Posted By Mark VanderKlipp,
Friday, January 19, 2018
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With the holiday season over, your thoughts have undoubtedly turned from gift giving and New
Year’s resolutions to “getting back to daily life.” As you do so, I’d encourage you to consider a
resolution to provide a gift to your staff, patients and their families that keeps on giving: clarity.
In over 30 years as a designer, I’ve seen clients focus more on the tool (the identity,
communication, policy, wayfinding system, mobile app, architecture, etc.) than they do on the
anticipated behaviors of the people that support or interact with those tools.
To be sure, these are critical elements designed to support any patient experience initiative. My
goal in writing this post is to help you see the value of designing for human interactions
(engagement, connection, expectation, interaction, enlistment, orientation, learning) as well as
the tools themselves.
In a 2015 HBR article1, the authors assert that “with very complex tools, the design of their
‘intervention’—their introduction and integration into the status quo—is even more critical to
success than the design of the tools themselves. The more complex and less tangible the
designed tool is, the less feasible it is for the designer to ignore its potential ripple effects.”
For most healthcare employees and consumers, there is no more complex, less tangible
experience than a bewildering, impenetrable and continually changing health care system. The
tools created to help engender clarity need to be thoughtfully designed, tested and integrated
to assure they don’t add to the stress, both for caregivers and patients.2
Here’s an example: a formerly independent hospital merges with a much larger faith-based
institution. The wheels are set in motion to design tools to support this merger: internal and
external brand communications, updated facilities, wayfinding signage, EMR systems, billing
systems, relationships with insurers, ambulatory clinic networks, HR policies and procedures,
the list goes on and on.
As a clinical or clerical provider, I need clarity:
- As an ambassador for this new faith-based brand, ostensibly very different from the old one,
how is my behavior expected to change?
- Will I be able to help design the process to successfully navigate the transition?
- As new tools are designed and integrated, how will I be prepared to use them?
- How can I, in my day to day role, bring clarity to our patients and their families?
As a patient or community member, I need clarity:
- How will this impact me? How will it benefit me?
- How will expectations of me, as a patient or community member, change?
- How will the organization help make the transition easier?
- Will there be physical changes? Will I be able to park and enter in the place I always have?
- Who will help me? Will the people I’ve come to know and trust still be there?
The gift of clarity establishes the roots needed to visualize, design and deliver a a human centered
healthcare experience: to understand the potential points of confusion, then meet
individuals at each step in their journey with simple, consistent and well-supported tools.
Whether these are designed to support small initiatives or large-scale transitions, anticipating
the “ripple effects” of human interactions is critical to achieving sustainable success.
Creating an effective caregiving culture happens by design, not by default. It’s up to us as
practitioners to break down silos, see gaps in communications, then test and iterate the tools
designed to bring clarity to the questions that our staff, patients and their families bring to this
world of healthcare experience.
Truly, there is no greater gift we can give. Happy New Year!
1. Design for Action, Harvard Business Review, September 2015 by Tim Brown and Roger L. Martin
2. Creating a Culture of Health: Design that Goes Beyond the Mobile Application by Dr. Joyce Lee MD, MPH “Doctor as Designer “ @joyclee
Mark VanderKlipp is an experience and systems designer, working in human-centered graphic design for over 30 years. He helps clients visualize the systems within which they function, empowering staff to deliver an experience that’s clear, relevant and human. He previously spent 24 years with a world-class wayfinding design firm, 13 as its president, where he was the lead strategist for diverse assignments in healthcare, higher education, civic, corporate, trails and tourism throughout North America. Mark is a 1987 graduate of the University of Michigan. In 2012 he earned his evidence-based design certification (EDAC) through the Center for Health Design, and in 2017 became certified in Systems Practice through +Acumen. He is also a founding partner of the customer experience consulting firm Connect_CX.
Posted By Julie A. Snow,
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2017
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As a patient, it can be uncomfortable and overwhelming to stay in a lonely hospital room with a seemingly neverending stream of unfamiliar faces coming and going throughout all hours of the day and night.
Hospitals can do a lot to improve the patient experience. One simple, yet surprisingly effective way to do so is by simply taking the time to introduce the patient to his or her care team professionals. This one act can improve a patient’s familiarity with their care team members, enhance their awareness of what to expect from each member and increase their confidence in the care that is being provided. When these things happen, the doctors, nurses and other hospital staff can also feel more connected with and more committed to providing the best care possible.
With both patients and providers quickly establishing a relationship with each other, patient satisfaction with their overall hospital experience can improve drastically while hospital staff feels more fulfilled in their work. It becomes a win-win situation.
Improve Patient Familiarity with Care Team Members
A team-based approach to patient care is widely used by hospitals. This is to ensure the best care possible for each patient. When the team is optimized by being composed of staff members who are working to the highest level of their expertise and abilities, the following can be accomplished:
- Patients gain enhanced access to a team of experienced professionals
- Patients are more satisfied with their stay
- Care will see improved levels of quality, reliability, and safety
- Hospital costs will reduce
If there is a downside to using a whole team of rotating professionals, it’s that the patient may not be given much of a chance to establish a relationship with each team member. This delays or reduces the chance for trust to be built. However, by keeping patients regularly updated on not only the name of their care provider but also their photo, title, and qualifications, it is easier to build a higher level of trust in a shorter amount of time.
Increase Patient Trust and Confidence
So what happens when patients are more familiar with the background, qualifications and certifications of each team member who is responsible for their care? Patients feel more comfortable in the hospital environment and even the confidence in themselves and their ability to heal is increased.
With this newfound trust and confidence, patients can become more empowered to voice their concerns, ask questions regarding their care plan or prescriptions and accept the advice of experts. After a patient leaves the hospital, they will be more likely to follow their doctor’s instructions and seek needed follow-up care.
A New Way for Introductions
A nurse can write his or her name on a whiteboard hung up on a patient’s wall, but now there is a better, more engaging way to make introductions. Hospitals are introducing their patients to care team members via an in-room television or even a digital whiteboard displayed on a personal tablet. This method has proven effective since the updates happen automatically, in real time, and patients are familiar with the format.
Easy access to information and enhancing patient awareness both play a big part in the encouragement of patients to open a consistent dialog with their care provider. A simple conversation can make all the difference in the health and wellness of a patient.
Patients are determined, more than ever before, to be fully engaged and educated in their own health care. By giving them the opportunity to be proactive when interacting with their care team, you are also giving them the opportunity to be more fully satisfied with their overall hospital experience.
Julie A. Snow is a health researcher and writer who has worked together with Sonifi Health to improve patient experience. When she isn’t working or mothering, you’ll usually find her in an Ashtanga Yoga arm balance or eating (sometimes both at the same time).
Posted By Martie Moore,
Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 30, 2015
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Today, we live in a complex healthcare world. And unfortunately, the excellent patient care always desired, sometimes gets lost in the chaos.
Yet every day, we have the opportunity to calm the chaos and bring to life what Patient Experience Week is truly about: aligning head and heart with compassion.
As Chief Nursing Officer at Medline, it’s my job to uncover new ways to help clinicians meet their patients’ needs. I spend a lot of time in the field talking with clinicians about patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. For this week, I wanted to do even more. I talked with nursing students, the future of patient care, about aligning head and heart with compassion.
On choosing healthcare:
"I went to college to become a graphic designer. You were always trying to compete with the next person and it just didn’t match my personality, so I started seeking other opportunities. During that time, my grandfather was going through some bouts of cancer. We had good experiences and bad experiences with clinicians. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a nurse and provide patient care.”
Christopher Galloway, MSN candidate at Resurrection University in Chicago
On defining patient experience:
"To me, patient experience is the overall perception a person has about the care they received from a healthcare provider. No matter the diagnosis, if a person feels that they were well-taken care of, they will be satisfied.”
Julie Neske Bierach, Accelerated BSN program at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College in St. Louis
On your first face-to-face interaction with a patient:
"I felt unprepared to handle that level of responsibility, making decisions that directly influence the well-being of another person who has put their faith in the health care system. Often times, patients value the things that you take for granted. My patient may not remember that I ensured her fluid status was adequate every day, but she was sure to thank me upon discharge for making sure she was warm each morning and had enough blankets and pillows. These experiences highlight the balance between the art and science of medicine.”
Jordan Gales, third year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
On dealing with life and loss:
"For those that have ever met me, it’s no secret that I’m an emotional person. In nursing, this is almost a paradox—you need innate compassion and emotion to feel for each of your patients and their individual journeys in order to help them, but on the other hand, nurses deal with loss on a daily basis. And they must learn to move on, and not carry each lost patient with them or that can take a huge toll on them emotionally, mentally and physically. When I think about what I need to do to deal with life and loss, I know I’m the kind of person who will put myself in the affected family’s shoes and think about that person that was taken too young, too soon or too unexpectedly. It will weigh heavily on my mind, and more so my heart. Yet, I know I will bounce back, move on and let it go without forgetting the memories of these individuals.”
Lauren Cummings, third-year nursing student at the University of Iowa, College of Nursing
Martie Moore is chief nursing officer of Medline Industries, Inc. based in Mundelein, Ill, a leading provider of medical products and clinical solutions across the continuum of care. In this role, Moore provides nursing leadership for solution-driven clinical programs, delivers product development to enhance bedside practice and launches quality initiatives across the continuum of care. With what she learned during the nearly 30 years of clinical experience and extensive executive leadership, Moore now develops forward-thinking solutions and programs for those in the field today.
Posted By Diana B. Denholm, Ph.D.,
Monday, December 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
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Reading Dr. Wolf’s Patient Experience blogs, we learn the importance of involvement in order to achieve excellence, that patients are partners and that we are the patient experience. Whether we’re actually the patient, or part of family or professional care teams, we all make up the patient experience. While instituting change may be arduous, if we see a problem, I believe it’s our responsibility to try to do something about it. We need to get involved and propel that move toward excellence – even if life has thrown lemons at us – or maybe because it has.
In 1999 my husband, John, received a heart transplant at a major teaching hospital. While in intensive care, he was intubated and was put in hand restraints so he couldn’t pull out the tube. Although it was still within his reach, his nurse call button was broken. Although the walls around him were glass, his charts were taped to the window blocking all view of his face. Then something went wrong - and he started choking. He was in distress, frightened and in danger - and he couldn’t get anybody’s attention to help him. Here in one of the finest teaching hospitals in the world, my husband had no way to signal for assistance. It was horrible for him.
I’ll never forget how panicked he was when I came into his room and discovered this inexcusable circumstance. I’ll never forget how appalled and angry I was that this had happened to my Darling John! What a horrific patient experience!
Once out of danger, he was given a piece of paper with the alphabet on it and told to point to letters to spell out what he wanted to say. This ridiculous method was infuriating. Yet, any time you or your loved ones are hospitalized, you face the possibility of encountering similar frustrating, frightening and dangerous circumstances because patient communication methods are often sorely inadequate. This shouldn’t happen to you, nor to those you love and care about.
Rather than citing the hospital for negligence, I did something more constructive and more important. I invented a patient concierge system to help every hospitalized person, you and your loved ones, have a better and safer patient experience.
Of course you want to have your loved ones close when you are ill, and loved ones want to be close to you. Yet visits aren’t always allowed. My secretary had a heart attack and was hospitalized for several months. Because she had a trach tube, written notes were her only form of communication. She was in a long-term relationship, but her gentleman friend was not allowed to visit because he wasn’t a relative – thus creating a greatly diminished patient experience for her. Picture your cell phone and computer in 1999 and you’ll quickly remember how difficult it was to communicate with anyone – even if you could get cell service. So, technology didn’t even provide a serviceable option. As a board certified medical psychotherapist, I know these loving interactions are crucial to a compassionate experience and to creating the most beneficial healing environment.
Instead of focusing just on the needs of the professional care team, which was the norm for hospitals for many years, the focus desperately needed to be shifted to patient-family centered care practices providing direct access links to care staff, support services, food services, and family and visitors. Though it’s taken many years since this 1999 incident, we’ve seen the tide begin to turn making the patient experience and patient satisfaction so fundamental that reimbursements are now linked to them. Patient partnering and involvement are what turned that tide toward an excellent patient experience.
Diana B. Denholm, Ph.D., an internationally recognized caregiving expert, is the inventor of myPAL™ – Patient Access Links and the author of The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook (www.caregivingwife.com) which is endorsed by the AARP, National Council on Aging and Mental Health America. She currently writes for Psychology Today, Stroke Network, PBS and a variety of print publications. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
patient centered care