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The Beryl Institute Patient Experience Blog
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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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“#Hellomyname is”: An idea at the heart of the experience movement

Posted By Jason Wolf, Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Friday, July 29, 2016

Just over a week ago the world lost a powerful advocate for our humanity. While Dr. Kate Granger, a physician turned patient advocate due to her own healthcare experiences may have left us physically, she will be forever present through a powerful legacy that rests at the heart of the patient experience movement. 

I never had the honor to personally know Kate, but in what she accomplished with the golden minutes of life she maintained, I felt I have met her fully. If we believe our efforts in healthcare are grounded in the simple notion that we are human beings caring for human beings our lenses shift. We move from a notion of clinical protocol or programed action, to personal consideration, understanding and partnership.

At the heart of this idea is that in healthcare all of the moments we have – clinically or otherwise – take place at a point of interaction. It is at this point of interaction where experience happens. We are not nameless providers of care interacting with a diagnosis or room number, rather all that exists is a connection, one person to another.

As people, whether on the delivery or the receiving side of healthcare across settings, each and every one of us is an individual with a story, a heart, a soul, memories, dreams, hopes, fears and a name. Perhaps it is the latter, that I am person with a name, that serves as the frame for all of this. That is the legacy that Kate is leaving us.

Kate inspired an idea that exemplifies the fundamental simplicity behind ensuring the best in experience. For in our simple actions, we can have the most profound impact. Kate’s realization through her experiences on the other side of the bed were that we all too often missed one another as people, we didn't share who we were, we didn't share our name. As Kate revealed in an interview on her own experience, she was not treated as a person, but rather an object to be treated, stating, “I just couldn’t believe the impersonal nature of care and how people seemed to be hiding behind their anonymity.”

This led to a powerful idea and an emerging movement - #hellomynameis. This concept now used by hundreds of thousands of people globally was grounded in a simple concept. As Kate shared via her site, the purpose of #hellomynameis is “to encourage and remind healthcare staff about the importance of introductions in healthcare. I firmly believe it is not just about common courtesy, but it runs much deeper. Introductions are about making a human connection between one human being who is suffering and vulnerable, and another human being who wishes to help. They begin therapeutic relationships and can instantly build trust in difficult circumstances. In my mind #hellomynameis is the first rung on the ladder to providing truly person-centred, compassionate care.

These words define the profound power of this idea and the importance of this legacy. If we are to remain true to the foundation on which healthcare has been built – on care, on connection, on healing the whole person and on the compassion it takes – this is an idea we cannot ignore. It is who we are in healthcare and reminds us of and supports us in being all we aspire to be. This idea personifies all I have seen as good, right and true as I have traveled around the healthcare world in search of experience excellence. So while Kate may no longer walk with us, we can carry her heart and spirit in every interaction we look to have and for the very hope that each of us has for the greatest healthcare can be. We must carry on this legacy and I encourage each and every one of you to engage in this cause. #Hellomynameis Jason and I, like you, am the patient experience. Join me!

To learn more about Kate and her effort, here are a few valuable links:

Hellomynameis.org
Hello, my name is Kate Granger
BMJ – Kate Granger
Globe and Mail – Andre Picard - Remembering Kate Granger, a champion of human connection

 

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

 

Tags:  #Hellomynameis  defining patient experience  global healthcare  improving patient experience  Kate Granger  patient engagement  Patient Experience  patient stories  storytelling  voice 

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Supporting the Expanding Field of Patient Experience

Posted By Stacy Palmer, Thursday, June 9, 2016
Updated: Thursday, June 9, 2016

This week we opened the call for submissions for Patient Experience Conference 2017. It will mark the seventh official year for this event, the annual gathering bringing together the collective voices of healthcare professionals and patients/families across the globe to convene, engage in and expand the dialogue on improving patient experience. 

Each year we’ve seen significant increases is conference participation, with almost 1,000 people gathering in Dallas this past April to share, learn and network with one another. Similarly The Beryl Institute community itself continues to grow, now made up of over 45,000 members and guests from 55 countries. We believe this growth signifies the expansion of the patient experience movement. Leaders are realizing a focus on experience is a necessity for survival in the ever-changing healthcare environment.

We’ve watched the field develop with some organizations now appointing Chief Experience Officers to guide efforts and strategy. Patient Experience Institute, a sister organization of The Beryl Institute, has established a formal designation for Certified Patient Experience Professionals – and over 140 organizations now have one or more CPXPs on staff. Hundreds of individuals are expanding their professional development through the PX Body of Knowledge certificate programs. And Patient Experience Week was established to celebrate those who positively impact experience every day. 

Without a doubt, the field of patient experience is expanding.

This expansion continues to change the dynamics of The Beryl Institute Community. When we began as a membership organization in late 2010, most of our members were just getting started on their patient experience journeys. They were incredibly willing to share the successes and struggles along the way – which led to the abundance of community-developed content that exists and continues to grow today.

While we’ll always offer resources, support and encouragement to those beginning their efforts, we must continue to elevate the conversation to also support those further along on their journeys. Many of you are now looking to the community for information on how you can take things to the next level. How do you sustain your programs? What can you do to develop deeper engagement opportunities with patients and family members? How can you bring down silos that exist within your organization? How do you integrate social media into experience efforts?

The expansion of the field and our commitment to provide the breadth and levels of content needed to support the community led us to a significant change in the conference call for submissions process for 2017. As you complete the submission form for a standard breakout, mini session or poster – and we invite you to consider doing so – you’ll be asked to identify the development stage for your content, specifically your submission is ideal for individuals with:

  • Minimal knowledge and experience. Looking for some basic information, key principles and "how to’s” on the subject.
  • Working knowledge and some proven experience. Looking for breath or depth in the subject, how to sustain and engage others and/or dealing with resistance to change on the subject. 
  • Authoritative knowledge and proven success. Looking for advanced knowledge and examples to evolve their understanding and practice on the subject. 

This is the scale our Learning and Professional Development team considers regularly as they develop content for our webinars, topic calls and other resources, and we're excited to now apply this process to Patient Experience Conference. This information will guide our volunteer reviewers and conference planning committee to develop a well-balanced program that meets the needs of participants at all levels. We’ll identify sessions as beginning, intermediate or advanced so you can make the most-informed choices on what sessions you will attend to customize your learning experience. 

It’s important to acknowledge, however, that levels of learning can be both subjective and cyclical. Organizations who once excelled at certain facets of patient experience may find themselves slipping in that area over time and in need of a basic refresher. And organizations just beginning a patient experience journey might have certain areas in which they already perform well ahead of the curve. There will always be a need to support all levels of development and we are committed to sharing that breadth of resources.  We thank you in advance for your contributions to the community. Sharing your story and knowledge truly represents the core idea that we are ALL the Patient Experience!


Stacy Palmer
Vice President, Strategy and Member Experience 
The Beryl Institute
 

Tags:  collaboration  commitment  community  community of practice  engagement  Field of Patient Experience  global healthcare  healthcare  improving patient experience  patient  patient engagement  Patient Experience  Patient Experience Conference  service excellence 

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Reflecting on the Field of Patient Experience

Posted By Deanna Frings, Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I was recently invited to participate in a panel discussion on the topic of talent and the patient experience at an event for healthcare human resource professionals.  The event says so much about how far we have come in our understanding of what it takes to support patient experience excellence and this emerging field.  Preparing for this event gave me the opportunity to step back and reflect on the field of patient experience. 

Prior to joining the team at The Beryl Institute, I was a member of this global community of practice and attended the PX Conference in 2012.  It was here that I first heard about the Patient Experience Body of Knowledge, a framework of 15 broadly accepted domains reflecting the knowledge and skills of a patient experience professional.  

As I sat listening to the details of the framework and how it came to be, I was thrilled not only because over 400 individuals from 10 countries contributed to its development but it was the first time I began thinking about what I did as a growing profession, a field of practice and an emerging field.  I had something concrete to take back to my own organization that so clearly framed this field of patient experience and defined its core ideas.  

You see, my entry into patient experience started like many across the country.  I was asked to be part of a committee within my health system charged with implementing tactics that would improve our patient satisfaction scores.  Over the next several years, that committee membership evolved to a dedicated role as the Director of Patient and Family Relations leading the organization’s efforts on building a culture of experience excellence.  Our journey was very similar to others as evidenced in the findings of The State of the Patient Experience 2015 Study showing a growing acknowledgement from senior executives on the importance of investing resources dedicated to patient experience leaders. 

Fast forwarding to late spring 2014, I had been in my role with The Beryl Institute as the Director of Learning & Professional Development for one year and we had launched the first five PX Body of Knowledge courses.  In 2015, we achieved a major milestone when all 15 courses became available, one for each domain.   It was the first time a comprehensive program was available supporting professional development of healthcare leaders in the field of patient experience. 

We have since awarded a total of over 60 Certificates in Patient Experience Leadership and Patient Advocacy and there are over 250 currently completing the PX Body of Knowledge courses.  Not only do these numbers show the high level of interest patient experience professionals have in developing their knowledge and skills but they show again the acknowledgement by senior executives of the critical role of leadership in achieving patient experience excellence.

As I come to a close with my reflections, I would be remiss if I did not mention the incredible work at our sister organization, Patient Experience Institute.  Following a rigorous and standardized process and involving hundreds of members of the global patient experience community, the first inaugural Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP) exam was launched this past December. Achievement of CPXP certification highlights a commitment to the profession and to maintaining current skills and knowledge in supporting and expanding the field of patient experience and demonstrates clear qualifications to senior leaders, colleagues, and the industry. 

It’s always nice to reflect back as a means to identify the progress made. We know patient experience matters, it continues to be a top priority and there is a growing acknowledgement of the critical need and value for dedicated patient experience leaders.  And to that end, we must all take action in shaping the future field of patient experience.

  1. There is a recognized need for individuals with the knowledge and skills to lead patient experience efforts.  Use the PX Body of Knowledge framework to assess your professional development needs and build a plan to advance your knowledge and skills.
  2. Everyone plays an important role in the patient experience.  Share the framework with your Human Resource partners and work with them integrating the patient experience leadership competencies as part of an overall talent management strategy.
  3. Senior Leaders recognize that leadership is a strategic asset.  Be a role model and distinguish yourself as a leader in today’s healthcare marketplace.  Work within your organization's advocating and in supporting all healthcare leaders have the skills and knowledge critical to ensure the best experiences for your patients, their families and your employees positioning your organization to drive the best in outcomes for all you serve.  

As the journey continues, I’m excited about the future.  I encourage each of you to be part of the ongoing conversation sharing your ideas on how to support, educate and influence the many leaders across all functions within your organization.  I know I'm looking forward to the conversation next week with healthcare human resource professionals as they explore their role in ensuring an excellent experience for all.

Deanna Frings
Director, Learning and Professional Development
The Beryl Institute

 

Tags:  community  community of practice  employee engagement  engagement  healthcare  improving patient experience  Leadership  Patient Experience  service excellence 

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When the Patient Experience becomes more Personal

Posted By Stacy Palmer, Wednesday, March 2, 2016

We have an incredibly passionate community at The Beryl Institute. I know for many that passion has been fueled by personal experiences that drove them to be part of this work. Others have been inspired to join the patient experience movement to spread what they believe is the right thing to do for those we serve. And sometimes while doing this work they have encountered their own life experiences, whether small bumps in the road or larger life-changing events, that reinforced the importance of patient experience and provided new perspective to guide their efforts.

Last year I experienced this firsthand when my daughter, Maya, dislocated and fractured her elbow while cheerleading. She had an emergency reduction surgery the night of the accident to put her elbow back in place and a second surgery a few days later to insert a screw to correct the fracture. All went well, but they decided to keep her overnight to help control her pain and that one night provided an incredible opportunity for reflection and perspective for me as a person who has built a career in patient experience. 

While I work everyday to share stories and practices of how our community works to improve the healthcare experience, I’ve been fortunate to have very few patient or family experiences myself. It’s amazing how your perspective intensifies when you’re sitting inside a hospital room observing the care of a loved one.

A few ideas were reinforced for me that night and, as simple as they are, I believe they are important considerations as we address overall experience.

  • Patients (and those who love and care for them) are incredibly vulnerable in a healthcare setting. Maya and I are pretty confident in our regular routines, but we were a bit clueless at the hospital – even with simple things such as ordering meals and turning on the TV. More significantly, we were at the hands of the staff to know what medicines she should have, if her body was reacting as it should to the surgery and how to best control the pain. We had to trust the healthcare team. As a children’s hospital, I must acknowledge they had several things in place that helped Maya feel more comfortable. Volunteers brought her a stuffed lamb and they let her select from a fun collection of super soft blankets to use while there that she could also take home. The hospital even had a Build-a-Bear Workshop on site, which I believe was the key motivator in getting her walking around post-surgery. Any steps, however large or small, an organization can to take to comfort and ease the feeling of vulnerability can have a significant impact.  
  • Healthcare workers are human. I think people often place doctors and nurses on pedestals in their minds assuming they should have perfect accuracy, bedside manners and responsiveness. While Maya had some great people caring for her, I was quickly reminded they were human. They had varied levels of experience, focus and relationship skills. As humans they also had their own lives that did have an impact on how they cared for my daughter – maybe stresses at home, conflict with co-workers or even their own health challenges. Regardless of how dedicated and professional, humans make mistakes. I came to appreciate all the checks and balances they implemented to help prevent that. At first I was a little disturbed by the redundant questions like “What is your name? Birthday? Any allergies?” But as I reminded myself the staff were each caring for multiple patients, I learned to appreciate their diligence to make sure everything matched up. I encourage healthcare workers to explain the needs for these steps to patients as this goes a long way in giving them confidence in their healthcare team.
  • Patients need advocates. The vulnerability and realization that the staff treating Maya were human reinforced a point that sometimes gets overlooked in healthcare – the important role of the caregiver. A few years ago a co-worker’s husband was in the hospital and she refused to leave his side. As much as she respected the healthcare team caring for him, she realized no one had his best interest at heart as much as she did. She was there to be sure they gave him the right medicines, at the right times and in the right amounts. She kept a journal of his condition and symptoms to share with the doctor, and she was there to be sure he ate, had food choices he liked and any assistance he needed. After being in the hospital with Maya for just one night, I understood her point completely, and not just because Maya was 11. The caregiver can play a vital role in helping ensure quality, safety and experience are what they should be in all care settings.

Maya was lucky that her hospital stay was short and she was quickly on the road to recovery. Being with her that night enriched my perspective and purpose, both as a mom caring for a child and as a professional committed to help make the healthcare experience the best it can be for everyone.

We are currently working on a white paper at the Institute that will share the stories of many patient experience leaders who, in the face of a personal health experience – however large or small, shifted their perspective from PX leader to patient or patient’s family member. If you are willing to share your story, we encourage you to participate in this project. 

Stacy Palmer
Vice President, Strategy and Member Experience
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  choice  community  engagement  Field of Patient Experience  improving patient experience  patient  patient and family  patient engagement  Patient Experience  perception  service excellence  voice 

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Silence: The Invisible Tool for Patient Experience Excellence

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I must start my comments with a disclaimer that this blog is not about noise reduction, though I still have yet to find an organization that has conquered this great challenge in healthcare today. In fact our own research at The Beryl Institute continues to show noise reduction to be a leading area of focus, public survey results continue to highlight it as a challenge and a simple walk around most healthcare facilities reinforces the opportunity this issue represents.

Interesting enough was that in our own work on the issue of noise and hearing from recognized efforts in the field of healthcare acoustics that we will never and in actually should never strive for perfect silence. Not only would it be unachievable, it would not meet the true needs of so many in our care. Rather what I mean by silence as we look to patient experience excellence is a much different idea. I wish to frame this not as a negative – i.e., the result of suppressing noise, but rather in the appreciative, as the art of creating a space in which we can hear.

I spent the last week traveling the halls of healthcare organizations and was warmed by the buzz of humanity, and embraced by the rhythmic symphony of conversations and footsteps, beeps and clicks all symbolizing the living nature of healthcare. But what was most moving and perhaps most powerful was a lesson hiding invisibly in front of all us in healthcare trying to have a positive impact…it was those subtle moments between the beats that have incredible power.

In providing a sense of silence for those we work with, care for and serve we create a space for their voices to be heard, their ideas to find opportunities to grow. In affording the gift of silence – that is the space of silence – we enable people to feel acknowledged and listened too. Yet we must also admit that of all places healthcare may be the hardest place to provide this space of silence.

What I mean by this is our ability to be with someone so they can express themselves, providing time to think and reply, to open our eyes or inform us even in the face of the great expertise so many bring in this work. In the space of silence we do more to offer a sense of dignity and respect, of care, compassion, and commitment than we almost ever do in providing a monologue pertaining to our expertise. There is a time and a place for that as well.

In a world where speed so often matters and chaos is the foundation of normality, the ability to sit with someone and allow them to be heard is profound. So how can we proceed in this way for better outcomes in all we do? It may be the most simple, yet difficult concept I have yet proposed in tacking patient experience opportunities. Yet I see it over and over, when we take the time to listen for needs, understand pains, work to connect with the human standing across from us that most of all wants to be heard, great things can and do happen.

As an extrovert I am guilty of violating this trust more often that I would like to admit, so I feel comfortable challenging us all in how we can proceed. How often do we provide the space for a reply, invite a comment or simply choose to be with someone by sitting at their bedside, holding their hand. Words at times do more to create our noise problems than anything else. More so we hear from many that in their attempt to be heard we in healthcare often miss their voices…our lack of silence being the very liability we look to avoid.

This was no more apparent to me than in the moving story shared by a brave colleague Tanya Lord who in all she tried to raise about the care of her son in a mishandled post operative situation was simply given the typical responses and they were eventually discharged from care. In many ways to me her story, and the tragic and painful loss of her son, was a bold splash of our cold reality in healthcare. We must find the time for silence and to listen…in those moments we have the greatest chance to change, if not save, lives. We must also acknowledge this is about much more then the act of listening. I am sure many of the folks with whom Tanya engaged listened, they just did not hear. They too missed the art of silence. To be clear, I am not suggesting a silence in which people are not heard, but rather in creating the space in which we actually allow hearing to happen.

If we are to achieve the best in experience for all in healthcare it cannot simply be about what we say or know, the strategies we shape or the tactics we employ. At its very essence it must be about how we as humans choose to address this sacred and critical work. In all that is sacred I maintain the most transforming moments are less often found in the words and more in the silent moments and what they contain in between. If we can intentionally bring silence to our work in patient experience it may be the boldest and I dare say loudest statement of our humanity and all we strive to achieve in caring for one another. I am willing to give it a try…are you?

 

 

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

Tags:  committment  compassion  culture  engagement  improving patient experience  listen  noise reduction  patient experiencePatient Experience 

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