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by Jason A. Wolf
I have heard some suggest that patient experience is just the latest buzzword to enter the vernacular of healthcare leaders. Yet, research conducted over the last few years, including The Beryl Institute's benchmarking study, The State of Patient Experience in American Hospitals continues to show that patient experience is a top priority for healthcare leaders. What has raised the profile of patient experience?
The most common response is that the increased attention is due to its linkage to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Hospital Providers & Systems (HCAHPS) scores, value-based purchasing, and reimbursement implications. As one CEO recently shared with me, the real dollar impact does have executives thinking twice about the patient experience.
Yet, what I have found in my encounters with healthcare leaders is that while patient experience may be seen by some as a fad based on recent policy (i.e., a must do for now until the environment shifts), it is gaining greater traction as leaders now have the air cover needed to address patient experience as the right thing to do in a way they may not have been able to before.
So what is working to help those committed to addressing patient experience as a new healthcare reality? I offer four observations that I see emerging in support of stronger patient experience performance overall.
These ideas provide a framework for successful efforts taking place throughout healthcare organizations today; but it takes more than checking off a list of four actions to achieve success. Patient experience performance, and yes, survey outcomes and financial rewards, are all tied to a healthcare organization's willingness to make patient experience more than just an initiative. This is our new reality: Patient experience as a part of our healthcare environment is here to stay.
Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., is executive director of The Beryl Institute, the global community of practice and premier thoughtleader on improving the patient experience. He is a passionate champion and recognized expert on organizational effectiveness, service excellence, and high performance in healthcare.
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