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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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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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