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In my most recent Hospital Impact blog, I reinforced the simple, but significant need to focus on 3 Ps of Patient Experience, offering that at the core of this idea is the central purpose on which an organization builds its experience effort.
I closed with, "I see one consistent action in those organizations achieving success. They are clear on who they are, what they want achieve and where they are going. This is the idea of definition I often speak to and reinforce." Yet with this fundamental importance, defining patient experience remains an elusive idea for many. In fact, it's a question people ask me frequently: How do we define patient experience for our organization?
I'm not surprised, as recent benchmarking research discovered only 45 percent of U.S. hospitals had a formal definition of patient experience for their organization. While people may have clear personal purpose in healthcare, the foundation on which organizations build their patient experience efforts in many cases is shaky at best.
Policies alone don't transform health care organizations. Only redesigning actual work can renew and redirect hospitals and health systems.
This should be pretty clear. How many visionary, high-minded policies do you suppose fill the shelves and hard drives of America's 5,000 non-governmental hospitals? I'll let you do the math.
Now let's take a look at how we're doing in terms of costs and consistent quality of care. The U.S. is (again) in last place in the Commonwealth Fund's comparison of 11 developed nations in terms of performance and is--by far--the most expensive per capita. We have extraordinary people doing their level best, but we don't provide the right structure to truly get our people pulling in the same direction.
At Hartford HealthCare, we saw that transformation begins by establishing a best-practice standard and building it into daily work routines. For example, we were not meeting our own expectations with regard to hand hygiene and each of our five acute-care hospitals was working on the problem in isolation. So, we hit the re-set button and brought together experts and managers from across all of our institutions, and looked at the hard evidence around best practice. (Sometimes, even the brightest folks simply aren't aware of the evidence.) That led to a consensus and--yes--a policy. But we did not stop with a vinyl trophy.
As the healthcare industry considers value-based healthcare models, organizations can look to physician-led accountable care organizations (ACOs) for successful examples. Doctors lead more than 200 ACOs across the country--far greater than the ACOs run by hospitals.
Just this month, St. Mary Medical Center in Pennsylvania and 250 affiliated doctors joined together to form physician-led Quality Health Alliance ACO, set to open Jan. 1, Philadelphia Business Journal reported. "We all understood healthcare is changing and we will all be providing care in more collaborative situations with other physicians and hospitals," Benjamin Chack, M.D., an independent ear, nose and throat specialist and president of the organization, told the publication.
In my last Hospital Impact blog post, I wrote about recent research that my firm conducted for a healthcare client, contacting various hospitals in the Northeast to better understand how they treated patients searching for cancer care options.
This mystery shopping experience, particularly from our anthropological perspective, raised questions about what healthcare leaders are missing if they really want to deliver the exceptional patient- and family-centered care they so often promise and promote. Disappointingly, they seem unwilling to see, feel and think about their business with fresh eyes.
Car dealers make a little money selling you the car and a great deal of money servicing it. As a matter of fact Henry Ford stated when he was criticized for offering his new cars at such a low price, "I'd be willing to give the cars away for a guarantee that I would be engaged to service them and provide parts!" Like the car industry, the equipment maintenance market is an area where organizations invest significant portions of their expense dollars.
It's not uncommon for a medium size facility to spend $5 million per year on equipment maintenance and an average system to spend $50 million. The problem with any of these figures is that most organizations don't really know what they spend on an annual basis when all elements are considered and there is a fragmented location of the information and responsibilities. Total costs should include maintenance contracts, biomedical costs whether on site or outsourced, independent service organization (ISO) costs, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) costs, parts sourcing and internal labor to name a few. Step one in a best practice process is to perform an inventory of equipment and current practices and consolidate information and responsibility into one centralized location.
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