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The Beryl Institute invites members to submit posts on patient experience related topics. For guidelines and information on submitting a post for consideration, contact michelle.garrison@theberylinstitute.org.

 

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Top tags: patient experience  healthcare  communication  patient  culture  HCAHPS  Leadership  patient engagement  empathy  physician  survey  compassion  perception  physicians  caregiver  data  employee engagement  family engagement  healing  Hospital  improving patient experience  community  Consumerism  Expectations  interactions  patient and family engagement  pediatric  person-centered care  relationship  service excellence 

Connecting with Patients is Key

Posted By Tom Scaletta MD CPXP, Thursday, February 15, 2018
Updated: Thursday, February 15, 2018

I think everyone today can agree on the importance of having communication tools to interact with patients and family members. However, in the era of value-based healthcare, doing a good job interacting with patients is not nearly enough.

At my organization, we have created a simple communication tool called G.R.E.A.T.™ that will help inspire a service-minded culture. This service standard helped us align our mission/vision/values with our culture and leads to enhanced patient satisfaction, improved care quality and a more engaged staff. Connecting on a deeper level with our patients and being mindful of their understanding of what is going on are essential components in achieving optimal outcomes.

A key component of the G.R.E.A.T. ™ is the ‘R’ that stands for ‘relate.’ To truly connect to our patients (or their family members), it is essential to have a personal conversation separate from the medical issues (of course, assuming the patient is not in any immediate distress). 

An easy way to create a rapport with patients, across generations, is to ask about one’s aspirations or accomplishments.

  • With younger patients, “What profession are you planning?”
  • With middle-agers, “What is your profession?” and
  • With older patients, “What was your profession?”

Such questions typically leads to some back-and-forth banter that creates a nice bond. You will find you like the patient more … and they will like you more. The content of the conversation is not important though it must be authentic and empathetic. This type of interchange will create trust, the foundation of the people experience, that of both patients and providers. 

These conversations are beneficial not only for the patient but also the providers of care. A great patient experience requires a great provider experience and a great provider experience requires a great patient experience. The closer you get to your patients the further you get from burnout.

I would like to share a story of this in practice. I was working a typical emergency department shift with a great team and had a steady influx of patients all evening. At 8 pm paramedics rolled in with an elderly, demented lady from a nursing home with right-sided weakness that began yesterday. A CT scan uncovered a golf-ball sized tumor with swelling. She had a history of breast cancer so this likely represented a metastatic lesion. Typical care ensued -- fluids, steroids, comfort medications and a call to the hospitalist for admission.

I then phoned the patient's daughter (and power of attorney) to suggest that she and other family members begin discussing how aggressive they wanted the treatment plan to be. The daughter interrupted, "Doctor, could you just go to my mom's bedside and say 'Dr. Peters, you were right'?" After my "Huh?" she explained "My mom is smart and knows her body. She has a PhD in both psychology and religion. Last month, a doctor told us she has progressive, incurable dementia. When he left the room my mom turned to me and said 'Well, yes, I'm certainly more confused but I'm not demented. They just haven't figured out what this is.'"

So, I went to her room, sat down, described the situation, and ended with "Dr. Peters, you were right." She turned to me beaming with pride and confidence and said "I knew it!" 

She certainly did.

I slipped a copy of her CV that I found online into her chart. I wanted everyone to know this amazing woman that all of us were privileged to care for.

Tom Scaletta, MD CPXP CPPS, obtained an undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science and worked as an computer programmer before entering medical school. He completed a residency at Northwestern and is board-certified in emergency medicine and clinical informatics. Tom serves as the emergency department chairperson and medical director of patient experience for Edward Elmhurst Health. While President of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, Tom collaborated with the Emergency Nurses Association to create a Code of Professional Conduct. His white papers, “The Seven Pillars of Emergency Medicine Excellence” and “The Calculus of Patient Satisfaction,” were published by Medscape. Tom designed the first patient callback system in 1996 and the first automated means of text/email contact and staff notification in 2012. His models were praised by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urgent Matters (George Washington University), an organization that evaluates emergency medicine innovations.

Tags:  communication  connection  empathy  patient experience  provider experience 

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How We Are Bringing the Voices of Patient and Family Advisors Together

Posted By David Andrews, Shari Berman, Erika Holliday, Barbara Lewis and Zal Press, Monday, November 28, 2016

The Beryl Institute Global Patient and Family Advisory Council consists of 15 people from around the world who come together to provide advice on the strategic and tactical direction of The Beryl Institute. Our role is to ensure that the voices of patients and families are central to the focus and decisions taken by the Institute.

Our members are people with chronic conditions, survivors, caregivers and family members whose collective purpose in our work is to use our experience as the guide to system and care delivery transformation.

While reflecting on our experience as members of The Beryl Institute community, it became evident that most patient and family advisors (PFAs) are working in relative isolation in their own organizations. Our council initiated an effort to begin the creation of a patient led and patient driven community within The Beryl Institute.  This community will recognize the value of PFAs, honor their work and provide a platform where we share information, resources, education, stories, successes and failures, and through which we can have greater influence.

In the past year, we have focused on the necessary building blocks for a community with PFAs as peer members with access to all the robust offerings and resources of the Institute.  The goal is to enable and empower, to build capacity and ability, and to maximize the opportunity of all PFAs to have the kind of impact that will catalyze the change necessary to improve the patient experience in care delivery and design, policy discussions, and research and development.

This has now brought us to the starting point for building our worldwide community that brings people from around the globe together in common purpose.

To that end, we have developed a three-step plan to build that community:

  • Phase 1: Gather – We are reaching out to all engaged in The Beryl Institute community to identify PFAs within their institutions. We want to know who they are, where they are, what their roles are and how to best communicate with them.
  • Phase 2: Inquire – We are committed to co-creation of a PFA Community movement. To achieve this, we will ask members what they want and need that will help improve the patient experience.
  • Phase 3: Build – Based on what we discover, we will build the connections, resources and information the community has identified to build a working network with greater power to influence.

To start on Phase 1, we have a short survey (see link below). Please share widely. The patient and family voice is critical to what we all do. Increasing the impact of PFAs will reinforce their value and enhance the benefit not only to the individual organizations but to the entire patient experience movement. By creating this network PFAs will have the opportunity to be influential partners in the improvement of the patient experience.

Complete and share our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PFA_Community


The authors are members of The Beryl Institute Global Patient and Family Advisory Council and form the steering committee for the development of the Patient and Family Advisor Community.

Tags:  community  connection  global  inquiry  networking  patient and family advisor  patient and family advisory council  PFA 

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