Over the last decade The Beryl Institute has worked to establish a global community of practice on improving the patient experience. This effort has been marked by a number of key milestones and an unwavering commitment to a core value of serving as an independent (i.e., not driven by one vendor or provider perspective), accessible, valuable and innovative voice for connecting people and creating, identifying, and elevating knowledge on the human experience in healthcare. With this focus on ensuring the best information can be found and accessed by the people who need it, when they need it, the Institute has worked relentlessly to positively impact the lives of all served by healthcare and those who serve in healthcare.
The Beryl Institute was initially established as a thought leadership arm for an organization called The Beryl Companies and for its first few years produced a small number of publications and provided a client conference for the company’s clients. In 2009, Jason Wolf connected with Paul Spiegelman, the CEO of The Beryl Companies with an idea of what The Beryl Institute could be. With a commitment to establish an independent community not driven by one vendor or provider, that would create and hold a safe place for collaboration and the sharing of knowledge with the idea that in elevating the conversation on patient experience, we could help all those on a path to improvement.
This led to the birth of The Beryl Institute as it is known today. The name remained, honoring both its roots and the support provided to get the Institute underway. But the commitment made in 2010 established a unique hybrid of membership community and thought leadership organization providing resources, research and connections. The commitment from day one was that all voices mattered – from those delivering care, to patient and family members, to the vendors supporting improvement. The commitment from day one was that the Institute was about a global conversation on making a difference in healthcare. The commitment from day one was that the Institute was not a consultancy, but a community, and our best work was in ensuring people came together, shared, and the knowledge was accessible and could reach the farthest edges of the globe. This commitment remains true today and is exemplified in the results of the last decade’s journey.
In the summer of 2010, we had a belief that patient experience was a concept in need of definition, in need of a collection of knowledge and with the opportunity to frame a true field of practice. The first step taken was to establish a shared definition of patient experience – the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care. This definition, created with members of the community, remains at the heart of all we do today. The next step beyond the definition was the establishment of the Patient Experience (PX) Grant Program. The idea was that in supporting research on the front lines of care and providing a means to elevate and disseminate these discoveries, we could immediately begin to shift how people looked at and approached patient experience overall. It was not long after that launch that the Institute opened its doors as a membership organization. On September 14, 2010 the first member formally joined The Beryl Institute community, and we have been growing ever since.
In the years since 2010, we made a commitment to not only elevate the idea of patient experience but to establish a true field of practice in which people worked, contributed, built careers and impacted healthcare outcomes. We built it on the shared definition of patient experience and worked to set four cornerstones for the field. The first was building the community of practice within The Beryl Institute itself. Through the community, we were able to begin to grow shared expertise, extend contributions and gather stories. The voice of the community became part of the breadth of our work and supported the development of the second major cornerstone, the Patient Experience Body of Knowledge. The 15 domains that emerged from a process of community design, review and validation remain central to the knowledge essential for someone addressing experience and is constantly evolving through the contributions and insights of our members.
With a community base and a framework of knowledge, the next cornerstone was in the elevation of evidence. With the launch of Patient Experience Journal (PXJ) as the first, open-access journal published on patient experience, a home for peer-reviewed research and evidence was established and a common place for the breadth of work in academia and practice to improve patient experience could come together under one umbrella. To this day, PXJ remains the most widely read journal focused on patient experience with over 11,000 articles accessed a month in over 200 countries and territories.
The final cornerstone was set with the establishment of The Beryl Institute’s sister organization, Patient Experience Institute (PXI). PXI provided a place to establish professional credentialing and continuing education. In keeping in line with the very values at the heart of The Beryl Institute’s founding, PXI was established as an independent non-profit, not in the interest of any organization, but with a commitment to elevating and expanding the profession. As of May 2019, just under 1000 Certified Patient Experience Professionals (CPXP) now exist globally, and the number is growing every year.
With the cornerstones set, the Institute has continued its commitment to growth and its spirit of collaboration by extending its efforts in partnerships and collaborations beyond North America, across continents from Europe to Asia and Africa, South America to Australia. This global commitment underlines the Institute’s central tenet that in healthcare we are human beings caring for human beings and regardless of the systems in which we work or country we reside, we all share a commitment to the humanity in healthcare.
This fundamental idea aligned with a view that experience in an all-encompassing and integrated concept led to our efforts to build upon the cornerstones established. This led to the recent release of the Experience Framework, comprised of eight strategic lenses that are both part of and influence the healthcare experience. From this framework, the dreams of what the Institute could be when first planting the seeds of its creation came into being, with the introduction of the Experience Ecosystem, comprised of the Institute’s resources, associated and peer organizations and solutions providers all connected around a central idea that in elevating and improving the human experience in healthcare we can drive the best in outcomes. This centralized hub of resources, organizations and solutions represents what is possible when you create a community not from one organization’s or vendor’s perspective, but from the lenses and hopes of a collective community committed to something much bigger than themselves.
The ecosystem, built upon the four cornerstones of a field of practice and shaped by the very definition of patient experience, may best signify the true history and even more so the aspirations of The Beryl Institute itself. It is not and never will be about the Institute, our founders or our team, but rather about the community we build, the shared learning we create and ultimately the lives we impact as a result of the work we do. We leave the need for brand elevation and recognition to those who seek it. Instead, we will remain committed in our continued journey to be true to what we believed before that very first member ever joined. If we can provide a place to come together, to share, to learn, to grow, to improve and to touch the lives of all impacted by healthcare, then we have been true to our purpose and honored the history we continue to write.
Now with over 55,000 people in our community globally, with voices from those who lead experience efforts to those who provide care at the bedside, those who support clinical care to those who are backstage in the operations of healthcare, to patients and family members, caregivers and support networks, to innovators and entrepreneurs, vendors and solutions providers, we have built a tapestry that will be hard to tear. In our coming together around the idea of what could be possible if we put experience at the heart of healthcare, the conversation has shifted. In the end, it is because people came together for something bigger.
We are honored to help frame the space for this to happen and influence the spread of these ideas. We also acknowledge there is a long way to go and a persistence we must maintain as the forces and currents of healthcare are strong. But as a community, through both this history and the stories we are still to write, we will be stronger. That is our hope, that is our commitment and that will remain the possibility in our continued journey.