Earlier this month at the 2019 Next Generation Patient Experience (NGPX) conference, “necessary change” was a theme that surfaced time and time again. Or as one chief experience officer (CXO) bluntly put it, “The current feedback process for hospitals is broken and must evolve.”
It’s no secret the healthcare industry is at a crossroads—driven by a shift in patient expectations, new mandated policies, and transparency demands. Here are 4 key takeaways from NGPX that will help healthcare organizations (HCOs) evolve accordingly and drive meaningful change in the patient experience.
Transform your approach to the patient experience
With the current government-mandated surveying efforts, organizations are receiving too little information too late. At NGPX, each presenter talked about the need to conduct surveys right after a patient encounter to get useful feedback—getting immediate results instead of waiting weeks. In addition, HCOs need to ask questions that matter—using scales that make sense, while capturing the patient’s emotions through their comments.
Define the patient experience
It’s not enough to measure the patient experience—you also must also act to improve it. At some of the nation’s largest healthcare brands—including Cleveland Clinic, Advent Health, and Intermountain Health—PX leaders are orchestrating system-cultural changes aligned with their organizational values and updated service standards.
For example, Intermountain’s CXO said their mandate is to “deliver reliable care and caring.” One without the other is insufficient. Service standards help communicate this vision all the way to your front-line clinicians and staff—ensuring each patient receives customer service that embodies your organizational values.
Begin your PX transformation with your top priority
Many conference attendees were unsure of where to start or how to gain traction with their goal of implementing a robust patient feedback and improvement program. Start with your top priority in mind. Determine what your leadership sees as the most crucial KPIs, and make these metrics a central focus point for your PX program. For an orthopedic practice that’s part of a hospital system, that may be reducing the number of readmissions. For an independent ortho group, the key metric may be increasing volume to win market share.
With the key metric(s) in mind, it’s much easier to design the most effective patient feedback program—helping drive physician and staff buy-in. Provide results that matter and demonstrate the value of investing in the measurement/improvement process.
Make your team top priority
Don’t forget about your most valuable asset—your team. Many NGPX speakers emphasized the importance of involving the clinicians in their PX transformation from the start. Don’t let their feedback be an afterthought. Your clinicians are your leaders and are ultimately the ones who will be driving the change in your organization.
Burnout is also top-of-mind in the healthcare industry. Fortunately, positive patient feedback was identified as a great way to boost employee morale. Build feedback loops into your PX platform to ensure your patient feedback can be used to celebrate your team.
The bottom line
The healthcare industry can’t change overnight, but many organizations have already implemented a modern approach to measuring the patient experience. Given the discussions from NGPX, I’m optimistic about the momentum that’s growing and the steady transformation that’s taking shape.
For more on how to make PX a top priority and incorporate the culture of PX at every level of your organization, download the report: 3 patient experience questions answered | What 1,500 healthcare professionals revealed about shifting the culture mindset + evolving to meet patient needs.