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The Beryl Institute Patient Experience Blog
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Patient Experience: A Global Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Taking a Stand on Patient Experience Policy

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Thursday, November 3, 2016

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

These words by Margaret Meade may both best exemplify the efforts of our growing patient experience movement and in some ways now mischaracterize what is truly happening. What has evolved in the last decade, grounded in a rich history of patient’s rights and patient advocacy and catalyzed by the perfect storm of policy, technology, access to information and shifting expectations, is both a new sense of power and increased accountability to change the very conversation of healthcare itself. No longer are people in and engaging with healthcare systems globally sitting idly by as passengers, but rather with each passing day more and more are raising their voices on their own needs, expectations and perspectives. And while this may challenge many long standing traditions of HOW, specifically, the art of medicine was practiced, in fact, this emerging perspective may fundamentally underline the WHY of healthcare found at its very beginnings.

This premise, that we are reigniting our focus in healthcare on human beings caring for human beings, is at the heart of the growing patient experience movement. We are no longer just a small group, but an expanding community of committed people, both those experiencing care and those providing it. Yet in this effort there remains the need for sparks of progress and the dynamic tension that continues to push us past complacency to the new edges of this movement.

That very thing happened in the last year when a group of patient experience leaders associated with the Institute raised the critical issue of ensuring their voices and the voices of those they cared for were more actively engaged in shaping the very policy under which they were expected to act. From that inspiring discussion evolved an initial gathering held just last week to begin and expand a dialogue on what a stand on engaging in patient experience policy can and should look like. This meeting on creating a framework for patient experience policy brought together a range of rich and diverse perspectives, including patient and family voices, healthcare and patient experience leadership, organizations and institutes who have committed years to expanding this dialogue in healthcare for patients and families, caregivers and physicians and the policy framers themselves.

The purpose of this gathering was to act as a jumping off point for an expanding and inclusive conversation on the importance of engaging all voices in policy related to patient experience. The meeting served as a working session for shared discovery and creation and reinforced the importance of active engagement in driving policy decisions in our healthcare system today. As a result of the group’s work, critical priorities were identified with a shared recognition that this was just the first step in how these topics should be addressed. The priorities and some initial thinking around each include:

  • Value – What is the value of a true commitment to patient experience?
  • Patient/Family Voice – How do we give clear and strong opportunities for the voices of the healthcare consumer to be heard?
  • Measurement – How do we ensure we are measuring what matters in ways that are both of value and minimal burden?
  • Alignment – In what ways can we ensure coordination across the continuum of care so efforts reflect the totality of experience, not just distinct segments of it?
  • Transparency – How can we expand the opportunity beyond just posting scores and cost to access to information and understanding of healthcare itself?
  • Professional Education/Workforce Development – In what ways must we rethink training healthcare professionals to ensure a shared understanding of experience and a focused commitment to action?
  • Healthcare Teams/Employees – How do we reinforce our commitment to those who have chosen to care for others, reinforce resilience and tackle compassion fatigue and burnout?

From this effort and alignment around these priorities, emerged a strong sense of both connection and purpose among the participants and their respective organizations. There was also an acknowledgement that this emerging coalition for patient experience policy had a great deal of work ahead. Perhaps the most important recognition of the gathering was that we are just at the beginning of this effort, and for all the voices that could fit in this small room, there are many more to still be engaged across the spectrum of healthcare.

This is where everyone who inspired this initial step, everyone who participated in this first gathering and all who are yet to engage in this effort now stand. At the edge of a new and vital frontier of bringing voice to ensuring healthcare remains true to its purpose. In a landscape of political churn and often competing organizational priorities by many of the interests who often capitalize on the healthcare system, this group and each and every one of you engaged in the patient experience movement have to put a stake in the ground that our voices and these issues are vital to where healthcare moves.

This is not to say there are not current efforts underway to address some of these very priorities today, but more so we believe with collective and clear voice the opportunities for impacting healthcare for all it encompasses is even greater. And with great thanks to the catalysts of this conversation, the participants in this gathering and to all of you who will move this effort forward, that is the opportunity before us. I can think of no greater or important journey we can be on together than that of ensuring the best we can as human beings caring for human beings.

If you are interested in actively participating in or staying up to date on the patient experience policy effort, you can provide your contact information via this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PX_POLICY.

 

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

Tags:  healthcare policy  leadership  professional education  stand  state of patient experience  value 

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