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

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

It is hard to believe that it has been just over eight weeks since the COVID-19 crisis truly hit global proportion. On March 13, with soaring cases in Europe, Asia in lockdown and Africa, Australia and the Americas bracing for the wave, I offered in announcing the reformatting of Patient Experience Conference 2020, “We stand together to tackle this health crisis in a way that ensures the best outcomes, the greatest of dignity and respect, and the human experience it deserves.” I know we can say with confidence that in the weeks since that time, while they feel like years, the humanity at the heart of healthcare has shown its true power and unmistakable presence.

 

What this time has also shown us is that with challenges, we have responded with agility and speed to innovation. We too can also see that things will not be the same for a while and most likely forever. The idea has been proposed by some that we are entering a “new normal,” and while a term easy to grasp, there is nothing “normal” about what we are facing. Normal suggests a new “typical state or condition.” But the moment in which we find ourselves now and the moments to follow will not be steady. They will rapidly evolve and dynamically shift; we will ultimately find ourselves in a New Existence. Existence is not a state, but rather a way of living and being, driven by survival and a commitment to do what is right and true.

 

In this New Existence much of what we espoused and worked so hard to put in place in healthcare and for the human experience before this crisis will remain essential. At the same time, this moment has revealed cracks and systemic weaknesses for healthcare globally reinforcing the forward thinking that living in a New Existence will take. More so, there are actions that a New Existence has called on us to take already, will ask of us to reinforce and sustain and to create and evolve. For this reason, guided by the voices of our community at The Beryl Institute, we are undertaking the New Existence Project.

 

This effort is focused on generating what we think a New Existence will look like, what it will call on us to do in practice, process and policy and what it will ask of us as people in moving healthcare forward. The process will be one in which the voices of the community shape the ideas and outcomes. It will be informed by and aligned with the Future of Human Experience 2030 (HX2030) effort currently underway with the Institute. It will be built on the input of an international steering team with validation and input via community conversations and a global survey. It will ultimately work to align disparate efforts in collecting practices and process and advocating for policy and programs that will ensure the human experience at the heart of healthcare remains strong.

 

Some of the most practical efforts for a New Existence are clear and already in process in various forms. In particular for healthcare, we will be called to:

  • Rebuild consumer confidence and address the fears and needs of patients and families
  • Recharge our workforce to address issues of stress, trauma and burnout
  • Rebalance models of care where virtual care is more widely accepted and expected
  • Reinstate responsible access and visitation policies that balance clinical and personal needs
  • Refresh our capacity as we prepare for any resurgence of cases


And more ideas will emerge in these conversations as we get underway this week. We ask you to keep your eyes open for the opportunity to contribute soon.

 

I have always believed there are structural opportunities in healthcare that we have, in pieces and parts, been working to stitch together. This crisis has made those vulnerabilities real in ways that we can only say are heartbreaking. But from this tragedy, we can and will find and build on hope and possibility. That is what we intend to do as we look at a New Existence together.

 

Ultimately through our shared effort to co-create a New Existence, we will:

  • Ensure the voices of all engaged in healthcare are heard, respected and acted on for what matters to them
  • Advocate for and act to sustain practices, processes, and policies that have supported experience excellence
  • Address the systemic issues that undermine our capacity to support the health and well-being of all global citizens
  • Co-create a future in which new possibilities sprout from the deep roots of human experience

 

So, I ask you not to accept a new normal but stand for and act with us on a New Existence. Your voices, your ideas, your actions and your lessons already captured and learned will all contribute to an elevation of efforts committed to the humanity at the heart of healthcare. When we acknowledge that healthcare experience is all someone encounters from quality and safety, from service to spirituality, from billboards to billing and more, in all aspects of our care system, then we can truly walk forward together. Our shared commitment through this endeavor will ensure we do just that.

 

I hope you will join us on the journey.

 

UPDATES June 5, 2020

Listen to replay of the New Existence Community Conversation: https://www.theberylinstitute.org/page/CmmtyBriefing052920

Participate in the New Existence Global Inquiry (through June 12): https://theberylinstitute.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1B60hb7kMCrEkol

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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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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Expanding the Possibility of Human Experience - A Conversation with David Feinberg, MD, VP Healthcare, Google Health

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP, Thursday, March 7, 2019

In 2011 when the Institute was still learning to crawl as a community committed to improving patient experience, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. David Feinberg. He attended our first Patient Experience Conference at the Institute with his team from UCLA, where he was CEO at the time, and offered a powerful keynote on the power of leadership, culture and presence. He told a powerful and compelling story grounded in the very humanity of our healthcare system, of the potential at its core and of the possibility ahead for our healthcare organizations to ensure we took the next steps in elevating the care in healthcare.

Our connection has been maintained through the intervening years via On the Road visits and roundtables, shared panels and Grand Rounds, all the while through our friendship we realized often implicitly we were working to do something bigger for healthcare. That story of connection, that idea of commitment to purpose, that alignment around possibility and the humanity of healthcare frames the core ideas that have been the foundation for the Institute on our journey. It is these connections, these opportunities for learning, these shared commitments that makes this community a unique, innovative and safe place.

It is what also led us to my latest opportunity to connect with Dr. Feinberg as we launch a new offering from the Institute, The Beryl Institute’s To Care is Human podcast series. What was an opportunity to connect turned into a rich and robust conversation on the current state of affairs in healthcare and the opportunities we have ahead. While I won’t share everything we discussed (you can listen to the full podcast and access the transcript), I will offer a few reflections on what we discussed and how it frames the experience trajectory on which healthcare now finds itself.

 

Healthcare should be here to help

For the expertise on which healthcare is built, we cannot forget its purpose. It is not just about operational efficiencies, though we need them. It is not just about process improvements, though we aspire to realize them. It is not just about clinical excellence, though we must expect it. Rather it is around the needs of those that seek care to feel helped, cared for and understood. How do we ensure our systems can deliver on that human need? As Dr. Feinberg offered, “What we'd like the healthcare system to do is to say, we've been expecting you, we're ready to take you in, put our arms around you, and love you, and get you all the right stuff that you need to make the right decisions. That to me is the experience that we're trying to create every time for every patient.”

 

We must address the issues of healthcare systemically

So much of what we have done to improve healthcare has dispersed versus aligned our efforts. Games of improvement whack-a-mole, internal battles over constrained resources in protection of our operational silos have not done service to what healthcare can be. Rather than disparate, competing or even redundant efforts, we must strive to look at the needs of those healthcare serves and those who serve in healthcare as one opportunity for excellence. This applies to improving clinical quality and safety or overall experience, tackling burnout and fatigue and even financial challenges. And it stems from larger systemic and population health issues, not simply those confined to organizational boundaries.

 Dr. Feinberg suggested, “I see burnout as something different. Burnout started (and continues today) because doctors couldn't get things they needed for their patients.” He noted that if the circumstances around us prohibit our ability to do the work of healthcare, that may be our biggest impediment. If we cannot take care of the broader circumstances that impact experience and outcomes, we will continuously be spinning our wheels. He added, “To me, burnout is (tackled by) actually addressing the social determinants of health for those we care for. [This] will decrease the burnout of our providers.” Yes, we still need to ensure effective and efficient systems to support care, but [let’s] ensure “patients come first. Let's take care of them, and let's give our caregivers all the tools they need to be able to deliver on that care.” If we get that right, we are laying the groundwork for the best in overall outcomes.

Healthcare is fundamentally relational

 If healthcare is about helping and our ability to think systemically, it calls for us to change the way we think about how we operate. As a system built on task, checklists, and protocol, healthcare has become a primarily transactional system. This was done with purpose, but at what cost? As the largest people-facing industry in the world (for patient and consumers of care alike) the expectations as we have discussed are to support the relational nature of care. As a transactional healthcare system, we have attempted to bolster our transactions with relational practices to make it feel more personal, but rather our opportunity is in creating a relational system, and then working to find the best transactions to ensure that that relational system is effective. This idea summarizes much of how Dr. Feinberg has led in his two previous organizations. Dr. Feinberg added, “[Healthcare is] people caring for people, and if we give them the right tools, and get them the right caregivers, it's an incredibly rewarding occupation. I think you could put it up there as one of the most rewarding. If we can get that system to hum, I think bi-directionally, people will feel cared for. Those caregivers will feel also cared for because you just get to really enjoy very intimate parts of people's lives.”

Healthcare must ultimately be about keeping people healthy

If we are helping, with a systemic perspective and relational intent, then our ultimate calling is to keep people healthy. Keeping people healthy is about a focus on well-being, around changing the systems and structures of health and about access and affordability to care and services that can impact longer term care issues. If we separate out social determinants of health or population issues as something else we do outside of caring and the experience we provide we minimize voices, we shrink the possibilities of experience and we limit the ultimate capacity of care.

Dr. Feinberg supported this idea in sharing, “I'm a believer in customers. I just think it's really crucial to have that mindset to make things much better for those that we care for. I believe that when we talk about patients, it almost, by definition, means that our healthcare system only takes care of you when you're sick. So what do we call you when you're not sick? When we still could be taking care of you and preventing you from getting sick? Then are you a person, are you a customer? To me, those words are really important, [but] if we keep only focusing on "patients", we're only going to continue a sick care system. Instead of really talking about keeping people healthy.”

 

Healthcare experience remains at the “N of 1”

This idea that we have an opportunity to reimagine healthcare as a system that keeps people healthy as a means to ensure the best in human experience is significant in its simplicity. In many ways it feels the weight of the systems we have built in healthcare is the primary impediment to our capacity in healthcare to do what we know is needed and right. Yet if we can collectively recognize this challenge, we should be able to collectively address it. It feels as if much of the journey we have been on has been to elevate just that conversation. It is also the reality that for all the evidence we seek in the science of healthcare, the ultimate sample size we have is the “n of 1”. Human experience happens at the point of interaction of one person to another. This also means that anyone, in any place in our healthcare system globally can make a difference right now.

Dr. Feinberg reinforces this point in saying, “Often times I get asked the question, ‘You know, the CEO of my hospital doesn't think like you, [so what do we do?]" My answer is, wait a second, wait a second. There is a patient right in front of you. There's a clinic you're responsible for, there's a team you're working with. Everybody can fix this. You start with one patient. If you do it with one patient, it will have a ripple effect. Don't use excuses that your system doesn't think this way. You can think this way yourself. No one is going to stop you, and so you have this opportunity to do this stuff in your own little ecosystem. Even if those people up in the [c-suite] aren't talking the same language. Don't wait to take care of people.”

That may be the essence of human experience in itself. As Dr. Feinberg shared, “Don’t wait to take care of people.” And I would reinforce that this is not just those you care for, but those you work with and the communities you serve. Our capacity in this health system we have created is grounded on the possibilities we create between people. While the science may be miraculous, the humanity at the heart of healthcare is where the magic truly occurs. It is incumbent upon us to realize the opportunity we have as the dynamic evolution of healthcare will continue to gain speed. If healthcare is to realize its ultimate role as a place that exemplifies the pinnacle of human experience, and I dare say it should, these ideas will be central to our next steps. In an attention to helping and a systemic view, in a focus on the relational and a commitment to health, with a recognition that the person right in front of you is where you have the greatest opportunity right now to make the biggest difference, that is where the possibility of human experience is found. That is where the possibility of healthcare is rooted as well.

Dr. Feinberg’s generous spirit, vision and commitment to what is possible is inspiring, but as he has taught me, it is about what we all do with those seeds of inspiration that will have the greatest impact. I look forward to where it will lead us and am so grateful to Dr. Feinberg for our conversation and his commitment to this cause. Now is the time we all must sow the seeds of possibility.

> Listen to The Beryl Institute's To Care is Human Podcast Series
> Download the transcript

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

Tags:  burnout  conference  health  human experience  podcast 

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Healthcare’s 10 Year Challenge: Reflecting on the Past Decade in Patient Experience

Posted By Deanna Frings, Thursday, February 7, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Recently Facebook challenged its users to post a current and a ten-year-old photo of themselves side by side. While I didn’t participate, seeing the many photos of those that accepted the challenge, did get me to think beyond what I looked like ten years ago to how much can really happen in a decade. I also heard a recent commentary by John Dickerson, co-host of CBS This Morning. His position was that reflecting back even a decade ago can interject perspective. What perspective can we gain by looking back and reflecting on the last 10 years in healthcare?

My first job in healthcare over 35 years ago was as a Respiratory Therapist. At that time, employees were still allowed to smoke at work. It wasn’t until 1991, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) mandated that accredited hospitals go smoke-free by December 31, 1993. Talk about perspective.

Working in healthcare my entire career has come with many changes. Ten years ago, I was working for a large integrated healthcare system in southeast Wisconsin. It was another five years before I joined my colleagues at The Beryl Institute in the role of Director of Learning & Professional Development. My role within The Beryl Institute is not the only thing that has changed. The healthcare organization where I worked my entire career up until that point, doesn’t even exist today. It was sold and joined another organization approximately three years ago.

Looking at our past can bring perspective to the present and even give us hope for the future. Before becoming a member of The Beryl Institute in 2012 and attending my first Patient Experience Conference, I came across the Institute’s definition of patient experience. This community inspired and developed definition has stood the test of time and continues to be a core foundation in any conversation on patient experience. In fact, in the last 6 years US hospitals that now have a formal definition of patient experience has grown by 38%.

During my first conference experience with The Beryl Institute, I heard Tiffany Christensen share her powerful lived experience as a life-long cystic fibrosis patient having received two double lung transplants. Today, Tiffany is part of The Beryl Institute team in the role of Vice President of Experience Innovation and will be introducing the first inaugural Patient Experience Innovation Awards recipients at the Patient Experience Conference 2019 this April.

It was also during the 2012 conference that I was introduced to the Patient Experience Body of Knowledge Framework. While I had the responsibility within my organization leading efforts on experience, it was the first time I had seen a framework that outlined the knowledge and skills of healthcare leaders doing this work. This framework has guided the development of comprehensive learning opportunities including the ability to earn a   Certificate in Patient Experience Leadership and Patient Advocacy. Today over 470 individuals have earned one of these certificates. These milestones demonstrate not only the Institutes’ commitment to the field of patient experience but the growing commitment within healthcare organizations across the country on supporting the professional development of their leaders and continuing to engage in efforts that have resulted in innovation in this field of practice.

Related to this milestone and another example of how things have evolved over the past ten years is remembering how my journey as a patient experience professional started. Like many, I was invited to join a system-wide committee within my organization charged with improving our patient satisfaction scores. This was not an uncommon beginning. In fact, when we first asked the question, Who in your organization has the primary responsibility and direct accountability for addressing patient experience” (State of Patient Experience 2011), 42% of the respondents indicated it was by committee and only 13% had a dedicated individual leading their efforts. Since 2011, we have seen a significant increase in organizations reporting they now have a specific person in a dedicated patient experience role. In fact, 70% of US hospitals that responded to the study, now identify having a senior leader with this responsibility.

As I continue to reflect on the past ten years in healthcare and the patient experience movement specifically, something that is becoming more and more common today that was not seen ten years ago are individuals with the credentials of CPXP behind their names. CPXPs or Certified Patient Experience Professionals is a relatively new phenomenon in our industry thanks to our community and our sister organization, Patient Experience Institute for developing a path to certification. This endeavor has brought a level of rigor and credibility to the field not seen in the recent past. According to PXI, today, over 860 individuals now hold the designation of CPXP.

So much has happened in a decade with so much more to do. The ten-year challenge is definitely more than comparing two photographs from then and now. In this age of social media which brings the dynamic of immediacy, pausing and reflecting back does interject a perspective that reacting to the immediate can never do.

For example, the inaugural study, Consumer Perspectives on Patient Experience 2018 was an incredible journey into the lens of consumers across the globe and their view on patient experience.  It profoundly reinforces that human interactions are most important when assessing their experience. That patient experience encompasses quality, safety, service and all that is experienced in any given health encounter. For those of us doing this work for a long time, on the surface, these two ideas might not seem like huge revelations but when we think about the conversations, we were having just ten years ago, these two ideas, that have become foundational cornerstones in the work of experience today, were still forming thoughts in our recent past.

Taking a snapshot of a moment in time can tell a powerful story but being intentional and purposeful of how we choose to move in the world will ensure we pass the next ten-year challenge. What are your hopes for the next decade? More importantly, what wisdom today will guide our actions tomorrow to ensure that the future of healthcare is what we know it can be?

 

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

Tags:  body of knowledge  certificate  definition  healthcare  human experience  intentional  patient advocacy  patient experience conference  patient experience leadership  perspective  purposeful  pxi 

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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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To Care is Human: 3 Considerations for the Future of Patient Experience

Posted By Jason Wolf, Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2018

This has been an exciting year for the patient experience movement in which an unwavering commitment to human experience has been elevated and expanded globally. In our efforts at the Institute we have had the opportunity to engage the voices of healthcare consumers on their views of experience and what drives their decisions, we introduced the Experience Framework to reinforce the integrated nature of the human experience in healthcare and now just last week released our latest study on the influence factors on patient experience.

This is significant in that in linking these efforts together we begin to see for the first time in practice and evidence that there is alignment around what we can and should do to ensure experience excellence. This work lays out a pathway that while not surprising has been sometimes difficult to ensure a commitment to in a healthcare system driven by transactions, checklists and processes that overlook the very essence of healthcare itself – the human caring at its heart.

I shared a story to open Patient Experience Conference 2018 about how my son Sam taught me a valuable lesson in the power of human connection and how simple and brave we must be to ensure these connections occur. He showed me sometimes it just takes commitment, the willingness to reach out and acknowledge another human being in front of you for who they are, not what they have or what they do. This too is what consumers told us they wanted, and it is what we discovered in the findings of the Influence Factors Study as well.

For the Influence Factors Study, over 1400 respondents identified the factors of greatest importance to patient experience. In addition, almost 300 high performing healthcare units (as defined by achieving and sustaining high percentage of scores in the top box of 9-10 in the overall rating question on the CAHPS survey) representing 175 organizations provided input as well.

The study revealed that for both respondent groups how patients and family were treated and how they were communicated with had the greatest influence on experience. This was followed closely by the teamwork and engagement of care teams and core clinical indicators such as responsible management of pain and care coordination. Interestingly enough what was shared here, that is that experience is driven by 1) how we treat people we serve, (2) how we treat each other and (3) how we provide the quality people expect, perhaps provides the triangulation of factors that sums up the potential of and opportunity for an elevated commitment to the human experience in healthcare overall.

This discovery reinforces that at the end of the day our opportunity to care for one another as human beings is the essence of our work in healthcare. This was supported in the alignment of the influence factor responses with the voices in the study, Consumer Perspectives on Patient Experience released this summer, which found that that top-rated items of importance to consumers were, in order, ‘listen to you’, ‘communicate clearly in a way you can understand’ and ‘treat you with courtesy and respect’. The most significant realization in this finding in comparison to what were identified as the top influence factors was that not only were the top items nearly identical, in essence effective communication and respectful treatment, but also that these items scored significantly higher response percentages in both studies. This had them stand out clearly as the top items in both surveys and coming from two very distinct respondent groups.

What this means is that what people are asking for from healthcare, it is evident healthcare organizations know and high performers provide. So, then what has been in our way of meeting those expectations and needs? I offer it has been healthcare’s commitment to process at the expense of people and transactions at the expense of interactions that has undercut its very capacity to achieve this ultimate goal.

This is not offered to diminish the complexity of healthcare we face today, but rather to call us to ask if we are the reason for the very complexity that gets in our way. If we were to focus on these simple things, to build processes, programs, technologies and innovations to support and sustain this focus on the humanity in healthcare, would we see something very different in how we look to lead healthcare globally. That is our opportunity and the story I hope you will find of interest in our latest paper: To Care Is Human: The Factors Influencing Human Experience in Healthcare Today.

With this we are called in healthcare to come back to ground with three considerations that can help us all lead the experience effort forward. These include:

  1. Patient experience must be seen with an integrated focus that ties together the many facets impacting how human beings on both sides of the care equation experience healthcare. It must be operationalized with this broad and inclusive perspective.
  2. Experience excellence, at its heart, is about the relational interactions we have in healthcare. It is grounded in the kind of organizations we build to sustain quality, safe and effective healthcare for all engaged. We must move beyond simple transactions and find comfort in the human complexities that are at healthcare’s core.
  3. To care is human and above all else that must be a rallying cry for what healthcare can and must be. Yes, medicine is a complex science, but healthcare is not just about medicine. When we mix that science with the art that healthcare ultimately represents, we get a symphony comprised of the greatest experts, but one that only works when all those expert parts play together. And if we do that, the outcome will be truly magnificent.

The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying, “The human capacity to care for others isn’t something trivial or something to be taken for granted. Rather, it is something we should cherish.” I would add it is something we must acknowledge will require hard work, unwavering commitment, a willingness to try and fail and a focused commitment to excellence.

The things healthcare has shown it knows to be true and the things consumers are asking for consistently come down to something so essential I could be blamed for saying it too much – that in healthcare we are human beings caring for human beings. So, whether I am walking the halls of a VA facility or waiting in an essential hospital’s emergency room, seeking new research innovations from an academic medical center or being cared for in my rural healthcare center, or standing on any continent in any health system, in any healthcare setting across the continuum around the world for that matter, this universal truth remains.

It then is up to us to consider how we balance the science that has driven healthcare with the art that is what will enable it to ultimately succeed.  We can no longer say that all people want is for us to make them better. That has been healthcare’s driving outcome, but for the patients and families we serve, it has been a fundamental expectation that we do so. Where the real difference and ultimate distinction lies is in HOW we make them better, in the acknowledgement that in caring for the human in front of us and those who serve around us we are realizing the true potential healthcare has to offer.

Yes, to care is human, the evidence bears out its impact and value. And in giving ourselves the permission to hold that idea as central to all we do in healthcare we can and will reframe a system with a potential for care, wellness and healing we have only dreamed could be possible. Experience is not something else we must or should do, it is all one does in healthcare, it is time we acknowledge this and move forward with this new sense of possibility. What will be your first step?


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

Tags:  amenities  cleanliness  Clinical  defining patient experience  employee engagement  feedback  HCAHPS  Human Experience  improving patient experience  Leadership  patient and family  patient engagement  Patient Experience  policy  quality  safety  service excellence  signage  thought leadership 

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Radical Support After Adverse Events

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, CPXP, Thursday, June 7, 2018

Recently, I had the honor of speaking at Yale New Haven Health’s 2018 Inaugural Quality, Safety and Experience Conference. One of my favorite parts about presenting at conferences is the opportunity to attend and learn from the other presenters. This event was no different and it was a great day.

One of the most powerful sessions of the day involved two physicians discussing their experiences of harm and error. The focus of the conversation was not clinical and did not dwell on the details of the case—in fact, the patients discussed were clinically fine after an adverse event. Additionally, there was even some gray area about whether or not the physicians involved could have done anything differently to avoid the adverse event. This was not a conversation about clinical safety but, rather, emotional safety among colleagues.

Despite there being significant differences between the clinical elements of their experiences, the two physicians onstage shared many similarities in their experiences after the adverse event. They both considered leaving medicine; one physician confessed she wondered if she should make a career change to home renovation. Both struggled to sleep at night and both replayed the event over and over in their mind, seeking an answer to what could have been done differently. Perhaps most important, both physicians are haunted by the event to this day even though many years have gone by.

What I carried away from both of the stories shared that day was the deep sense of isolation both physicians experienced. When sharing their grief and trauma with collogues, they found they were met with responses that had good intentions but fell flat. “You did the best you could,” and “But the patient is alright, isn’t she?” didn’t sooth the deep, unrelenting self-doubt that had manifested within these dedicated doctors. The experience had not only caused them to question their worth as professionals but their worth as human beings. It seemed they had no safe place to turn. These two physicians made it clear that when mistakes happen the primary need for support goes to the patient and family. That does not mean, however, that support for the provider is not also needed.

Listening to these heart-wrenching stories, my mind went to an article I had read years ago. The article, “How the Babemba Tribe Forgives,” tells the story of a tribe in South Africa. In this community, when a person makes a mistake or does something irresponsible, everyone in the community drops what they are doing and circles around. For hours and sometimes days, the members of the tribe shower this individual with details of their good deeds, positive traits and strengths. Once they are satisfied that they have shared all of the good stories about the individual, the circle breaks and a celebration begins. I see this approach as “radical support” and is far from the standard way that most healthcare professionals receive support after a traumatic experience.

We live in a culture that often expects perfection of our healthcare professionals and, when a mistake is made, we don’t always have tools or skills to effectively support the person as they process and grieve. I can’t help but wonder, if the colleagues of these physicians had been given tools in order to react and provide support more effectively, might the physician wondering if she should move into home renovation see things differently? If, instead of replying with statements that invalidated the physician’s deep sense of insecurity, what would have happened if the response was to validate all of the physician’s strengths and good qualities as a person and a professional? What if the root of pain the professional is experiencing comes from an unconscious need for forgiveness and we offered that to them?

Assuming the “radical support” approach of the Babemba Tribe is philosophically intriguing, it may be challenging to imagine how it may translate into current systems and processes. For some teams, supporting a team member who is struggling with an adverse event may be a more informal conversation among leaders, staff and providers behind closed doors. Other organizations may benefit from a more formal approach that builds a new program or, ideally, integrates into an existing framework.

One potential framework that many organizations already use is Schwartz Rounds. Looking at The Beryl Institute White Paper, Schwartz Rounds: Supporting the Emotional Needs of Staff: The Impact of Schwartz Rounds on Caregiver and Patient Experience, it strikes me that both the spirit and the format would easily lend itself to a few adjustments in order to include “radical support.” A few highlights from this whitepaper quickly illustrate why one might connect the two:

  • The Schwartz Rounds program, now taking place in more than 425 healthcare organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and more than 150 sites throughout the U.K. and Ireland, offers healthcare providers a regularly scheduled time during their fast-paced work lives to openly and honestly discuss the social and emotional issues they face in caring for patients and families.
  • One of the primary goals of Schwartz Rounds Decreased is to reduce feelings of stress and isolation while fostering more openness to giving and receiving support.
  • One Schwartz Rounds participant articulated, “The ability to find a safe venue for expressing our unrest was, to me, the most attractive feature of the Rounds.” Another participant stated, “The emotions we feel, the stress we feel, does need to be ventilated someplace…”

The Beryl Institute has an unwavering commitment to the human experience in healthcare and, it is evident, humans working in this challenging field need more avenues to hear how much they are valued. Perhaps the Babemba Tribe approach is one worth adapting to the complex world of healthcare; whether through Schwartz Rounds or another framework already hardwired into the organization. No matter what, we must find ways to address isolation and provide better support to those facing questions of their own worth after an adverse event.

 

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

Tags:  emotional safety  employee engagement  human experience  patient experience community  professional support 

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With Healthcare at the Edge of Uncertainty, Human Experience Matters More than Ever

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP, Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year and I hope the first few days of January find you rested and ready for an exciting year ahead. I also recognize that 2018 brings continued uncertainty for healthcare and shifting pressures on our healthcare systems globally. This potential friction of calm and chaos is the boundary on which I believe we will find ourselves in healthcare for some time to come. And it is on this very active boundary where I believe we can and will thrive.

In the last year, we saw great strides in our efforts to elevate the patient experience conversation. Patient experience gatherings dotted the globe covering continents, inspiring national systems to refocus their intention, and encouraging new thinking and renewed purpose. Evidence continued to mount on the value of a broader commitment to experience and healthcare overall showed increasing commitment to a focus on experience as a central and integrated component of all we do. The State of Patient Experience 2017 revealed increasing investments, expanding scope and a realization that experience efforts are a clear path to achieving desired outcomes.

We were also guided by the powerful stories of those experiencing care. I was particularly inspired by the thoughtful call for compassion raised as we closed the year by Dr. Rana Awdish from Henry Ford and Tiffany Christensen, our new VP of Experience Innovation at The Beryl Institute at the IHI National Forum. Rana reinforced “We really can't presume to know the answer, we must ask generous questions to really know what matters to our patients,” while Tiffany challenged us to reconsider our perspective, asking, “What would happen if we admired our patients rather than pitied them?” and reminded us, “There is room for compassion on both ends of the bed.”

This idea of the need to connect, of a “both/and” versus an “either/or” in many ways is in direct conflict with much of the political and cultural climate in which we find ourselves today, where extremes are elevated and common ground eroded. This too represents that very boundary on which I believe we can thrive. It is through this expanded perspective on what actually matters that we realize we are talking about something much bigger – we are moving to a focus on the human experience at the heart of healthcare.

As I have reflected on this “evolution” in our journey, what I believe we have been doing is driving back to the very purpose on which healthcare was initially grounded. Before there were systems and structures, methods and machines, there was one human being engaging with another, one committed to help and one in need. It required both to participate, it took both to succeed…and it still does.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon recently said that while he frequently gets the question: 'What's going to change in the next 10 years?' he almost never gets the question: 'What's not going to change in the next 10 years?'. His point being the second question is actually the more important of the two. It is those things that remain stable on which we can build and through which we can find our greatest success.

While we cannot predict how policy will change and in what ways or what new constraints or challenges we will face at the boundary of calm and chaos, we do know that each of us in the business of human beings caring for human beings will continue to have choices. While they are not necessary choices in what illness or disease may befall you, you do have the choice of how you believe you deserve to be treated, in what ways you want to be treated and therefore ultimately where you will choose to be cared for. You have choices in how you will care for others, in what you will do to understand what matters to them and to you and ultimately choices in how you will care for yourself as someone committed to helping others.

That is the essence of human experience. That is the essence of healthcare. Where we go from here depends on that idea. We can use the uncertainty of the moment or the lack of clarity or variability of what lies ahead as a distraction, or even an excuse, or we can focus on what matters at our core. In our efforts to focus forward, I offer four considerations:

1.     Intention and clarity matter.

The growing number of organizations defining what experience is for their organization reinforces that a clear intention and shared commitment to that purpose is central to any opportunity to drive excellence in healthcare.

2.     Consistency is the antidote to uncertainty.

When the ground feels unstable we must find places of strength on which to support ourselves. Being consistent in efforts to elevate and expand experience excellence is a central way to remain focused on purpose, ensure positive outcomes and manage through uncertainty.

3.     Shared understanding/ownership will change how we work.

The opportunity now presents itself to move beyond engaging people at the personal level, to activating them as co-owners in their care. This is more than a focus on centeredness, which represents a one-way relationship, to a dynamic sense of shared awareness and understanding in which all engaged contribute to outcomes.

4.     Listen to understand ALL the voices that comprise the healthcare ecosystem.

There must also be a commitment to listening at the broadest levels in healthcare to understand what drives people’s choices, what motivates their actions and why this work is important overall. In acknowledging that each voice in the process is critical we also reinforce the value and purpose that had people choose healthcare as a place to work and elevate those receiving care (as Tiffany challenged us) from passive participants to individuals we should admire.

As we move into 2018 we will push this idea further, learning from each of you, honoring the voices of all engaged in healthcare, truly clarifying what matters to those impacted by what healthcare chooses to do and ultimately reinforcing that in each of those choices we each make tiny ripples that touch thousands and thousands of lives around our globe. That is the opportunity for us as we look to the year ahead and beyond, to thrive at the boundary on which we find ourselves and use the energy that this dynamic tension creates to spur us on. In doing so, with our eyes forward and our hearts grounded in the human experience, we can continue to change healthcare for the better for one another and for all it serves.

 

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

Tags:  clarity  compassionate care  consistency  healthcare policy  healthcare uncertainty  human experience  patient experience  perspective 

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A New View: An Unwavering Commitment to the Human Experience in Healthcare

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Thursday, August 3, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

This month’s Patient Experience blog is an excerpt from the recently released research report, The State of Patient Experience 2017: A Return to Purpose.

We have always maintained that in patient experience there are no major secrets and with that believe strongly that the differentiator is not in the private processes you create or the proprietary models an organization might produce. Rather it is in the spirit of an open sharing of ideas through which all should play and in the distinction of a true commitment to execution through which you should compete. Experience will be and is already emerging as a key, if not the primary, differentiator in healthcare. The opportunity in front of each organization is how they will seize this moment.

For us at the Institute, part of this moment is to acknowledge that patient experience will forever be central to healthcare, but also as we learn from the community and from the very data in this year’s benchmarking study the healthcare experience we are speaking to reaches beyond patient experience itself. In an environment where we clearly base all work on human beings caring for human beings we are ultimately addressing and impacting the human experience in our midst. For this reason, we believe at The Beryl Institute as we remain committed to patient experience we must address the reality of the human experience that is central to healthcare overall.

With this, we have set a bold and fundamental desired impact for how we look to move into the years ahead. Our intended focus is simple, clear and true:

Changing healthcare by advancing an unwavering commitment to the human experience.

In doing this we honor the work each of you are doing and the reality of the healthcare world we find ourselves collectively creating around the globe. In a commitment to shift how healthcare works, we must dedicate ourselves to the broader human experience, honoring both the patient experience at its core and the experience of all driving and supporting healthcare’s efforts every day. With that we believe this commitment must be grounded on four key points:

  • Understanding experience is defined as the sum of all interactions shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.
  • Acknowledging experience (1) encompasses the critical elements of healthcare from quality, safety and service, to cost and population health issues that drive decisions, impact access and ensure equity and (2) reaches beyond the clinical encounter to all interactions one has with the healthcare system.
  • Recognizing that human experience reinforces the fundamental principle of partnership and is therefore inclusive of the experiences of those receiving and delivering care as well as all who support them.
  • Reinforcing that focused action on experience drives positive clinical outcomes, strong financial results, clear consumer loyalty, solid community reputation and broad staff and patient/family engagement.

This commitment has been spurred by all we have seen in this work and by all each member of the broader patient experience community has taught us. As we travel a journey to reinforce the critical role of the human experience in healthcare all that we learned in this year’s study takes on even greater relevance.

We must strive for what we believe is important collectively and then ensure we find ways in each and every one of our organizations to apply these principles, practices, ideas and findings for the good of all engaged. This is not idealism, but rather a practical reflection on where we are and what we can achieve. The state of patient experience is about much more than what we have or will do, to what we are and what we can become. That is the inspiration we glean from those that contributed their voices in this year’s study and the motivation we garner from working collectively as a community dedicated to the human experience in healthcare.

The state of patient experience is strong, your efforts and commitment are true and the possibilities of all we can accomplish as a result are yet to be realized. That makes this perhaps one of the most exciting times to be committed to this work. We look forward to traveling the next steps of this journey with each of you.

> Download the full State of Patient Experience 2017 research report


Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., CPXP

President
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  community of practice  culture  global healthcare  healthcare  Human Experience  Patient Experience 

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