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5 Ways to Accelerate Your 2020 Experience Efforts

Posted By Stacy Palmer, Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I recently stumbled upon a list of New Year’s jokes. My favorite asked, ‘What’s the first thing you’ll say in 2021?’ The answer made me chuckle, ‘Hindsight is 20/20.’ I thought it was clever and kind of cute, but it also made me reflect on what I hope my hindsight on 2020 will be. And when we look back at this year, what do we hope 2020’s hindsight for patient experience will be?

In 2019, we saw great strides in the patient experience movement as we introduced the Experience Ecosystem highlighting the resources, associated organizations and solution providers supporting each of the eight strategic lenses of the Experience Framework. Also in 2019, our biennial State of Patient Experience benchmarking study revealed that patient experience efforts continue to mature and remain established within healthcare organizations. We saw a growing recognition that the types of organizations we build are foundational as people globally reinforced culture is vital in achieving positive experience efforts. Overall, 2019 marked a shift to patient experience not being something healthcare does but being who healthcare is.

When we look back at 2020, what will we have learned and accomplished? I believe that as a community we have built a foundation on which global experience efforts will continue to accelerate. As you plan for the new year, I offer some suggestions that may help accelerate your 2020 efforts as well:

  1. Acknowledge your organization’s strengths and opportunities. If you have not yet participated in an Organizational Experience Assessment, I encourage you to do so. The process is grounded in the Experience Framework and built on global research identifying factors seen as critical to positive experience outcomes by both high performing healthcare units and consumers of healthcare. Your assessment will provide a comprehensive picture of the strengths and opportunities you have in your efforts to improve the patient experience. 
  2. Enhance your team’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 a program such as PX 101, a community-inspired resource for use in orientation programs and other staff education that shares patient experience knowledge on the front lines of care to positively impact experience outcomes.
  3. Celebrate your team’s patient experience efforts. Rewarding and recognizing great work is also an important component of building a culture of experience excellence. And the new year is a great time to evaluate, enhance or reinvigorate your internal recognition programs. Also, start planning now for Patient Experience Week 2020, April 27 – May 1. Patient Experience Week is an annual event providing a focused time to celebrate accomplishments, create enthusiasm and honor the people who impact patient experience every day. 
  4. Expand your personal 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. Set aside designated time to follow and contribute to conversations on PX Connect where members share their experience challenges and successes. You will make new connections, learn from peers and help others by sharing your knowledge and expertise.
  5. Commit to your continued learning and professional development. Make it a priority in 2020 to seek knowledge that will advance your skills and best prepare you to impact experience efforts in your organization. Take advantage of membership benefits such as webinars, topic calls and publications. For more extensive learning, consider the PX Body of Knowledge courses which offer certificate programs in Patient Experience Leadership and Patient Advocacy. Also consider joining the over 1,100 individuals who have achieved Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP) designation offered through our sister organization, Patient Experience Institute. CPXP Prep Course workshops are available through The Beryl Institute to help you prepare.

Our commitment at The Beryl Institute is to support and elevate your efforts by continuing to offer the most relevant research, resources and connections. As such, our greatest hope for 2020 is that you will discover all the ways that the Institute can help you tap into this valuable and helpful collection of leading resources to kick-start innovation and build excitement in the new year. You can start by exploring one or all of the five ways mentioned above to enhance your own professional path as a leader and to accelerate your patient experience efforts as an organization.

We have tremendous respect and gratitude for the work happening globally each day to elevate the human experience in healthcare, and we will continue to provide a place for you to share, learn and celebrate together this year and into the future
When we get to 2021, we hope you will be proud of, and inspired by, the progress you accomplished this year. After all, hindsight will indeed be 20/20.

 

Stacy Palmer, CPXP
Senior Vice President & COO
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  celebration  choice  commitment  community of practice  culture  ecosystem  excellence  Field of Patient Experience  global healthcare  healthcare  improving patient experience  Leadership  member value  partnership  patient advocacy  patient advocate  Patient Experience  patient experience community  patient experience leadership  state of patient experience  team 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP

President & CEO
The Beryl Institute

 

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

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

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

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

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5 Ways to Impact Your Patient Experience Success in 2019

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

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

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

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

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

  • Enhance Your Organization's Foundation in Patient Experience – When building a culture of patient experience excellence, it is essential to establish a foundation where all team members clearly understand what patient experience is, what it means to them and how they can positively impact experience excellence. Consider ways in which you can share patient experience knowledge on the front lines of care to positively impact experience outcomes. Last year the Institute introduced PX 101, a community-inspired and developed resource for use in orientation programs and other staff education. While not intended to be used in isolation or as a stand-alone resource, PX 101 can enhance your journey by distilling the resources and knowledge available via the Institute into practical, transferable learning to support your larger patient experience training strategy. 

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

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

  • Expand Your Patient Experience Network – One of the greatest benefits cited by members of The Beryl Institute is the power of the community – the ability to network, share and learn with others passionate about improving experience. Make a commitment now to attend Patient Experience Conference 2019 to be held April 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. It’s the largest independent, non-provider or vendor hosted event bringing together the collective voices of healthcare professionals across the globe to expand the dialogue on improving patient experience, and you’re sure to leave with new information, inspiration and connections. 

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

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

Stacy Palmer, CPXP
Senior Vice President
The Beryl Institute

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

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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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Experience Innovation: Connecting Motive to People and People to Action

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2018

As the VP of Experience Innovation at The Beryl Institute, it seems quite logical (and necessary) for me to have a clear understanding of how to define innovation in the Field of Patient Experience. Since I have just celebrated my one-year anniversary at The Beryl Institute, I thought this might be the right time to share my perspective on what we mean when we say “Experience Innovation.” 

At its core, innovation requires creating something new or changing something that already exists so that it becomes new/improved. By this framing, we can safely say innovation permeates experience efforts across all aspects of the Experience Field. Perhaps more important than defining Experience Innovation, however, is determining the motive and method for innovation. 

IDENTIFYING MOTIVES BY UNDERSTANDING WHO WILL BE IMPACTED

Healthcare is competitive. Even in the Field of Patient Experience, we see organizations and individuals striving for recognition and advancement. At times, the motive for innovation might be driven more by a desire to stand out. In some cases, innovations are designed for the sake of being innovative. For these and other reasons, we must closely examine if the motive for innovation is directly tied to being helpful to a PERSON or GROUP of people. Innovations without a clear connection to the people potentially served, at the very least, run the risk of wasting effort/resources or, in the worst case scenario, creating harmful innovations. 

The first step in examining an innovation’s motive involves becoming clear about who will be impacted by the innovation. This requires an in-depth understanding of the experiences of the “end-users” (to borrow a Human Centered Design term). In healthcare, the “end user” is often a patient but it is certainly not limited to patients and families.  

Once the “end-user(s)” are clearly defined, it is important to ask a few basic questions:

  1. Do we know the problem we are trying to solve is a) really a problem and b) is a priority for those impacted?
  2. Have we gathered sufficient data from those we plan to help to a) understand their experiences and b) ask them if our innovation would potentially make their experience better?

After these questions have been answered we can then begin to walk through ow the innovation is directly tied to being helpful to a PERSON or GROUP of people. One possible way of doing this is by pulling in the Model for Improvement. While this approach is a widely recognized step-by-step way of improving safety and quality in healthcare, for some reason, this model is applied to experience improvement far less often. Because we have a large and diverse toolbox filled with potential tactics for change, we want to be sure we are not using an “innovation for innovation sake” approach but, rather, building an innovative strategy to help people by addressing a specifically identified need. Using something like the Model for Improvement can help guide the discovery of the “why” before the “how”. 

KNOWING THE “WHY” BEFORE CONSIDERING THE “HOW”

For organizations working to find strategies that enable them to hear the voice of their patients and families, finding a structure to do so is innovative and met with enthusiasm. 

A Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) is a well-known, widely accepted strategy with low risk to the organization. For these and other reasons, PFACs are often the first choice for partnering with the community. Despite the popularity and comfortability, in some cases, organizations are surprised to find the PFAC’s administrative lift is too heavy or the community itself is not interested in engaging with their local healthcare organization in that way. Such a discovery may be followed by a revisioning of the goals for the PFAC and, in some cases, the choice is made to use an entirely different partnership strategy. In either case, the time spent running a PFAC without clear aim was potentially wasteful and frustrating. 

In instances like these, it was recognized far down the road that there was not a clear vision for the “why” but, rather, only a focus on “how” to build and implement the strategy.

Rather than starting out by choosing an innovative strategy (like building a PFAC), we can begin by getting clear about the desired improvement to experience. Moving forward, it is important to know a few basic things:

  1. What are we trying to accomplish with this innovation? How will it help people?
  2.  How will we know we have helped people?
  3.  What strategy will we choose to improve the experience? (Included in this might be “how will we learn from the Experience Community about all of the potential solutions we have to choose from?”)

Once you are clear about the people who you plan to help and the way their experience will be better through this innovation, you can decide if the motive for the innovation is a healthy one.

So, how do I define Experience Innovation? Amazingly, even after a year of thinking about it, the complete definition is still coming into focus. The more time I spend at The Beryl Institute, the more I am excited by the nuances of both language and operationalization required to describe it. My hope is to share my personal definition of Experience Innovation at my 2-year anniversary with The Beryl Institute! 

For now, what I know for sure, is how to define what constitutes the spine of Experience Innovation. Before we can innovate in any meaningful way, we must, like vertebrae, connect motive to people and people to action. I visualize this as “the Backbone of Experience Innovation.” When healthy, this is what makes innovation strong, enabling it to move nimbly forward. I define this backbone as being: 

Thoughts, actions and designs driven by a deep understanding of the lived experiences in healthcare that result in improvements created to address the most urgent needs. 

 

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

Tags:  Advocacy  healthcare  improving patient experience  patient and family  Patient Experience  perspective 

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When Work Has Meaning

Posted By Deanna Frings, Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Updated: Friday, July 6, 2018

The title of this blog is not original to me but was a headline on the cover of the July-August 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR) referencing an article, Creating A Purpose-Driven Organization. It seems everywhere I turn, there is another book, article or referenced research on the neuroscience of purpose as a driving force that gives our lives meaning. And let me be clear, I love that there is currently an abundance of discussion on purpose and meaning. 

 

I have worked in healthcare my entire career from being on the front line as a respiratory therapist, leading teams in multiple leadership capacities to my current role as Vice President of Learning and Professional Development of The Beryl Institute. From my experience, conversations on meaning and purpose are not uncommon in the field of healthcare. I don’t know, maybe it’s because those of us who work in healthcare can easily connect that what we do really matters? We save lives. But how is this knowledge being lived out in our day to day practice as leaders in healthcare. Are we creating cultures that facilitate a discovery of purpose for ourselves and our employees? 

 

Organizations are focused on employee engagement and acknowledge its critical role in their experience efforts as reported in our, State of Patient Experience 2017: A Return to Purpose. And, it’s not surprising given the 2017 Gallup State of American Workplace report, that only 33% of employees are engaged in their work and workplace and only 21% of employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. 

These startling figures are not a new phenomenon. Previous Gallup Reports have shown much of the same. So, while we acknowledge the importance of an engaged workforce, the data suggests we continue to struggle, despite all the focus on improving it. 

I often speak on the critical role of leaders in achieving experience excellence and I would suggest that leadership is the critical link in transforming organizational cultures and creating engaged environments where individuals can reach their full potential. During these speaking engagements and workshops, I love taking people through a journey of discovery of purpose and meaning and I have witnessed the immediate and powerful impact it has. I hear a higher level of excitement in their voices, a clarity in vision and a drive in their commitment as they share their stories with each other. 

The conversation continues as we take the critical next step and determine actions we, as leaders, can take to not only share our purpose but invite employees to do the same. It’s one way to connect people to purpose. Simply stated in the HBR article, leaders most important role is to connect people to purpose.

Acting on a higher purpose can often motivate us to learn and develop our skills so we can excel in our performance contributing to what’s meaningful to us. It’s one reason I’m excited about Patient Experience 101(PX 101), a new educational resource releasing next week from The Beryl Institute. PX 101 is a comprehensive community-inspired and developed resource to build patient experience knowledge and skill for all employees across an organization by taking individuals through a discovery of purpose. It’s one of several new opportunities we’re launching this year in an effort to support global patient experience efforts based on the needs of our community. 

PX 101 offers the tools and activities you need to engage in deeper and authentic conversations on what patient experience is, what it means to your employees and how they positively impact experience excellence. It invites them to share their own accounts of how they make a positive difference resulting in a stronger sense of purpose and meaning to the work they do every day. 

 

When we find meaning and purpose in our work, the sky’s the limit to how high we can soar and how much we can contribute to our individual and organization’s success.  

As leaders in healthcare striving for excellence in experience, how do you connect people to purpose?


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

Tags:  choice  compassion  culture  employee engagement  healthcare  improving patient experience  leadership  Patient Experience  personal experience  perspective  purpose 

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Do You See What I See?

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, Monday, December 4, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 4, 2017

As a person who lives with cystic fibrosis and has had 2 double lung transplants, I have experienced many stages of illness. I have understood from a very young age that having this illness is something people feel badly about and sometimes even wonder why “bad things happen to good people.”

But what if we have it wrong? What if illness isn’t the worst-case scenario? What if instead of looking at me with pity, I should be looking at you with pity because you don’t see what I see?

In my lifelong career as a patient, I have had people respond to me in all kinds of ways. The reactions were more pronounced as I grew sicker and they reached their peak during the time I wore oxygen. When I was wearing oxygen, some people would stare, some people would look away and others would approach me and say things that often caught me off guard. One man in Target said, “You shouldn’t have smoked so much.” One woman in Macy’s said, “I’ll pray for you.” My cousin asked, “Why would God do this to you?” Almost all of the people I encountered said—with their eyes— “You poor thing, I’m so glad I’m not you.”

While the intentions were almost always good and the reactions easily explained as a reflection of each person’s internal relationship with life, death and uncertainty, none of them ever hit the mark.  Nobody I came across ever reflected back to me what my perception of myself happened to be.

I felt physically weak, yes, but everything else about me felt strong. I felt connected to the universe, I felt a strong understanding of my purpose in this world and I felt lucky to have the lessons of illness laid before my feet day after day. The very last thing I wanted was pity. If anything, I would have liked admiration.

Imagine for a moment a patient laying in a hospital bed. They are curled up slightly around themselves, pale in the face and not very interested in interaction. Imagine walking in to see that patient. What might you think? What words come to mind? Vulnerable? Sad? Weak?

Now imagine walking into that same room with a very different lens. If you could see into that person’s mind, what do you think you would find there? Simply because they are not talking does not mean they aren’t thinking. Just because they aren’t emoting does not mean they aren’t feeling. So why are they so quiet? What are they doing?

They are enduring. They are bracing themselves against pain or discomfort. This takes energy and concentration. This takes a great deal of STRENGTH.

What if, like a marathon runner grimacing as they finish their final miles, we looked at the patient curled up in the bed and did not see weakness but, instead, saw determination and grit? What if we encouraged them, like we would do on the sidelines watching athletes riding their bikes in an Iron Man, telling them “You’re doing great! I know it’s hard but you’re amazing!” What if we stopped pitying people who are sick and saw them as people we could learn great lessons from? How would this change the way we deliver our healthcare?

Being sick is often an isolating experience. Not only because of the physical symptoms that limit our ability to live an active life, but because of the perception of weakness others project onto us. As I shared earlier in this post, during the time that I wore oxygen, I had a lot of comments from friends, family and strangers about my appearance of health. What I almost never received were questions. I longed for questions rather than statements. Here are just a few that I would have liked to hear:

  • “I know you have bad days and better days. On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s today?”
  • “Is there something I could do right now to make your life a little easier?”
  • “I want to support you and I’ve never experienced anything like what you are going through. Can you help me understand what life is like for you?”
  • “You know I love you and I worry about you, but I’m feeling strong today. Is there anything you want to talk about that you’ve been keeping inside because you were afraid it would be too hard for me to talk about?”

And then there is this one statement I longed to hear:

  • “Caring for you while you go through this illness is really hard. Sometimes I get sad, angry…you name it. But, I want you to know, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Having you is worth every second of this struggle.”

The internal world of sick people isn’t always going to match mine so this is by no means a prescription. At the same time, nothing bad can come from seeing patients differently. If you see them as strong, perhaps they will gain more strength. If you ask them questions, they may not always want to talk about it in that moment, but they know where to go when they do.

Illness forces us to focus on what matters in this life. Let those who live with it be our teachers while we admire them as they take on their personal marathon. I hope you can begin to see what I see and watch how it shapes the way we deliver care.

 

Tiffany Christensen
Vice President, Experience Innovation
The Beryl Institute

Planning to attend the IHI National Forum later this month? Join Tiffany Christensen’s Keynote session with Dr. Rana Awdish, MD, lead by IHI President Derek Feeley, as the two women touch on how they are using their patient experiences to improve healthcare. You can also join Tiffany during Sunday’s Learning Lab, the CEO Summit and her “meet the author” luncheon. 

Tags:  communication  impact  improving patient experience  perception  purpose  relational healthcare 

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We the People: Why Patient Experience Must Be the Foundation of Healthcare Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There’s No Place like Home…The Value of Connecting with Your Patient Experience Community

Posted By Stacy Palmer, Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I recently chatted with one of our members after she returned from another healthcare conference. While she enjoyed the event, she shared that the experience itself felt dramatically different than her time at our March Patient Experience Conference in Denver. I asked a few questions to try to understand what the difference was. The breakout sessions were great, the keynote speakers were inspiring, and it was a large crowd of other leaders in similar types of roles. Yet, she still felt something was lacking. Upon further reflection, she realized the missing element was the sense of community and emotional connection she experiences every year at The Beryl Institute conference.

Her comments reinforced feedback received after this year’s Patient Experience Conference. Participants said things such as, “Everyone was so kind and helpful…it was easy to meet people…it was so wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded people…we're all in this together!” These statements reflect things we hear often at the Institute, an appreciation for the welcoming and engaging community that has developed through a shared passion for building and sustaining the patient experience movement. 

Our community connects in many ways throughout the year – chatter on social media, regular discussions on listservs, and conversations through Topic Calls and Patient Advocacy Connection Calls. In recent months, we’ve also enjoyed watching dialogue between members explode in the chat box of our regular webinars where participants share where they’re logging in from, reconnect with old friends and tap into the tremendous wealth of knowledge that is represented in this patient experience community.

The virtual connections are powerful and a hallmark of The Beryl Institute. While these opportunities are invaluable, I would argue there is no replacement for spending time together in person. As the patient experience movement has grown, we’ve witnessed incredible connections between the leaders doing this work and an amazing energy and enthusiasm that comes when we gather together to share ideas, connect and learn. Our community believes patient experience is a foundational element of the overall healthcare experience, and there is something about getting together in person that inspires us to live and share that message.

At The Beryl Institute we continue to foster opportunities for face-to-face connections. Last week we announced the opening of the Call for Submissions for breakout sessions at Patient Experience Conference 2018 to be held April 16-18 in Chicago. We hope you will join us there and even consider submitting a proposal to share your patient experience successes.
 
But even before then we have many opportunities for you to engage face-to-face with patient experience peers. This fall we’ll hold Patient Experience Regional Roundtables in Canada, California, Louisiana and New York. Regional Roundtables are one-day programs bringing together the voices of healthcare leaders, staff, physicians, patients and families to convene, engage and expand the dialogue on improving patient experience. Through inspiring keynote sessions and working group discussion, participants leave with an expanded network, renewed energy and actionable ideas to support patient experience efforts in their own organizations.

We also have two upcoming Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP) preparation workshops. These are opportunities to gather with other patient experience leaders to not only network and share, but to prepare together for the CPXP exam. Community members will gather later this month in Chicago and in September in Los Angeles for full day courses reviewing the domains outlined in the job classification on which the CPXP examination is based. 

The Beryl Institute continues to be the global community of practice dedicated to improving the patient experience through collaboration and shared knowledge. We are a welcoming and engaging community. I am often reminded of an early Patient Experience Conference where a participant stood up and joyfully proclaimed “I have found my professional home!”  As a leader in the movement, we hope you view the Institute as your professional home, and we invite you to further connect with your patient experience family. 


Stacy Palmer, CPXP
Senior Vice President
The Beryl Institute 

Tags:  community of practice  Field of Patient Experience  healthcare  improving patient experience  leadership  networking  Patient Experience  Patient Experience Conference  thought leadership 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Stacy Palmer, CPXP
Senior Vice President
The Beryl Institute

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

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