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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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From "How are WE doing?" to "How are YOU doing?": A New Perspective for Experience Measurement

Posted By Jason Wolf, Sunday, December 15, 2019
Updated: Sunday, December 15, 2019

In our first December blog in 2010 as we launched The Beryl Institute as a global community, I shared a quote from Maya Angelou. It read:

"There is no greater burden than carrying an untold story."

That idea has been essential to our journey at the Institute and a seed of the evolution of the experience movement itself. Every patient, family member or caregiver we serve in healthcare, every individual who wakes up each day to work in healthcare and every person who is impacted in the communities we serve in healthcare ALL have a story to share. This idea, this reality, is universal. We all have untold stories inside us to share.

I believe we have together pushed the conversation in healthcare to see people we care for not simply as a room number or a diagnosis on a chart, but as human beings with needs and wants, hopes and dreams, all rooted in their own story. At the same time, from the lenses of those that experience healthcare, we have heard loud and clear, and have seen reinforced in data from our own research, that the number one request from their healthcare experience is “listen to me”.1  When we take a moment to listen to those we serve in healthcare and those who serve in healthcare, we reveal a rich and powerful tapestry of our very humanity. When we create the space for stories to be told and ensure needs and desires are revealed, we create new and more powerful paths on which we can impact the human experience overall.

It was this realization that sparked a powerful idea at the heart of Michael Barry and Susan Edgman Levitan’s piece in The New England Journal of Medicine on shared decision making.2 In their perspective, they offered we must move from simply engaging people on “What is the matter?” to “What matters to you?” as an essential element of providing the best quality care. That very question “what matters” begins to crack open the doors hiding the untold stories people carry. It could be about the fears they personally carry, about the family they love and are worried they might leave behind, about the way a room is lit, to the name they are called. These are all driven by the stories of our lives as human beings.

And as I have long suggested, in healthcare we are simply human beings caring for human beings and therefore must acknowledge that these realities for people, whether revealed by asking or left hidden, will have an impact on how people are cared for and ultimately the outcomes they achieve. Simply stated, we cannot take the human out of healthcare, and so healthcare is ultimately built upon and must act within a patchwork of human experiences in our desire to provide safe, quality, reliable, consistent, service-focused and accessible care.

But there is also more to the story, for as “what matters to you” has grown into a global movement grounded in the clinical encounter of healthcare, the conversation on human experience in healthcare pushes us to move even farther. As the global community of practice committed to elevating the human experience in healthcare, we realized at The Beryl Institute that the idea of measuring experience itself could and must be informed by this very idea. When we look at the traditional way in which we have asked for feedback in healthcare or in most industries for that matter, we have tended to ask “How are WE doing?”. Questions we pose to our patients, our customers or our consumers are asking them to tell us about us. But where in these inquiries do we ask about them and their needs? Where do we take the step to help them reveal their untold story and better understand how we can help them in addressing those needs?

That very question had us think about the powerful opportunity to ask less about “How are WE doing?” to more about “How are YOU doing?”. Have you felt that spark in a conversation when someone asks you that question? It is an opening, an opportunity, an appreciation that you have a thought, an idea, a need, and yes, a story to tell.

When we flip the question to “How are you doing?”, we can then uncover what people need, what they want and what matters to them more broadly. And in doing so, we can also ask about our ability as healthcare organizations to meet those needs. When we ask “How are you doing?”, we invite a different perspective on how people see things, as Gerteis, Edgman-Levitan, Daley and Delblanco wrote in 1993,3 “through their eyes.” That is the opportunity we believe we have in measuring experience overall, and, yes, we believe in understanding your needs in The Beryl Institute’s global community as well.

The opportunity is now to find ways in which we ask others to rate us not only on how we did for them or if they would recommend us, to more directly what they need as our patients, customers and consumers and how well we met those needs. How will you ask those questions in your own organizations to uncover and address the needs of those you serve? What steps can and will we take to uncover the untold story?

At the Institute, we believe we can do this by flipping the question today as we engage the over 50,000 people in our community and beyond in a new type of inquiry. We will now ask “How are YOU doing?” and based on your answer, we will also inquire “What do you need from us?”. Finally, we will ask what we are doing and what we can do better to help meet those needs. It comes back to the idea that when we ask people about ourselves, it becomes about us; but when we ask others about themselves, it becomes about them. It is about their story and the insights shared, and it actually provides a more powerful window into what we can all be doing to support one another in what we do, what we offer, and how we work together.

It is not an easy switch for organizations to move from asking people ”How are WE doing?” to “How are YOU doing?”. While it is reaffirming and helpful, I think we can agree the first question  is limited and may miss the biggest opportunity of all. When we ask people “How are YOU doing?” there is acknowledgement for the un-acknowledged, there is space for discovery and there is the opportunity for connection and for the ability to meeting one another where we stand as human beings in healthcare and beyond.

In a world where the concerns of human discourse have turned sour across the continents and distance has been created between people versus bridges being built, we must accept this is our current reality. Perhaps in our willingness to ask others about themselves, we can begin to tighten the seams of humanity once again. When we each in our own way try to express our interest in others, and when we change the way in how we ask about the experiences of others, we all take one step closer to the power of the human experience that we look to foster every day in healthcare. We each can help catalyze this type of connection. My ask of all of us is that we work to do so. Our hope here at the Institute is to change how we ask you, our community, about your needs and to help start this subtle but significant shift. To that effort, we invite each of you to take a few minutes in the coming days via our inquiry to tell us how YOU are doing.

There IS no greater burden than an untold story. And there is NO greater means to connect and to better serve by working to share those stories. Here is to all the stories we will both share and create together in this new year and beyond.


Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP

President & CEO
The Beryl Institute

 

1.     Wolf JA. Consumer Perspectives on Patient Experience 2018. The Beryl Institute; 2018.

2.     Barry MJ, Edgman-Levitan S. Shared Decision Making — The Pinnacle of Patient-Centered Care. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366(9):780-781. doi:10.1056/nejmp1109283.

3.     Gerteis M, Edgman-Levitan S, Daley J, Delbanco T. Through the patient’s eyes. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993.

Tags:  accountability  body of knowledge  collaboration  community  community of practice  Continuum of Care  engagement  Field of Patient Experience  global healthcare  Human Experience  improving patient experience  Interactions  Leadership  patient  patient engagement  Patient Experience  patient experience community  thought leadership  voice 

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5 Ways to Impact Your Patient Experience Success in 2019

Posted By Stacy Palmer, Monday, January 7, 2019
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2019

Embarking on a New Year tends to bring forth much reflection and anticipation. While 2018 was often shadowed by political tensions and shifting pressures on our healthcare systems globally, it was also a year of significant reinforcement of the value and purpose of the patient experience movement. 

We introduced two new research studies at The Beryl Institute in 2018, both intended to help validate and focus the patient experience field. A study on Consumer Perspectives on Patient Experience confirmed that 91% of consumers believe patient experience is extremely or very important and will be significant to the healthcare decisions they will make. And most recently, we published To Care is Human, exploring the factors influencing experience in healthcare today and reinforcing the relational nature where healthcare is grounded in human beings caring for human beings. 

As we begin 2019, I believe the patient experience movement is better prepared than ever to accelerate its efforts. And as your organization embarks on the new year, I encourage you to consider a few suggestions that have potential to positively impact your success:

  • Evaluate Your Strengths and Opportunities – As you reflect on the direction your PX journey took in the past year and plan for future success, I encourage you to take time to examine where your organization excels and where you have opportunities to grow. The Beryl Institute’s Experience Framework identifies the strategic areas through which any experience endeavor should be framed, provides a means to evaluate where you are excelling or may have opportunities for improvement and offers a practical application to align knowledge, resources and solutions. If you find there are areas of great strength for your organization, let us know so we can share your successes with the community. And if you identify potential opportunities in your journey, contact us and we’ll help you navigate the many resources available in the Institute’s library of content. To further assist the overall community, we’ll also begin highlighting a new strategic lens each month, offering new webinars and other programming around that lens and curating a selection of resources to help you amplify your efforts in that area.

  • Enhance Your Organization'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 ways in which you can share patient experience knowledge on the front lines of care to positively impact experience outcomes. Last year the Institute introduced PX 101, a community-inspired and developed resource for use in orientation programs and other staff education. While not intended to be used in isolation or as a stand-alone resource, PX 101 can enhance your journey by distilling the resources and knowledge available via the Institute into practical, transferable learning to support your larger patient experience training strategy. 

  • Celebrate Your Patient Experience Efforts – Wherever you are in your journey, it’s important to recognize successes and commitment. Not only does this offer a chance to celebrate great work, it also provides an opportunity to reinforce the significance and impact of your efforts. Start planning now for Patient Experience Week 2019: April 22 - April 26. Patient Experience Week is an annual event to celebrate healthcare staff impacting patient experience. Inspired by members of the Institute, it provides a focused time to celebrate accomplishments, create enthusiasm and honor the people who impact patient experience everyday. 

While I believe the suggestions above can have great impact on your organization’s patient experience focus, I encourage you to be just as thoughtful in developing your own growth plan for the new year. We likely all have personal resolutions around health, fitness, finances, etc., but it’s important to also consider ways we can grow professionally as patient experience leaders. Whether you’re looking to make a career move in 2019 or build knowledge and value in your current role, consider these key steps to impact your success: 

  • Expand Your 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. Make a commitment now to attend Patient Experience Conference 2019 to be held April 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. It’s the largest independent, non-provider or vendor hosted event bringing together the collective voices of healthcare professionals across the globe to expand the dialogue on improving patient experience, and you’re sure to leave with new information, inspiration and connections. 

  • Distinguish Yourself as an Expert in Patient Experience Performance – The best way to impact your professional success is to ensure you have the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed in today's healthcare environment. Through PX Body of Knowledge courses, The Beryl Institute offers certificate programs in Patient Experience Leadership and Patient Advocacy. With over 440 certificate program recipients to date, the PX Body of Knowledge frames the field of patient experience, defines its core ideas and provides a clear foundation of knowledge that supports the consistent and continuous development of current and future leaders in the field. Also consider earning your formal certification as a Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP) which is awarded through successful completion of the CPXP examination, offered through our sister organization, Patient Experience Institute. CPXP Prep Course workshops are available through The Beryl Institute to help you prepare.
At the Institute, our 2019 commitment to you is that we will continue seeking ways to support and elevate your efforts through offering the most relevant research, resources and connections – and by helping you to easily navigate these offerings. We have tremendous respect and gratitude for the work happening globally each day to improve experiences for patients, families and caregivers, and we will continue to provide a place for our community to share, learn, celebrate and inspire together.

If you have specific needs we can assist with as you embark on your 2019 organizational or personal PX journey, please let us know. We’re here to help!

Stacy Palmer, CPXP
Senior Vice President
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  accountability  body of knowledge  celebration  collaboration  community  community of practice  connection  culture  Field of Patient Experience  global healthcare  healthcare  Human Experience  improving patient experience  Leadership  member benefit  member value  movement  Patient Experience  patient experience community  patient experience week 

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The Spirit of the PX Movement – Sharing, Learning and Improving Together

Posted By Stacy Palmer, Monday, December 12, 2016
Updated: Monday, December 12, 2016

After six years as a membership community focused on improving patient experience, we continue to be amazed and inspired by the generosity of our members and guests committed to this movement. The spirit of this work is illustrated perfectly by the willingness to share, learn and grow together.

Just last week we released a great example of this in action through the white paper, Guiding Principles for Patient Experience Excellence. We’re careful to always acknowledge there is no one recipe for improving patient experience, but we have identified eight themes consistent in organizations who have found success in this work. The paper shares those principles, reflects on why each is a critical consideration and, perhaps most importantly, highlights specific examples from 15 organizations who excel in one or more of these areas.

As in all the work shared through the Institute, the examples represent only a sample of the many approaches that could be tied to each principle. They are offered to spark thinking in ways others can move from concept to action. It’s the willingness of these organizations to share their successes that fuels that thinking for others.

The gifting of knowledge and experiences has helped to build the field of patient experience and establishes both credibility and accountability for our efforts. This year our sister organization, Patient Experience Institute, recognized the first three classes of Certified Patient Experience Professionals (CPXPs), an incredible statement and stride for the movement. We continue to see this work validated and see our community eager to spread the word on the importance of addressing experience excellence and sharing successes and challenges encountered along the way.

We wholeheartedly offer thanks to every individual and organization who contributed to this work over the past year. Thank you for every case study shared, On the Road visit or regional roundtable hosted, webinar or conference session presented, ListServ email sent, topic call or connection call attended and learning bite delivered. It’s through these and other collective efforts that we can truly shape this movement and positively impact the experiences of patients, families and caregivers.

Interested in learning more about how you can personally contribute to the community in 2017? Visit http://www.theberylinstitute.org/?page=CONNECTIONIDEAS.

 

Stacy Palmer, CPXP
Senior Vice President
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  accountability  collaboration  community  community of practice  engagement  Field of Patient Experience  healthcare  improving patient experience  networking  patient experience  thought leadership 

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Why We are ALL the Patient Experience!

Posted By Jason A. Wolf Ph.D., Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, June 3, 2014


"We are ALL the patient experience” is not just the theme that underlined Patient Experience Conference 2014; I would offer it is an idea that must be central to patient experience improvement and the patient experience movement overall. I am encouraged by the increasing acknowledgement that it takes all players in the healthcare marketplace, across the continuum, through the established hierarchies, and from patient & family, to caregiver, to community to ensure the best in experience.


This was exemplified during my On the Road visit just last week to Cape Regional Medical Center that will be published later this month. What I found was an institution that understood and acted fully on what community meant and, in doing so, engaged staff, physicians, leadership, patients and families in collective efforts to provide the best in experience.

I am often asked for the quick list of solutions to drive patient experience excellence or the checklist of actions that will lead straight to success. What my visit to Cape Regional reinforced, and what I have learned from so many other institutions, is that there is no one path to patient experience nirvana. Actually, I think we could all identify many core tactics that would help support improvement efforts. There are truly no secrets in this work (or at least there should not be). In fact I would challenge any organization that claims to have the secret recipe, be they provider or consultant, to examine what is truly distinct or unique about their efforts, and highlight, market and sell around that premise – not as an ultimate solution, but as a piece of an intricate puzzle. I believe there are practical ideas and innovative solutions we can learn from one another and, in fact, that is what I hope to reinforce.

A strong patient experience effort must be built on a patchwork of ideas, with a foundation of commitment across roles and responsibilities. While patient experience may be (and we encourage it should be) led by an individual or partnership of leaders, it can never be fully executed in isolation. In fact if we believe that at its core, experience is about the interactions that take place between two human beings around issues related to quality, safety, service and even improvement, then we must acknowledge the simple, yet powerful point that we are all the patient experience.

The implications for this understanding are significant and the imperative for supporting action is clear. Successful organizations driving patient experience improvement, and sustaining it, have worked hard to:

  • Develop and support leaders at all levels, in all roles, across all functions
  • Equip people with direct and easy access to the broadest amount of relevant and actionable information possible
  • Build solid partnerships with those they serve through active patient and community engagement
  • Build recognition and performance plans in direct alignment with experience objectives
  • Create a sense of shared ownership and reinforce accountability for ideas developed and actions taken

And the list could go on as you build an integrated effort.

You see, improving patient experience and the effort it requires must be owned by all and every individual most often impacts experience at the moment of a simple encounter. This means we must prepare these individuals to act. It is for this very reason that we introduced a simple, but comprehensive Institutional membership access to The Beryl Institute this year. This membership offers healthcare facilities of all sizes and purposes the broadest access for the most individuals in their organization. It provides information, education and accountability across the organization’s community. We have seen organizations with front line nurses to senior leaders and patient and family advisory council members to physicians engaged in accessing community resources and, in doing so, contributing strong ideas as well.

It is in our ability to engage the broadest range of voices through which we can find the best in experience outcomes. I encourage you to provide the opportunity for leadership to emerge, for new ideas to be fostered and for proven concepts to be shared. I know at the Institute we are committed to ensure you have the platform on which to build those efforts every day. Here is to all each individual contributes to the best in experience and for the rallying cry that moves us forward: We are ALL the Patient Experience!

Jason. A. Wolf, Ph.D.
President
The Beryl Institute
  

Tags:  accountability  efforts  employee engagement  improving patient experience  Leadership  Patient Experience 

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How Will You Inspire the Patient Experience Movement? Four Considerations for 2014

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I am inspired. The New Year has arrived with great energy at The Beryl Institute. We start 2014 as a global community of practice of over 20,000 professionals, focused without hesitation on ensuring the best in experience for patients, families and one another in healthcare.

I am inspired by the continued commitments expressed for this work: by The Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Scholars who met recently to share their research and reinforce their willingness to encourage and support others; by the members of the Global Patient & Family Advisory Council who want to influence how patients and family members are heard and engaged in making a profound difference in healthcare; by the many contributing to the development of the Patient Experience Body of Knowledge courses soon to be available to the community; and by many more.

I am inspired by how in the first two weeks of a new year, such commitment and intent can emerge, built on all that has come before and focused with purpose on the great opportunities ahead. As I reflect on this idea, a question emerged and perhaps a challenge for each of us to consider:

How will you inspire the patient experience movement in the year ahead?

I pose this question with the hope that actions and considerations from the smallest moments of unparalleled kindness to the largest strategic triumphs all find room to take root and grow. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, but in this diversity it has strong commonalities – it causes us to feel a sense of something special and powerful. It provides a boundless energy to influence, lead, change and make a difference. This is an exciting prospect in seeing that each of us can choose to have an impact. And while no two actions will be exactly alike, I do want to offer a few thoughts on how you can continue to frame your patient experience efforts to inspire yourself and others.

As we return to the definition of patient experience, I continue to experience its relevance time-and-time again in the application of these words to central actions associated with excellence. In reviewing its words – the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions, across the continuum of care – I again see clear directions on moving your own experience efforts forward. They include:

1. Reinforce strategic focus. Patient experience has proven itself to be a relevant part of the healthcare conversation. It has surpassed the challenges of being dubbed a fad; it too has shown it has stronger legs than just serving as a policy framework. Experience is a central strategic pillar to organizational performance and success. Patient Experience in its broadest sense should be a clear and transparent component of every healthcare organization’s strategy.

2. Clarify and map your critical interactions. Experience doesn’t happen on billboards or in espoused actions, it happens at the most personal moments, at those points of engagement between one individual and another. The ultimate tool in patient experience improvement is your self, your heart, your hands and arms, your minds, your compassion and your common sense. We have a huge opportunity to map the interactions that occur on the patient path to ensure we consider the most effective way to respond at every touch point.

3. Model desired behaviors. Simply put, if interactions drive experience, then the behaviors that comprise them are the conduits that direct these interactions in one way or another. Organizational culture is shaped by behaviors, they represent the people, presence and purpose of an organization overall and no slogan, policy or program will trump the power of individual behavior. We must model, observe, coach and improve constantly to impact experience outcomes.

4. Expand your listening. As we ended 2013 exploring the Voices of Measurement, we learned that the power of data is only as valid as what we choose to do with it. Collection or reporting data for the sake of data misses the opportunity for learning and relevant action. To capitalize on the value of the voices that surround us in healthcare we must expand our listening. Experience is measured first in the direct voices of healthcare consumers, who remain our most significant mirror into our own efforts, but it is also found in the voices of our peers and colleagues. We are only capable of achieving our strategy through our people. They are much more than pawns to direct, but rather living resources accountable for ensuring excellence.

Perhaps these ideas will help spark your own thoughts on how you will choose to inspire the patient experience movement. Regardless of which direction you go, I hope you recognize the power that exists in your own personal choice and the ability to impact the experience of the person that is coming next. The year ahead can and should be about a great many things both personally and professionally. My hope is that you find you can and will be an inspiration in your efforts. This cause is too great for your efforts to be anything less. Now the question remains, what will you do? I look forward to your updates with great anticipation.

Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D.
President
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  accountability  Advocacy  body of knowledge  choice  community of practice  consumer advocacy  Continuum of Care  culture  defining patient experience  employee engagement  Field of Patient Experience  global defining patient experience  global healthcare  HCAHPS  healthcare  improving patient experience  Interaction  Interactions  patient  patient engagement  Patient Experience  service excellence  thought leadership  voice 

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Why Community Matters in Improving Patient Experience

Posted By Jason A. Wolf Ph.D. CPXP, Wednesday, March 6, 2013

They say when someone mentions a Red Beetle – the automobile version from Volkswagen or "bug” – you go from not seeing them at all to seeing them everywhere you look. In a similar fashion my recent conversations on the patient experience have raised this sense of "everywhere” awareness to the idea of community. From as recently as our March 5 webinar on patient engagement to the final interviews I just conducted for our pending paper on the Voices of Patients & Families on Patient Experience, there is a recognition that while patient experience is built on the foundation of countless personal interactions, when pulled together it is a true community issue and, I would suggest, opportunity.

The idea of community aligns strongly with the definition of patient experience that asserts patient experience crosses the entire continuum of care. I need to reinforce from the perspective we hold at the Institute this is not just the continuum within the four walls of the clinical experience, but from the very first encounters someone has with your organization to the stories they share well after their departure or discharge. Where are these stories told and where do they live beyond the boundaries of what you can control? In your communities, in the voices of people that have either had encounters with your organization or who have heard the stories, true or embellished, about what happened within your walls.

This means to provide a true experience, you must think well beyond the physical nature of your facilities or practices to recognize the experience resides in the network of people that surround and are connected to your organization, both near and far. This is at its heart, the essence of experience. As defined, experience is all that is perceived, understood and remembered. Those perceptions and memories and the stories through which they are shared are not collected at your doors, but rather they flourish in the sunlight and in the air of the streets, towns, and cities around you. The experience you provide is a community story and one you must be willing to acknowledge and address.

But I want to suggest another angle on community as well that is as equally important in all I have seen. That accomplishing the greatest in experience is a true community effort. It is not just something that can happen at admissions or discharge, or in your top performing units or departments. It must happen across the organization or system. More so I strongly believe the essence of patient experience thrives in much bigger ideas of community, which is why we have worked so hard in creating a true community of practice in The Beryl Institute itself.

I continue to be amazed by the generosity of spirit and sharing that has been afforded by the safe framework of our community. The realization that in healthcare if we are to be about the patient experience, holding our cards close to our chest or believing our "secret” process is our competitive advantage, is counter to what we are all trying to achieve. As much as I admire systems and organizations big and small for what they accomplish, I can tell you from my travels and encounters around the world, there is no one secret to success. What I have seen as the greatest resource comes back to the idea of that red beetle – community. It is in our willingness to share ideas and practice, to be open to exposing where we may have been challenged and celebrate and disseminate that which drove success, through which we can all impact patient experience.

This is not just a lesson for those in the delivery of care, but for those that support it; the resource providers and vendors, from survey companies to technology tools. It is their willingness to collaborate and share in community through which even greater things can happen. While their distinctions may be in variations of a theme in process and clearly more on level of service and the personalities involved, the reality is that they too play a part in this critical community conversation. From leadership to the frontline, from the future to patients and families themselves, it is the spirit of community and through the action of community that we can ensure the greatest in patient experience for all the patients, families and yes the very communities we serve.

As we approach Patient Experience Conference 2013, and we bring our virtual global community together physically for a few days this April, we hope that we are all reminded that it is through our connections that we have the opportunity for greatest impact. It is in our collective efforts and shared learning that we have the clearest path to success. My hope, and my vigorous invitation, is to join us, join this community and our efforts at The Beryl Institute as member or guest; as caregiver, physician, administrator, resource provider, patient or family member and to be in conversation on what we can accomplish as a community, together. The greatest of opportunities will emerge when we find our collective voice and there is so much yet to learn from one another.

Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D.
President
The Beryl Institute

Related Body of Knowledge courses: Coaching and Developing Others.

Tags:  accountability  choice  community  community of practice  culture  defining patient experience  healthcare  improving patient experience  Interaction  Leadership  Patient Experience  Patient Experience Conference  patient stories  recognition  storytelling  voice 

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All Voices Matter in Improving Patient Experience - A Reflection on Election Day

Posted By Jason A. Wolf Ph.D. CPXP, Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In some of my most recent blogsand in current publications from The Beryl Institute we have expanded the dialogue on the importance and power of voice in driving towards a positive patient experience. It is only fitting to take pause of this, as today - November 6, 2012 - in the United States represents one of the most powerful examples of the expression of voice to be found. In electing a President, citizens of the U.S. of all backgrounds and beliefs have the opportunity to be heard. The intention is that every voice regardless of how young or old, soft or loud, rich or poor has value in a broader dialogue about the greater good and direction of the country.

As I travel to healthcare organizations and engage with patients and families, caregivers and leaders, one thing stands out. It is the great alignment these individuals have in desiring and working to ensure the best care outcomes and overall experience possible. The recognition in this expanding dialogue on experience is not one of cynicism or even submission to simple performance on surveys, but one driven on the same passion and commitment to the wellbeing of our fellow human beings as those that vote to support the best in what they believe.

The common denominator in these ideas is the most critical component of all we do in healthcare, in our world of human beings caring for human beings. The power is that of voice and the voice of all, be it spoken, written, sung or signed. Healthcare organizations around the world bring people together at the most critical times of our lives – from the joys of birth, to the tears of a last breath – and this is not something any of us do alone. It takes the hearts, minds and yes, voices of many to make it work. It is the voices of patients and families in expressing their needs, but also sharing their fears and pains. It is the voices of caregivers who contribute to the best processes of care and support for one another. It is the voices of physicians who bring great insight and education along with the powerful ability to heal. It is the voices of staff that in basements, back rooms, and labs sew together the web through which the paths of care are supported. It is the voices of leaders who set visions and inspire and hold the space for all voices to truly make a difference in how we care for one another.

I had someone suggest to me once that if we allow room for all these voices, we give in to chaos at the cost of processes of care; that the input from all corners of a healthcare experience, be it acute or pediatric, ambulatory or practice-based, cause a murkiness that only leads to confusion. My response was simple, and my experiences have proven it to be true more and more each day. The chaos only exists if we fail to listen. When we get beneath what some may perceive to be noise, we realize there is a great commitment to the idea that every one is working towards the health and well being of those in care. By bringing together a symphony of voices we not only engage people, but we also expand the potential of what we can accomplish.

There is no magic formula or process for the gathering of voices. The methods and processes are rather clear, be they surveys, focus groups, advisory councils or committees for patients, staff, physicians and leadership. More important is the fact that we choose to acknowledge that all of these individuals have a voice to share and it may be in the most unsuspecting moment that the most impactful idea emerges. Perhaps in the end it is simple, that improving the patient experience is nothing more than a critical dialogue that must be fostered, nurtured and supported in ensuring that we listen and understand that each and every voice matters.

Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D.
Executive Director
The Beryl Institute

Related Body of Knowledge courses: Communication.

Tags:  accountability  choice  culture  improving patient experience  Interactions  patient engagement  Patient Experience  service excellence  voice 

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7 Steps to Accountability: A Key Ingredient in Improving Patient Experience

Posted By Jason A. Wolf Ph.D. CPXP, Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012

As I continue to visit healthcare organizations and engage with leaders globally there are clear emerging trends at the heart of effective efforts to address the patient and family experience. In my recent series of blogs I suggest we must recognize the implications of patient perceptions as a focus of our patient experience efforts. I support this by reinforcing that culture is a critical choice for organizations to consider in terms of how they look to shape those perceptions. In fact we cannot overlook the centrality of culture to the very definition of patient experience overall. I add that it is on a strong cultural foundation that we can then ensure a sense of engagement for our staff and patients.

The missing piece in this important dialogue is that of building a foundation of accountability in our healthcare organizations. It has been identified as a top issue for healthcare leaders during my On the Road visits and at our Regional Roundtable gatherings. In looking at all the suggested paths and plans to accountability some general themes emerge.

Building a basis for accountability in organizations requires a number of committed actions. Without these organizations run the risk of falling short on their defined patient experience objectives. They include:

1. Establish focused standards/expectations – Determine and clearly define what you expect in behaviors and actions as you create a culture of accountability.

2. Set clear consequences for inaction and rewards and recognition for action – Be willing to reinforce expectations consistently and use as opportunities for learning.

3. Provide learning opportunities to understand and see expectations in action – Ensure staff at all levels are clear on expected behaviors and consequences.

4. Communicate expectations, reinforcing what and why consistently and continuously– Keep expectations top of mind and be clear that these are part of who you are as an organization in every encounter.

5. Observe and evaluate staff at all levels providing feedback and/or coaching as needed – Turn actual encounters, good or bad, into learning moments and opportunities to ensure people are clear on expected behaviors and actions.

6. Execute on consequences immediately and thoughtfully – Respond rapidly when people miss the mark (or when people excel) to ensure people are aware of the importance of your expectations.

7. Revisit expectations often to ensure they meet the needs and objectives of the organization – Remember standard and expectations are dynamic and change with your organization’s needs. They must stay in tune with who you are as an organization (your values) and where you intend to go (your vision).

Accountability has been tossed around more and more in conversations today in healthcare organizations as something that leaders want to see more of. The reality is that accountability is not just something you simply expect and it just miraculously appears, it is something you must intentionally create expectations for and reinforce. As with patient experience itself, accountability needs a plan in order to ensure effective execution.

I often speak of patient experience efforts as a choice; one that requires rigorous work. This is overcoming something I call the performance paradox, which helps us recognize that many things we see as simple, clear and understandable are not always easy, trouble-free and painless to do. Yet I would suggest we have no other choice. As a positive patient experience is something we owe to our patients and their families in our healthcare settings, creating and sustaining a culture of accountability is something we actually owe to our staff in supporting their ability to create unparalleled experience.

Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D.
Executive Director
The Beryl Institute

Related Body of Knowledge courses: Coaching and Developing Others.

Tags:  accountability  choice  culture  defining patient experience  employee engagement  HCAHPS  improving patient experience  patient  patient engagement  Patient Experience  perception  Regional Roundtable  service excellence 

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7 Steps to Accountability: A Key Ingredient in Improving Patient Experience

Posted By Jason A. Wolf Ph.D. CPXP, Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012

As I continue to visit healthcare organizations and engage with leaders globally there are clear emerging trends at the heart of effective efforts to address the patient and family experience. In my recent series of blogs I suggest we must recognize the implications of patient perceptions as a focus of our patient experience efforts. I support this by reinforcing that culture is a critical choice for organizations to consider in terms of how they look to shape those perceptions. In fact we cannot overlook the centrality of culture to the very definition of patient experience overall. I add that it is on a strong cultural foundation that we can then ensure a sense of engagement for our staff and patients.

The missing piece in this important dialogue is that of building a foundation of accountability in our healthcare organizations. It has been identified as a top issue for healthcare leaders during my On the Road visits and at our Regional Roundtable gatherings. In looking at all the suggested paths and plans to accountability some general themes emerge.

Building a basis for accountability in organizations requires a number of committed actions. Without these organizations run the risk of falling short on their defined patient experience objectives. They include:

  1. Establish focused standards/expectations – Determine and clearly define what you expect in behaviors and actions as you create a culture of accountability.
  2. Set clear consequences for inaction and rewards and recognition for action – Be willing to reinforce expectations consistently and use as opportunities for learning.
  3. Provide learning opportunities to understand and see expectations in action – Ensure staff at all levels are clear on expected behaviors and consequences.
  4. Communicate expectations, reinforcing what and why consistently and continuously – Keep expectations top of mind and be clear that these are part of who you are as an organization in every encounter.
  5. Observe and evaluate staff at all levels providing feedback and/or coaching as needed – Turn actual encounters, good or bad, into learning moments and opportunities to ensure people are clear on expected behaviors and actions.
  6. Execute on consequences immediately and thoughtfully – Respond rapidly when people miss the mark (or when people excel) to ensure people are aware of the importance of your expectations.
  7. Revisit expectations often to ensure they meet the needs and objectives of the organization – Remember standard/expectations are dynamic and change with your organization’s needs. They must stay in tune with who you are as an organization (your values) and where you intend to go (your vision).

Accountability has been tossed around more and more in conversations today in healthcare organizations as something that leaders want to see more of. The reality is that accountability is not just something you simply expect and it just miraculously appears, it is something you must intentionally create expectations for and reinforce. As with patient experience itself, accountability needs a plan in order to ensure effective execution.

I often speak of patient experience efforts as a choice; one that requires rigorous work. This is overcoming something I call the performance paradox, which helps us recognize that many things we see as simple, clear and understandable are not always easy, trouble-free and painless to do. Yet I would suggest we have no other choice. As a positive patient experience is something we owe to our patients and their families in our healthcare settings, creating and sustaining a culture of accountability is something we actually owe to our staff in supporting their ability to create unparalleled experience.

Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D.

Tags:  accountability  choice  culture  defining patient experience  employee engagement  HCAHPS  improving patient experience  patient  patient engagement  Patient Experience  perception  Regional Roundtable  service excellence 

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