I have written for a while now that while some may have believed patient experience was a passing idea in the midst of a chaotic healthcare marketplace or even a fad, I believe and remain steadfast in the idea that patient experience is not a peripheral concept, but rather a core and critical component of healthcare today.
This requires a rethinking of our language and even a repositioning for some from seeing experience being simply the amenities related to service to understanding the criticality of experience as a macro concept in healthcare. In my most recent Hospital Impact blog I wrote:
The one thing individuals in our healthcare system have is an experience: the integration of quality, safety and service encounters, and inclusive of the implications of cost on their healthcare decisions and broader health outcomes that influence choices driving their care. So while engagement is a means to positively impact the Triple Aim, experience in healthcare is what encompasses all aspects of it. Consider this: right now millions of people around the world are having a healthcare experience, in clinical and non-clinical settings and the spaces in between. We have the opportunity to either actively make that experience inclusive of all voices or let it happen on its own.
This idea was reinforced for me in working with my co-authors on the recent article Defining Patient Experience, published in Patient Experience Journal. In reviewing global literature on how this concept has been framed we discovered a few critical points. First the discovery validated the core constructs identified in the definition of patient experience offered via The Beryl Institute – that experience is the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.
First, experience is grounded in the interactions we create and found at those points of interaction or touch points throughout healthcare. Second, culture matters. What we espouse as healthcare organizations and what we expect in values, behaviors and actions make a significant difference and the people we select across the range of roles are our primary delivery mechanism of experience so we must choose wisely. Third, that experience is not bounded by the walls of a clinical encounter, but happen at all touch points of the continuum and in the spaces in between. And most significantly, experience must be created with and acknowledged through the eyes or perceptions of those receiving care or in our systems, be they patients, residents or family members.
But what we also learned in that effort was that defining experience also included some other critical factors we hear about so often in the experience space. One, that experience must truly be focused on the integrated nature of healthcare – that while we may have individual work streams for quality, safety or service – patients and families have but one integrated experience. Two, that engagement is not the overall outcome itself, but rather patient and family partnership both supports the development of better experience and results from creating an experience in which the voice of patients or families is invited, acknowledged, respected and acted upon. Finally, patient- and family- or person-centeredness must be a critical element as an ideology and focused action and this will frame the way in which we can create the best in experience overall.
What remains now is that we all must acknowledge and encourage the forward movement of this critical conversation and do the work needed not only to sustain focus, but also achieve success in our efforts. We have the opportunity to continue to expand the exploration of practice, refine the comprehensive nature of this work, and determine the best means on how we collectively identify and measure success and support one other in sustaining these efforts. This kind of focus will benefit all those who experience healthcare in any means – those on the receiving end of all the system offers and those striving to provide the best in care.
We each have the critical opportunity, regardless of what role we play in the global healthcare dialogue and community, to continue to raise the questions needed, push the boundaries of thinking, reinforce the need for focus and remain open to the possibilities of new discoveries ahead. It is the value of important conversations such as the one we will have tonight, as it will plant the seeds, challenge thinking, and foster new ideas that will ensure patient experience is no longer new, or even seen as passing and instead is acknowledged for the lasting healthcare reality is now truly is.
Please join me on Tuesday April 7th 2015 at 8:30pm EDT (for your local time click here) on the #hcldr weekly tweetchat where we will be discussing the following topics:
- T1 – How would you define your ideal patient experience? Include outside the visit.
- T2 – Is patient experience getting enough focus from healthcare orgs today? Why or why not?
- T3 – What have healthcare orgs done successfully to improve the patient experience? Examples?
- T4 – What can patients do to help ensure patient experience doesn’t lose focus/become a fad?
*MODERATOR NOTE: Two of #hcldr moderators will be attending the #PX2015 conference as guests of The Beryl Institute from April 7 – 10. @Colin_Hung and @JoeBabaian will be moderating this chat “live” from the conference site on Tuesday April 7th. Look for them and join in!
“Why the patient experience movement will continue”, Jason A. Wolf, Hospital Impact, April 18 2013, http://www.hospitalimpact.org/index.php/2013/04/18/title_96, accessed April 1 2015
“Patient and family engagement: Healthcare’s two-way street”, Jason A. Wolf, Hospital Impact, March 19 2015, http://www.hospitalimpact.org/index.php/2015/03/19/patient_and_family_engagement_healthcare, accessed April 1 2015
“Moving beyond centeredness in patient experience”, Jason A. Wolf, Hospital Impact, January 29 2015, http://www.hospitalimpact.org/index.php/2015/01/29/moving_beyond_centeredness_in_patient_ex, accessed April 1 2015
Wolf, Jason A. PhD; Niederhauser, Victoria DrPH, RN; Marshburn, Dianne PhD, RN, NE-BC; and LaVela, Sherri L. PhD, MPH, MBA (2014) “Defining Patient Experience,” Patient Experience Journal: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 3.
Available at: http://pxjournal.org/journal/vol1/iss1/3
“The Larger Health Care Environment + Patients and Family Engagement”, Dominick L. Frosch, HCLDR Blog, January 22 2015, https://hcldr.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/the-larger-health-care-environment-patients-and-family-engagement/, accessed April 1 2015
“A Roadmap for Patient and Family Engagement”, Dominick L Frosch, HCLDR Blog, December 11 2014, https://hcldr.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/pferoadmap/, accessed April 1 2015
“Patient Experience and Patient Engagement – Is One More Important?”, Colin Hung, HCLDR Blog, September 27 2014, https://hcldr.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/ptexp-and-patient-engagement/, accessed April 1 2015
“What are we waiting for? Rethinking the Waiting Experience in Healthcare”, Colin Hung, HCLDR Blog, July 20 2014, https://hcldr.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/rethinking-waiting/, accessed April 1 2015
The Beryl Institute