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The Beryl Institute Patient Experience Blog
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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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Exploring the Value of Patient Experience

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Tuesday, July 5, 2016

In my most recent Patient Experience Blog I suggested we are now entering the Experience Era, offering eight considerations we should act on to not only usher in its arrival, but also support its place at the heart of our healthcare conversation. At the same time, we are seeing in all corners of healthcare and all touchpoints across the care continuum that the conversation on healthcare is dramatically shifting. Beyond a simple acknowledgement of the rise of consumerism in healthcare there is a more fundamental commitment to a focus on experience and all that encompasses.

Even with a much clearer and measurable focus on experience, we still are in our infancy in identifying and measuring key points of value that are realized in efforts to drive the best in experience. Yet, I believe we can say with some confidence that experience efforts, when approached with the requisite breadth and depth, have a significant influence on the outcomes we look to achieve – both in clinical practice across quality, safety and service and in broader operational results – including clinical and financial outcomes and consumer loyalty and community reputation.

With that recognition, we are excited to open a global inquiry into what people see as the value in a focus on experience overall. Our hope with this exploration is to understand the motivations, actions, impact and outcomes associated with a focus on patient experience. As part of this inquiry we are also looking to identify the proven practices being implemented to address patient experience excellence from the perspective of not only healthcare organizations, but also consumers of healthcare, be they patients, family members or other support networks. I invite and encourage you to participate.

Respondents will be asked to provide thoughts from a primary perspective – that of a patient or family member or member of a support network, that of a healthcare team member, or that of a healthcare leader/administrator – but are invited (and encouraged) to provide insights from the other perspectives they may bring to the conversation. This is critical to reinforcing that all voices matter and in healthcare many actually engage with multiple voices. Through this exploration, incorporating this range of perspectives will help us identify commonalities and distinctions in how people both approach and evaluate patient experience and will allow us to frame a broader picture of how value is perceived.

I believe, as I have seen on our journey in expanding the patient experience conversation these last few years via The Beryl Institute, that we must be willing to ask the big questions and dig into the critical issues that will continue to create the greatest opportunities for healthcare globally. As the experience movement grows we must be rigorous in reinforcing value, committed to continuing to push the edges of our efforts and willing to engage with one another in the topics that will help us to focus with intent on all that is right in healthcare. It is through these efforts that patient experience has found its place at the heart of healthcare overall.

I invite and encourage you to participate and to share this inquiry with your peers and networks. The survey itself should take about 5 minutes to complete and includes 3 open comment questions to answer so respondents can provide the full extent of their thoughts. A report of the findings will be presented this fall and respondents can sign up to get special updates on the survey. You can start the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ValueofPX.

Thank you in advance for your perspective, but more so thank you for your commitment to this movement and to this effort to ensure the experience era in healthcare continues to grow for many years to come.

 

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

Tags:  Consumerism  Continuum of Care  exploration  inquiry  invitation  journey  movement  outcomes  patient experience era  perspective  survey  value 

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It is Time for the Experience Era

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Thursday, May 5, 2016
Updated: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Just three weeks ago as we gathered at Patient Experience Conference 2016 I challenged our participants and the public watching us live that this is our moment in patient experience. If we look to make the kind of change we believe is needed in our new healthcare world, we must work to ensure the conversation on patient experience now rests at the heart of healthcare itself.

This commitment to experience requires a macro-perspective and one I continue to reinforce every chance I can. Patient (and family, resident, elder, etc.) experience is not just about satisfaction or even essential efforts such as patient engagement or approaches such as patient- and family-centeredness. Rather experience is ALL someone has in their encounter with a healthcare organization, be it in a clinical setting at the bedside or exam room, scheduling an appointment, engaging with a bill, and even communicating with a friend at a community event or while at the local market. Every one of these interactions shape the experience someone has, they shape the story someone carries with them about it and influences their perceptions and ultimately their actions.

The bottom line is that in your healthcare organization and the thousands around the world that are engaging with or attending to the needs of their customers right now, you are providing an experience. The question is, are you strategically planning for and addressing it? In a consumer driven healthcare world, regardless of national system, policy incentives or other supports or constraints, the ultimate opportunity is to ensure experience is not simply left to chance. Rather it should be part of the very fiber of your organization, representing the kind of encounters you hope to provide and the outcomes you look to achieve. Yes, at its core, experience encompasses all we tackle in healthcare from quality, safety and service interactions to the implications of cost and the influence that outcomes have on public, systemic and personal health decisions.

I also believe as the experience movement coalesces around these core ideas it has the opportunity to stand with conviction, grounded in evidence, to declare that experience drives the very outcomes we look to achieve in healthcare: clinical outcomes, financial results, consumer loyalty and community reputation. In the latest issue of Patient Experience Journal, I offer, "An investment in a strong and positive patient experience is the leading choice you can and should be making in healthcare today. The results of this decision will only lead to even greater and lasting results.”

This then may be our simple, yet significant call to action. That we recognize and act on the reality that experience encompasses all we do in healthcare and drives the outcomes we aspire to. In that light it brings us to reflect on a new era in healthcare. Thanks to insights from Don Berwick in challenging us to consider a third (what he calls the moral) era, I hope to push us further. Beyond just acknowledging the operational considerations he suggests as we look at how healthcare as a system progresses, we too must look at healthcare for all it was intended to and still must strive to accomplish. It is time to place the human experience back at the heart of healthcare. It is time for the experience era.

The experience era calls us to consider 8 fundamental actions:

  • Acknowledge experience is a global movement
  • Recognize experience encompasses all we do
  • Remember in experience all voices matter
  • Focus on value from the perspective of the consumer
  • Ensure transparency for accessibility & understanding
  • Measure & incent what matters
  • Share wildly and steal willingly
  • Reignite our commitment to purpose

If we move forward with purpose and choose to align our efforts with an experience mindset, we not only welcome the experience era; we reignite the heart of healthcare itself. With a focus on those we care for and serve and a commitment to those who provide care and support those efforts every day, we can build the most healthy and vibrant system of care the world has ever seen. It will take all voices to do this, all nations to commit, all systems to realign themselves and all organizations to focus their intention. It will take all of us to make the choice that experience matters and then act. That is the opportunity we now have in front of us…I am ready for our first steps forward together.

 

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

Tags:  aligning efforts  commitment  encounters  experience era  interaction  movement  Patient Experience Conference  purpose  value 

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