Patient experience best practices - Organizational

Efforts to address patient experience require organization-wide commitment. To get everyone on board to provide better service and care, consider the following strategies:

4. Systemically address the culture
Patient experience improvements must go beyond HCAHPS scores and should be embedded into the culture of the hospital. Knowing that culture is key, Cleveland Clinic has all of its employees participate in the Cleveland Clinic Experience, says healthcare marketer and consultant Anthony Cirillo, president of Fast Forward Consulting.

"When the healthcare worker can uncover their purpose and passion, that in turn affects organizational culture and fuels organizational purpose and passion. You can't help but go into work every day with a total commitment to the patient," he adds.

A hospital's patient-centered culture should involve a safe environment that encourages physicians to focus on their patients' care, healing, and safety. "Ensure the number one priority and focus is not RVU (revenue) generation but, rather, the patient," says Tom Dahlborg, vice president for strategy and project director of the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality and former executive director of a physician practice.

"Bringing the joy back in healing," as Dahlborg calls it, enables hospitals to position the physician and the patient for improved healing experiences, he notes.

5. Get leaders involved, accountable
"Nothing about patient experience will work if you do not have true commitment from the top," according to Cirillo. That's why he recommends hospitals hire a Chief Experience Officer to ensure that patient experience becomes and stays a top priority.

On top of getting strong leadership support, hospitals must hold those leaders accountable for patient experience efforts.

Why is accountability key to improvement? "Leaders who share the patient experience scores and issues with their team realize greater results," says Cape Coral Hospital's Chief Administrative Officer Scott Kashman."Their team is more engaged and inclined to help set priorities related to process improvements."

6. Publicly report quality metrics
One way to ensure hospital leaders and the entire healthcare organization are committed (and accountable for) improved patient experience is through transparency.

With that in mind, Windsor Regional Hospital focuses on 14 core corporate indicators that drive patient safety and quality. "We live by the motto that you 'cannot manage what you don't measure'," says President and CEO Musyj. 

In addition to internally measuring, tracking, and monitoring those 14 indicators, the hospital posts them online.

Such public reporting fostered "top of mind" thinking among the hospital team, as well allowed customers to view and comment on Windsor's performance. "This has resulted in the whole team rowing in the same direction and our customers being the bowman or strokeman," Musyj says.

Patient experience best practices - Organizational