Revisiting the patient experience balancing act: 3 considerations

Guest post by Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., president of The Beryl Institute, where he specializes in organizational effectiveness, service excellence and high performance in healthcare

In a Hospital Impact blog post last year, I shared three critical balancing acts to sustaining patient experience performance that focused on leadership, people and culture. When looking at these areas, it's important to recognize that the dynamic and chaotic world we experience in healthcare requires constant movement. Any stagnation only leads us to fall behind.

Our ability to hold the dynamic tension of the healthcare environment allows us to find the greatest opportunities for excellence and improvement in patient experience. Through my experience and through the stories of many others, I can confidently say there is no one right way for us to achieve excellence. In fact, if someone claims they have found it, challenge those assumptions. It is the confidence of finding the right way that ultimately stagnates our ability to improve, grow or learn. That is not and should never be the intent of efforts to improve patient experience in healthcare organizations.

Rather it comes back to a willingness to constantly ask questions, try new things and avoid being lured in by promises of "best practices" or prepackaged solutions. Patient experience improvement is work, unique work that while guided by efforts proven to work in other situations, must still be tested, applied or adapted for your own environment.

At the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's National Forum, I discovered a second set of balancing acts that reinforce this assertion. IHI's President and CEO Maureen Bisognano, its Co-Founder Don Berwick and a number of the patient and family advisors in attendance, many of who serve on The Beryl Institute's Global Patient & Family Advisory Council, shared three additional balancing acts we face in patient experience improvement:

>> Read the full commentary at Hospital Impact