Providers can build toward sustainable transformation by breaking down silos between elements of care and identifying and acting on areas of overlap, according to a new report.
Press Ganey released its annual "Strategic Insights" report today, building on last year's findings regarding the connections between patient experience and patient safety. The new report includes six guiding principles providers can use to take advantage of the links between experience, safety, quality and workforce engagement to drive meaningful change.
James Merlino, M.D., president and chief medical officer of Press Ganey's strategic consulting division, told FierceHealthcare in an interview that the report shows transformation is not just "aspirational."
"There is a way to do this," Merlino said. "This is kind of the practical how-to."
The principles are divided into strategic and operational guidelines. The strategic and operational pieces of the puzzle work together and seek to provide context around goals for transformation while building a clear strategy for success.
- Set "Zero Harm" as the goal. Safety should be embedded into operations throughout a healthcare organization, according to the report, so that different teams are aligned to prevent avoidable harm to both patients and employees. Assess internal safety culture and identify ways to get more people involved.
- Embrace patient-centered care. Making care truly centered around the patient can lead to better caregiver engagement and is crucial to achieving "Zero Harm," according to the report. Leverage data to ensure the patient voice is heard throughout the organization.
- Acknowledge that safety, quality and patient-centricity are the crucial elements of patient experience, and study how they interact. Aligning safety and quality within a patient-centered approach allows for optimization and organizational synergy when tackling patient experience initiatives, according to the report.
- Take advantage of analytics—and be transparent. A strong data strategy can be the competitive difference between success and failure in transformation, according to the report.
- Extend transformation to internal culture and leadership. A culture that embraces transformation—and extends to the top of the organization—can form a strong base for transformative initiatives.
- Put a focus on accountability. Accountability is key to achieving improvement goals, but it's not innate, according to the report. It has to be taught and reinforced during the process.
Merlino said it's a "very practical framework" that could require a significant shift in how providers think about improvement and innovation.
"It's getting people to understand that it is connected," he said. "You can think about strategy in an integrated format."
The first step, he said, is for healthcare organizations to "put a stake in the ground" and prioritize improvements to patient safety and care quality. From there, they can look to strategies outlined by Press Ganey's report to launch new initiatives.