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The Beryl Institute Patient Experience Blog
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We the People: Why Patient Experience Must Be the Foundation of Healthcare Policy

Posted By Jason A. Wolf Ph.D. CPXP, Thursday, July 6, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Two things have become central to all I see, say and share in engaging in discussions on the patient experience globally: one, that ALL voices matter, and two, that in healthcare we are human beings caring for human beings. These ideas while simple in concept also provide for all that is complex in healthcare. They have implications in both the delivery of care and in the design of the policies and systems that support the delivery of care.

As we think about the delivery of care, the provision of care at a personal level, the idea of experience – of quality, safe and service focused encounters grounded in dignity and respect and driven by communication, partnership and knowledge – is a natural fit. As citizens of our planet, as people who choose our points of focus from ideals, beliefs and/or faith, we have been taught and encouraged to treat others as we hope to be treated and to act with compassion as we engage in caring for others.

Yet, as we get to the level of policy and the systems that both support and yes, constrain, our capacity to create environments of caring, we have a much greater opportunity. In instilling the ideas of all voices, not only do we add perspective, but we by default introduce potentially perpendicular ideas. As we author policy and adapt structures that circumscribe the humanity at the heart of healthcare, we create both clearer pathways and opportunities for obstacles. It is in the midst of this noise that we must find and mold the material needed to positively frame the human experience in healthcare.

It is pertinent to explore this idea during a week where we saw both Canada Day in Canada and Independence Day in the United States. As we explore the roots of these two great democracies, or of any democratic society around the world, there may be no more important concept than the first three words found in the United States Constitution – We the People. Democracies by their very nature favor equal rights, freedom of speech and support the ability to raise conflicting perspectives. Therefore democracy, the idea of citizenship, of partnership, of equality, underlines the idea at the core of patient experience that all voices matter. Yet often, for people of all political beliefs and perspectives, for those who engage in healthcare from the aging, to those with chronic disease, family caregivers, to concerned parents and even for those who have yet to have a serious medical encounter, it feels as if the “system” and the policies that dictate its actions have forgotten them.

This idea that We the People have a voice that matters in healthcare is more relevant now than in any other time, not just in this period of policy change in the United States, but in how people view healthcare globally. This understanding of the criticality of the moment spurred a call to action by a group of committed leaders who have been listening to patients and peers, leaders and policy makers and recognized a great opportunity existed. If efforts were going to be more than just claiming to be “patient centric” and instead actually worked to engage the voices that are impacted by policy itself, then voices had to be raised, issues identified and actions taken.

This belief led to the initial idea of what has emerged as the Patient Experience Policy Forum (PXPF). The PXPF originated in 2016 through a series of conversations among a group of patient experience leaders and patient and family advocates who recognized the growing imperative to influence and help shape policy at the national and state levels on issues that directly affect the patient and family experience. The group and a growing number of individuals who have fostered its initial growth believed it was time to move the conversation on experience excellence beyond practice to address the policies and systems that were impediments to and encourage and support those that were supportive of the very principles all strive for in delivering care.

PXPF has quickly moved from concept to reality in establishing itself as a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy and action to give a greater voice in healthcare policy to those working to improve the patient and family experience. It just announced last week that it will hold its inaugural meeting this September 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. PXPF will be working to advocate for policies and systems that will:

  • Advance Patient and Family Partnership
  • Elevate the Value Case
  • Improve Patient-Centered Measurement and Reporting
  • Strengthen Systems for Patient Involvement
  • Expand Professional Education and Support
  • Reduce Disparities

I invite you to explore the inaugural event of PXPF, share this opportunity with your peers and consider ways in which you can engage either in person or in an ongoing nature.

There is a reality in healthcare that we cannot overlook. That for as much as the conversation today, especially in the United States, is about the issues and challenges of insurance companies and/or constraints placed on provider organizations, those impacted by policy, especially those experiencing healthcare itself must not be left from this conversation. There are many organizations today doing great work advocating for specific diseases or segments of the population, but what is deemed missing is the idea that at the heart of all we do in healthcare, we must return to the human experience. If we believe fundamentally that caring for our fellow citizens, and in particular their health, matters, if we believe that ‘We the People’ matters, then we cannot waver in ensuring that patient experience must be the foundation of healthcare policy. I hope you will join us in this endeavor.

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

Tags:  equity  experience era  healthcare  healthcare policy  improving patient experience  Patient Experience  patient experience policy forum  PXPF 

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Reaffirming the Core Values of Patient Experience

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Friday, February 3, 2017
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2017

The idea that healthcare is, at its core, about human beings caring for human beings is not a new or surprising notion, but the foundations of this concept seem more relevant today for all the challenges we in healthcare, and now in many ways those beyond, are working to overcome. As we look to where the experience movement has come from to where it is rapidly moving, we find it is grounded in the fundamentals of all that is right and good at the core of our humanity. The patient experience in healthcare is ultimately the human experience. It is encountered in every healthcare interaction and impacts and is affected by not just those receiving care, but by all engaged in ensuring it is delivered with the utmost in quality, safety and service.

I have watched the recent events taking place both in the United States and around the world with both great curiosity and some concern. The first words used to define patient experience – the sum of all interactions – may be no more important now as we work to not only be cognizant of the interactions we each have, but also to reinforce the power that exists in ensuring positive interactions are at the core of all we do. These interactions, as the definition continues, are shaped by the very culture we create and espouse in the organizations and systems we build and sustain. And this culture must be grounded in the values we hold true in guiding our decisions and framing our actions.

It seemed now was an appropriate and important time to reinforce and reaffirm the core values we introduced in late 2015 that have been central to our work at The Beryl Institute. We have also continued to find these values implicitly at work in the many organizations striving to achieve experience excellence overall. With all that is pushing and pulling at us in recent days, as people ponder the future of healthcare policy and practice and as we consider the broader implications on human connectivity, it seemed time to reiterate both our commitment to these values, as well as call on all committed to this work, and to the greater human experience, to reflect on what these ideas truly mean. I list our values below with my thoughts on their importance today:

  • ACCESSIBILITY. I have always believed in a focus on experience as in life we have a great opportunity with a mindset of abundance.  Accessibility is about fairness and equity, about providing opportunity and the ability to connect to information and people, and to do so in a way that removes barriers to and actively encourages engagement and a free exchange of ideas.
  • AGILITY. In a world that is no longer measured by years or even months, but rather pushed on one side by rapid increases in technology and on the other by ceaseless waves of information, people and the organizations they comprise must be anything but static in thought, process or action. It is no longer about readiness to change, but the ability to be changing always, while ensuring consistency to your commitments and desired outcomes.
  • INNOVATION. The same pressures that call for our agility require we no longer look backward for how things can, have or should be done. In listening, exploring, doing and being willing to fail we push the very boundaries that could otherwise restrain our ability to move with (and if intentional in our efforts, lead) the very changes we need.
  • INCLUSIVITY. This idea at the heart of experience may be no more critical than today. From all voices matter in patient experience to underlining all voices matter, perspectives have value, diversity adds flavor and difference catalyzes opportunities for even greater outcomes. We cannot and must not let fear or worse, lack of understanding, cause us to shrink from one another when it is the very interactions we create, engage in and encourage that will remain fundamental to the human experience. On this we must remain steadfast.
  • COLLABORATION. At the roots of the Institute itself was the belief that if we are willing to share our ideas openly, without hesitation, we would reap greater returns than we could working alone in the dark. This idea of connection has been essential to our own growth and exemplifies a great opportunity we still have overall. If we all believe we are here for an ultimate goal, be it experience excellence, or something greater, it calls on us to find the bridges that lead us to connection and opportunity, not the chasms that seed distinctions, misunderstanding and missed possibility.

We are at an exciting time in the experience movement. I believe we are entering an experience era that reinforces all that is good about what each and every one of you strive to do each day in working to personally heal and/or provide healing for others. In each of our personal journeys is a great opportunity to travel this path with not only an understanding of ourselves, but perhaps more so with an unwavering commitment to others. In reaffirming the values we hold true to patient experience, we are making a statement about all we believe is right and good as human beings caring for human beings around the world. That must remain our cause.

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

Tags:  collaboration  commitment  community of practice  connection  culture  experience era  global  healthcare policy  policy  values 

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It is Time for the Experience Era

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Thursday, May 5, 2016
Updated: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Just three weeks ago as we gathered at Patient Experience Conference 2016 I challenged our participants and the public watching us live that this is our moment in patient experience. If we look to make the kind of change we believe is needed in our new healthcare world, we must work to ensure the conversation on patient experience now rests at the heart of healthcare itself.

This commitment to experience requires a macro-perspective and one I continue to reinforce every chance I can. Patient (and family, resident, elder, etc.) experience is not just about satisfaction or even essential efforts such as patient engagement or approaches such as patient- and family-centeredness. Rather experience is ALL someone has in their encounter with a healthcare organization, be it in a clinical setting at the bedside or exam room, scheduling an appointment, engaging with a bill, and even communicating with a friend at a community event or while at the local market. Every one of these interactions shape the experience someone has, they shape the story someone carries with them about it and influences their perceptions and ultimately their actions.

The bottom line is that in your healthcare organization and the thousands around the world that are engaging with or attending to the needs of their customers right now, you are providing an experience. The question is, are you strategically planning for and addressing it? In a consumer driven healthcare world, regardless of national system, policy incentives or other supports or constraints, the ultimate opportunity is to ensure experience is not simply left to chance. Rather it should be part of the very fiber of your organization, representing the kind of encounters you hope to provide and the outcomes you look to achieve. Yes, at its core, experience encompasses all we tackle in healthcare from quality, safety and service interactions to the implications of cost and the influence that outcomes have on public, systemic and personal health decisions.

I also believe as the experience movement coalesces around these core ideas it has the opportunity to stand with conviction, grounded in evidence, to declare that experience drives the very outcomes we look to achieve in healthcare: clinical outcomes, financial results, consumer loyalty and community reputation. In the latest issue of Patient Experience Journal, I offer, "An investment in a strong and positive patient experience is the leading choice you can and should be making in healthcare today. The results of this decision will only lead to even greater and lasting results.”

This then may be our simple, yet significant call to action. That we recognize and act on the reality that experience encompasses all we do in healthcare and drives the outcomes we aspire to. In that light it brings us to reflect on a new era in healthcare. Thanks to insights from Don Berwick in challenging us to consider a third (what he calls the moral) era, I hope to push us further. Beyond just acknowledging the operational considerations he suggests as we look at how healthcare as a system progresses, we too must look at healthcare for all it was intended to and still must strive to accomplish. It is time to place the human experience back at the heart of healthcare. It is time for the experience era.

The experience era calls us to consider 8 fundamental actions:

  • Acknowledge experience is a global movement
  • Recognize experience encompasses all we do
  • Remember in experience all voices matter
  • Focus on value from the perspective of the consumer
  • Ensure transparency for accessibility & understanding
  • Measure & incent what matters
  • Share wildly and steal willingly
  • Reignite our commitment to purpose

If we move forward with purpose and choose to align our efforts with an experience mindset, we not only welcome the experience era; we reignite the heart of healthcare itself. With a focus on those we care for and serve and a commitment to those who provide care and support those efforts every day, we can build the most healthy and vibrant system of care the world has ever seen. It will take all voices to do this, all nations to commit, all systems to realign themselves and all organizations to focus their intention. It will take all of us to make the choice that experience matters and then act. That is the opportunity we now have in front of us…I am ready for our first steps forward together.

 

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

Tags:  aligning efforts  commitment  encounters  experience era  interaction  movement  Patient Experience Conference  purpose  value 

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