Moving Beyond “Patient Experience” to “Experience” for Measurable Results

Moving Beyond “Patient Experience” to “Experience” for Measurable Results

PX is maturing.

In 2011, patient experience convener Beryl Institute hosted fewer than 200 attendees at its first annual Patient Experience Conference. Just eight years later, at their recent conference in Dallas, more than  2,500 healthcare professionals from around the globe attended, soaking up best practices and gaining access to a growing slate of resources and vendors.

There’s been one other evolution in eight years: The focus is no longer just on a better patientexperience – it’s broadened to a better humanexperience in healthcare.

Reflecting the theme for this year’s Beryl conference – “To Care is Human” – and a rapidly growing awareness that patient experience is inextricably linked to that of the caregiver, almost every session focused on meaningful and proven ways to engage both employees and patients. Similarly, the Cleveland Clinic, which launched an office of patient experience years ago, recently opened an office of caregiver experience to address the unique, but interconnected issues employees/caregivers experience as they go about trying to create an exceptional experience for patients and their families.

In addition to the growing focus on human experience, here are three other conference takeaways:

Sustaining change is a major challenge.At most healthcare organizations, leaders and employees are suffering from change fatigue. Speakers shared the difficulty launching and sustaining an experience strategy long-term without it becoming just another “flavor of the month.”

The solution? Experience efforts must be championed and modeledat the highest level of the organization, fueling a cultural shift to drive improvement instead of creating another checklist or initiative.

Focusing on experience creates measurable improvements in quality, safety and efficiency.PX is radically more than creating warm and fuzzy moments. Healthcare professionals are learning new ways that patient experience can move the needle on outcomes. For example, at one system, HCAHPS scores showed patients were waiting too long for someone to respond to their call light. Leaders responded by implementing a “No Pass Zone” policy in which any employee who saw a call light on had to respond, regardless of whether he or she was clinically trained or assigned to that patient.

The results were impressive. Not only did falls decrease, but nurses felt more supported and the unit was able to realize more than $100,000 in savings because the policy reduced labor and costs associated with changing dirty bed linens and helping patients clean up after an accident.

Overall, the industry is beginning to accept that experience issues are a window into better care.

Technology is revolutionizing patient experience. Hospitals are using AI in exciting new ways. Some are collecting feedback from patients through “digital rounding” or bedside tablets, which allow them to monitor and respond to potential patient experience or staffing issues in real time. Forward-looking systems are moving from paper surveys to digital dashboards and mining their data to address trends strategically and proactively.

A final note. The best patient experience technology is moot without a strong culture. And the best patient experience culture addresses everyone’s experience, not just the patient’s, in a way that positions the organization to continually change for the better.

Aaron Campbell