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Patient Experience: A Global Conversation

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Thursday, May 4, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 4, 2017

I am writing this blog as we wrap up the 2017 Patient Experience Symposium in Sydney. The event, a collaboration among healthcare and consumer organizations in Australia committed to engaging in and expanding the conversation on patient experience, comes on the heels of an incredible Patent Experience Week where we saw organizations from around the globe celebrating those committed to excellence in patient experience. In that same period, we had the release of the latest issue of Patient Experience Journal (PXJ) that brought together perspectives from around the world and is now read in over 190 countries and territories.

As I reflect on just these last few days, they represent a significant statement about where the patient experience movement is going. They also offer us some perspective on the opportunity we have before us and the efforts we must consider in moving to action overall. The experience movement that bloomed in the last decade and that some called a fad that would soon pass or an idea that would be obscured by shifting policy focus or diluted by competing priorities, instead has found itself expanding with purpose.

As Jane Cummings, CNO England wrote in her commentary in the latest PXJ, “the global dialogue on patient experience will become even more important, as we recognise that despite differences in design and operation, the challenges our health systems face and the focus on what matters most to patients are shared.” This recognition that we are moving to a macro effort, acknowledging the reality of our own individual systemic constraints not as impediments, but perhaps learning points to be leveraged is where opportunity calls us. In looking across systems boundaries and peeling back policy layers, we reveal fundamentals that rest solidly at the heart of the experience conversation. These ideas were reinforced in the latest State of Patient Experience data just released during Patient Experience Conference 2017.

  1. Experience must remain an integrated focus on quality, safety, service and more. To provide the best in experience and effect positive change, we can no longer force boundaries between these efforts in the face that they are all part of what patients, families and consumers encounter.
  2. The fastest growing area of focus for organizations in addressing experience is employee engagement. This rapid rise in both recognition of and focus on staff needs in the healthcare ecosystem is fundamental and significant. The idea that we must take care of ourselves to take care of others, is not just motherly advice, but sound strategic thinking in a business where we are human beings caring for human beings.
  3. In finding employee engagement at the heart of all we do, it is forever intertwined with the engagement of patients and family members as partners in this work, not only in their own care plans, but in the very work we must do to redesign our systems of care, co-design new processes and better understand the needs of those we serve. My visit this last two weeks in Australia and the opportunity to engage with both the consumer councils in New South Wales and Western Australia reinforced the critical point that patients, family and community members are partners in and consumers of care. This idea spans our globe and must be central to any actions we take.

In all that I had the chance to see and learn during my last 10 days in Australia, what was shared over PX Week and is part of the ongoing patient experience conversation, not only are these core ideas central across time zones, there are core practices that follow as well. These include ideas such as the intentional collection of actionable data – both through formal survey methods and now more so in real time to address critical issues and build cases for change, interdisciplinary rounds and bedside shift reports and handoffs, creating formal structures and processes for engaging patients and families on councils, boards and committees and expanding how staff and employees can provide feedback and contribute to improvements.

In finding core ideas and common ground, we must also acknowledge the work of patient experience is not easy work. It is not something we master simply by creating checklists or wrangle with protocols. It is something that requires strategic commitment, an openness to collaboration and sharing and perhaps most of all an acknowledgement that we are all in this effort together. There is a global conversation taking place on patient experience, one focused on creating the best healthcare systems driving the best results on all corners of our globe.

We must now be willing to share wildly and steal willingly in order to learn from one another and improve. That is our greatest and most critical opportunity and one we should not take lightly. We are in a unique and opportune moment in healthcare, for as an industry in serving those in front of us, we can and will bring this world closer. It is a conversation I am honored to be a part of and one I, and I hope each of you, will strive every day to champion.

 

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

Tags:  collaboration  community of practice  employee engagement  global  partnership  patient and family engagement  patient experience week  state of patient experience 

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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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The State of Patient Experience: A Global Inquiry for Local Action

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Earlier this week in a webinar hosted by the Institute, I shared thoughts on why patient experience matters now more than ever. At a time when policy uncertainty hangs in the air, there must not be any uncertainty about the importance of a commitment to experience and the actions required to ensure it remains at the heart of what we do in healthcare. We have a collective responsibility to ensure the strategies, practices and processes necessary to drive experience excellence continue with unwavering commitment. We too must underline and be willing to speak to the impact a focus on experience can and does provide.

This focus is what is guiding the strategic intent of The Beryl Institute as we look to ensure the human experience is the heart of healthcare around the globe and is grounded in the very efforts we not only look to take on ourselves, but also encourage others to explore. We are at a critical time where we must gather evidence, reinforce value, provide grounded research and share efforts in ways that help people act with confidence and support leaders in making strong and committed choices.

This is not a time for passivity; in simply accepting consumerism has arrived or that a focus on value has become central to our efforts. Rather those committed to experience in healthcare must be doing more; not just to achieve individual and organizational outcomes, but to support an expanding dialogue that ensures all corners of healthcare commit to and reflect in their actions the principles central to an industry which at its core is about human beings caring for human beings.

With that call to action, I asked four questions of those listening. These questions were more than a cause for reflection. Rather I see them as an opportunity to plot a course forward for each of us engaging in the experience movement. I provide them here to both encourage your own consideration, but also to invite your comments. I hope you will share what you plan to do.

  • How will you reinforce the importance of experience in your work and/or as a consumer of care?
  • What top issues are most critical to you in this effort and how will you elevate them as a focus for your work?
  • How will you support others in standing as champions for experience excellence?
  • How will we expand the experience conversation to change healthcare for the better?

In this, the experience era, a fundamental commitment must be a readiness to share wildly and steal willingly. This means we must not only try new things, and whether succeed or fail share our lessons learned, but we must also search out other’s ideas and see how they fit, challenge or complement our own. This free flow of evidence, of practice, and of thinking is what will strengthen the capacity of all focused on experience across the healthcare continuum. It is what grounds our ability to achieve all we aspire to in providing the best outcomes possible. It is also this sense of sharing that underlines our biggest research endeavor at the Institute – our State of Patient Experience Study.

It is time once again for you to share your voice and encourage others to do the same in our 4th biennial study. I invite and ask each of you to not only participate in this year’s exploration, but also share this opportunity with your colleagues and peers. We look to gather input from organizations across the continuum of care, perspective from consumers of healthcare and insights from around the world to best understand both the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ that are driving experience efforts today. This commitment to taking action and sharing your voice is critical to this endeavor and I do hope you will participate. You can get started by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/StateofPX2017. We will share the initial findings of this year’s study at the opening of Patient Experience Conference 2017.

In concluding our 2015 study I wrote, “In our patient experience movement and in the data that frame its efforts, we are not just seeing incremental movement, but fundamental shifts in behavior, practice and perspective. We are experiencing a shift in the very habits of the people and organizations in healthcare. We are seeing an alignment around the idea that patient experience matters.” It is the very efforts that every one of you are taking on, helping lead or encouraging others to tackle that is inspiring this possibility. That in recognizing experience matters, now more than ever our global understanding can drive local action. In doing so we are staying true to our commitment in providing the best experience possible for all those in or affected by healthcare around our world. Thank you in advance for your input and contribution.

Again, you can begin the survey here: http://bit.ly/StateofPX2017

 

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

Tags:  benchmarking  commitment  global  healthcare policy  human experience  inquiry  matters  movement  research  state of patient experience 

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A Research Agenda for Patient Experience Excellence

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

As we continue our work at The Beryl Institute in moving the patient experience conversation from one at the fringes of healthcare just a few years ago to a central discussion point in healthcare globally today, we remain committed to developing a true field of practice for this work. This idea, of building a field and framing a profession, requires some fundamental cornerstones be put in place. This includes a professional community from which ideas are percolated and connections are made, a foundational and widely supported body of knowledge that drives professional alignment, a process for identifying and certifying those formal professionals in the field and a solid grounding in research from both an academic and practitioner perspective.

The community is represented by the over 35,000 of you around the world actively involved in accessing and engaging with resources of The Beryl Institute. The Body of Knowledge continues to find great value and expanding reach now through not only a conceptual framework, but also 15 full courses and the ability to achieve certificates of completion for coursework in Patient Experience Leadership and Patient Advocacy. Formal certification is now available through The Beryl Institute’s sister organization – Patient Experience Institute (PXI) – with the inaugural offering of the Certified Patient Experience Professional exam later this year. The first class of CPXPs, our profession’s pioneers, will be announced early next year. All of these efforts have been born from the contributions of hundreds of voices across our global community.

The last cornerstone builds on this idea of community contribution. It is a focus on rigorous research, and the importance of expanding the research agenda for patient experience. This has been building over the 5-year history of The Beryl Institute; first with the establishment of the Patient Experience Grant Program in June of 2010 (applications for the 2015 Grant and Scholar programs are open now), followed by the launch of the open access, peer-reviewed, Patient Experience Journal (PXJ) in April of 2014 (the next call for submissions closes January 2016), and lastly through PXI’s expanding philanthropic outreach to establish even greater support of research efforts (opportunities to donate will soon be available).

This type of reflective thinking, is seen in such government-supported programs as the groundbreaking comparative effectiveness work found at The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), whose mandate is specifically "to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, clinicians, employers, insurers, and policy makers make informed health decisions.” It is also seen in many of the recent efforts supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and their focus on patient and family engagement.

And while there are even other efforts taking place, I still believe we have a significant opportunity to tackle the real tangible nature of the human experience in healthcare itself. The essence of these opportunities is reflected in the patient experience grants, in recent journal articles found in PXJ and elsewhere. When I look to the definition of patient experience itself and the simple, yet intricate nature of the key concepts such as interactions, organization culture, perceptions and cross continuum issues, all linked to outcomes and driven by safe, quality-focused, high reliability, service-driven efforts, there are incredible variables to explore at each point on the continuum of care and across all segments of the healthcare experience. This reaches from chronic illnesses to primary care encounters, long-term residential issues to rural settings or underserved populations. Underlying it all is the nature of human dignity and respect we all know is central to providing the best in healthcare overall.

To drive these ideas, we need to continue to frame, refresh and execute on a robust, thoughtful and I dare say edgy research agenda for patient experience. This is not research to just validate the usefulness of new solutions, but rigorous explorations of what practices, processes, systems, behaviors, communication styles, engagement efforts, tactics and tools not only show promise, but lead to lasting and sustained positive outcomes.

I ask you as the patient experience community what it is that we need to be asking, exploring and proving on we move forward. Are there practices you have taken for granted we could test? How can we explore key elements of the Guiding Principles for Patient Experience Excellence and determine which have the greatest impact, what that looks like and where we should focus our efforts first? How can you partner with your own vendors and resource providers to test new solutions? Or perhaps I will push you even further…how can we as a community come together to provide global insights into many other questions. Our biennial Benchmarking Study represents the kind of opportunity we have at hand to explore ideas both locally and around the world in identifying new concepts that can and should push our thinking in the realm of patient experience overall.

If we are to continue our endeavor in not just shaping, but solidifying and expanding a true field of practice and a profession that can positively influence outcomes for years to come, what questions should we be asking? What should we include in our PX research agenda? I look forward to your thoughts and commit to pulling together these ideas so we can collectively engage and continue to push the patient experience movement forward together. We now just need the right questions to ask.

 

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

Tags:  collaboration  community  global  patient experience  research 

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