. Rewarding and recognizing great work is also an important component of building a culture of experience excellence. And the new year is a great time to evaluate, enhance or reinvigorate your internal recognition programs. Also, start planning now for Patient Experience Week 2020, April 27 – May 1. Patient Experience Week is an annual event providing a focused time to celebrate accomplishments, create enthusiasm and honor the people who impact patient experience every day. 
  4. Expand your personal patient experience network. One of the greatest benefits cited by members of The Beryl Institute is the power of the community – the ability to network, share and learn with others passionate about improving experience. Set aside designated time to follow and contribute to conversations on PX Connect where members share their experience challenges and successes. You will make new connections, learn from peers and help others by sharing your knowledge and expertise.
  5. Commit to your continued learning and professional development. Make it a priority in 2020 to seek knowledge that will advance your skills and best prepare you to impact experience efforts in your organization. Take advantage of membership benefits such as webinars, topic calls and publications. For more extensive learning, consider the PX Body of Knowledge courses which offer certificate programs in Patient Experience Leadership and Patient Advocacy. Also consider joining the over 1,100 individuals who have achieved Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP) designation offered through our sister organization, Patient Experience Institute. CPXP Prep Course workshops are available through The Beryl Institute to help you prepare.

Our commitment at The Beryl Institute is to support and elevate your efforts by continuing to offer the most relevant research, resources and connections. As such, our greatest hope for 2020 is that you will discover all the ways that the Institute can help you tap into this valuable and helpful collection of leading resources to kick-start innovation and build excitement in the new year. You can start by exploring one or all of the five ways mentioned above to enhance your own professional path as a leader and to accelerate your patient experience efforts as an organization.

We have tremendous respect and gratitude for the work happening globally each day to elevate the human experience in healthcare, and we will continue to provide a place for you to share, learn and celebrate together this year and into the future
When we get to 2021, we hope you will be proud of, and inspired by, the progress you accomplished this year. After all, hindsight will indeed be 20/20.

 

Stacy Palmer, CPXP
Senior Vice President & COO
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  celebration  choice  commitment  community of practice  culture  ecosystem  excellence  Field of Patient Experience  global healthcare  healthcare  improving patient experience  Leadership  member value  partnership  patient advocacy  patient advocate  Patient Experience  patient experience community  patient experience leadership  state of patient experience  team 

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