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The Beryl Institute Patient Experience Blog
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Pokémon Go…or No?

Posted By Michelle Garrison, CPXP, Thursday, September 8, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

As a patient experience community our members and guests are consistently seeking ways to engage and support the patients and families they serve, and the use of technology including personal health tracking apps, wearable devices and gaming through mobile devices can play an important role in contributing to a positive hospital experience by providing an opportunity to promote not only exercise but also social interaction.

By now, many of you have heard about Pokémon Go and may even be playing it yourselves. For those of you who might not know, Pokémon Go is an app where players can explore their surroundings and search for Pokémon creatures. There are also “Pokestops,” where you can collect items that you use in the game and gyms, where you battle for control against other players. Not sure if your hospital has Pokémon? If you have an interesting or unique art piece somewhere in your hospital, chances are it’s a “hot spot.”

Pokémon Go can provide an opportunity to positively affect the patient experience in a variety of ways. Some hospitals are using the app as a way to encourage their patients to get out of bed and be more mobile. Others have reported that patients have attributed weight loss to their use of the game. In order to catch Pokémon, you have to find them and that means going to different places and walking around. The game actively encourages walking by rewarding you when you hit milestones.

When you see patients or family members interested or actively involved, it is an another opportunity to make a connection with them. Just imagine how this could impact someone and possibly take their mind off of their next procedure even for a brief moment as well as foster a connection for the next time you walk in the room. One patient experience leader shared with me a recent experience she had.

What an AMAZING opportunity for patients, siblings and families to experience during a hospital stay or long clinic day!  Something truly special that they can readily access while others cannot. I personally spoke with a father who was playing with his son. I asked whether they were playing Pokémon Go.  They responded yes, and then, with great excitement, shared with me that our hospital was a “hot spot.”  Dad paused and said, “My daughter is upstairs (in a hospital room).  She cannot leave the room yet, but she’s been able to use her phone and play the game from her bed.”  He said they were thankful that she and her siblings could all enjoy the game.

There are downsides though, with the game having unexpected impact on hospitals’ daily operation. Hospitals are reporting more visitors, in particular unsupervised teens coming in to play the game. As well as there are concerns around increased traffic in areas of hospitals, including, front entrances, Emergency Departments and even near Critical Care Units. This leads to privacy and security issues. In a hospital, this can raise issues of patient confidentiality with gamers entering areas of hospitals where they might inadvertently have access to sensitive patient information. There are also safety concerns. Besides players wandering into restricted areas where they themselves could be injured, there is also an increased risk of infection due to germ exposure.

Some hospitals are moving forward and requesting that their facilities be removed from the game. Many are putting signs up asking people to be respectful of patients’ privacy and reminding them that hospitals are a place where people come to heal and not a gaming area. Others have alerted staff and asked them to report to security anyone they see playing.

While they are negatives that must be addressed and managed, there are benefits. As long as it is managed in a way that is safe for patients, staff and the community, there are opportunities to use the game in a way to impact the patient experience in a positive and meaningful way. In healthcare, we strive to provide opportunities to provide the best experience for our patients and family members. Technology and gaming apps can help with this, providing a way to interact with patients, motivate them and get them active. As your patients are trying to “catch ‘em all,” it could also make the hospital a little less scary place for them to be.

As we have seen, new technologies are consistently playing an important role in improving interactions and engagement with patients and family members. We would love to more about how not only this game but other technologies have impacted you and your organization in improving the experience for your patients, family members, staff and the overall community. What new technologies have helped you engage with patients and family members and how? What benefits and challenges have you seen from implementing new technologies?

Michelle Garrison
Director, Member Experience
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  interactions  patient engagement  patient experience  Pokemon Go  technology 

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Considerations for Patient Experience Excellence: 2016

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Thursday, January 7, 2016

As we have watched the patient experience movement grow in the last five years of our journey at The Beryl Institute, we have seen increasing levels of commitment to this effort and a refocusing on what matters versus simply what is measured. Many began their involvement in patient experience efforts purely due to motivation by policy, measurement and then eventually financial implications for outcomes. These dynamic shifts driven by policy in the United States were not unique to the country, but rather we have experienced a global wave of acknowledgement of and commitment to action around addressing the experience in healthcare.

What has stirred this broader global movement and created a dynamic shift in how healthcare operates regardless of system or policy? I offer it is connectivity and proximity – not necessarily physical proximity, but what I would call "social proximity”. Social proximity, driven by connectivity, access to information, an open willingness to share ideas, constant access to research, news and even rumors all contribute to an environment for humankind that has dramatically shifted in the last decade and with increasing speed in the last few years.

So what are the implications for this on patient experience? We are now at a critical turning point where one can no longer diminish or downplay that experience matters. In fact, I would warn those that do or more so resist or fight this shift, that you will soon be swallowed up by the tides if you choose not to climb aboard. We are at a pivotal time in the journey due to these and many other dynamics changing how we deliver care and how consumers of care perceive and expect it.

2016 provides an interesting transition point now 15 years into this rapidly flowing century. In thinking about the year ahead, I offer some considerations whether patient and family member, healthcare provider or a company providing services and resources to healthcare – we are now all in this together.

  • Experience is a MACRO issue. We are no longer talking about "experience of care” as first portrayed in the Triple Aim. Rather we are now readily acknowledging and acting to encompass quality, safety, service, cost, environment, transitions and all the spaces in between in the experience equation
  • Patient and family (consumer) voice is stronger than it has ever been (and won’t be quieting down any time soon). Patients have found their voices in new ways and are showing a fearless willingness to challenge what was once a paternalistic model to raise their own wants and needs.
  • Technology is no longer a differentiator, i.e., specifically saying you are engaging in technology solutions. It will be how you use technology, the information it can provide and the way it impacts your ability to provide care and more positive experiences that will matter most.
  • Tactics, even strong ones may move you forward, but will not support you in achieving ultimate success. There is now a clear recognition that experience efforts are no longer driven simply by a list of tactics, but rather by comprehensive strategies with unwavering focus and committed investment.
  • The "soft stuff” matters and all engaged in healthcare are expressing this in their own ways. Our latest State of Patient Experience study reinforced this very point; that culture, leadership and the people in your organization are the primary keys to driving strong outcomes and overall success.
  • We need to stop calling the "soft stuff” soft. It is perhaps the most challenging and intense area of focus we can and should have in organizational life. Culture change, aligning leadership, ensuring actively engaged people is perhaps the hardest work we can take on. So while deemed soft (perhaps even as an excuse for an inability to affect them), we cannot relent in a commitment to make these efforts central to any plan.
  • "Sharing is cool” – yes for you parents out there I just quoted Pete the Cat (Pete’s Big Lunch to be exact). It remains astonishing to me how so much of what we espouse to our children as critical skills, we lose as we move forward in our careers. Experience excellence is driven not by how much you know as an organization, but rather how much you are willing to share. A value-based world competes on the execution to excellence not simply volume and we should not be hypnotized by one "way” as sacred. It is in our willingness so share broadly and openly that we collectively win. The new healthcare environment calls on us to do this.
  • The global dialogue on experience excellence is emerging as boundary-less and systems will look beyond organizational constraints to the commonalities they can find in driving the best in outcomes for all being cared for or caring for others.

I conclude with one more consideration:

  • Aim high, but start where you have solid ground. I remain resolute that we all have a commitment, whether we have yet acknowledged it or not, to provide the best in experience in healthcare (and must be willing to fully engage in what experience encompasses). Change will increasingly be transformational in healthcare and in simple choices great shifts can occur, but it will take the building blocks of success on which to reach the greatest heights.

Icarus, who in an act of great hubris and in an attempt to achieve it all, flew too close to the sun with his wax wings and fell to the sea. As we look to 2016, we must never let the big ideas fade from view or the small ideas impede our progress. It will be finding a way in which to move each of our organizations forward from where they are, with an understanding that the world is dramatically shifting all around us with increasing speed, where success can be achieved. This is our new world in healthcare and in the patient experience movement that now churns at its core. I believe if we are clear in our efforts and intent, we can and will achieve the best in outcomes for all. Here is to a great year ahead.

 

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

Tags:  consumer  culture  global healthcare  Interaction  patient and family  tactics  technology 

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