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National Patient Experience Week Resource Hub

Patient Experience Week Healthcare

Patient Experience Week

Patient experience is fundamentally about how we deliver safe, high-quality care in an environment of patient-centeredness. It is not about making people happy or satisfied, that’s simply customer service, a small, expected component of the experience.

Patient Experience is much more, and defined as having 5 contributing components: 

  • The safe clinical care of the patient;
  • The operations of the organisation that ensure staffing is adequate, sufficiently trained and resourced to get the job done;
  • The culture of the organisation that encourages value for patients, open and transparent communication and collaboration;
  • Behaviours of every person that demonstrate the mission, vision and values of the organisation; and
  • The recognition that the patient is at the centre of everything they do.

During National Patient Experience Week (25-29 April 2022), hospitals and healthcare organisations salute the people responsible for providing excellent patient experiences and creating better outcomes for both patients and healthcare organisations. Those people may include doctors, nurses, administrative staff, executive team members, community organisations and even patient family members.

It’s also an important time to acknowledge and showcase the innovative efforts of our clients who integrate their patient, employee and doctor data, with our support, to produce outstanding clinical outcomes, improvements in patient perceptions, staff morale, operational efficiencies and financial performance.

We hope the tactics and strategies highlighted in these case studies will enlighten and motivate individuals in all types of health care organisations. Because good ideas should be recognised and shared. 

Resources

Resounding client success – reaching performance levels in the 89th percentile

Avisena engaged Insync in association with Press Ganey to independently validate that their care and services were meeting their mission and were comparing favourably to the best hospitals in the world. The quality and patient experience improvement project at Avisena Women’s and Children’s Hospital has been a resounding success.

This case study analyses their best practice strategies and their resulting outcomes.

Improving healthcare performance during rapid change

Healthcare today is almost a different business from just a few years ago. The permanence of changes in the environment in which leaders must lead, and managers must manage, is sinking in. The decade that lies ahead requires new management practices and data strategies.

Click the drop-down below to read Press Ganey’s article about how you can redesign for a new normal.

Article: Assessing performance during rapid change

“How are we doing?”

Author: Patrick Ryan Chairman/CEO at Press Ganey Associates Inc

In every C-suite and board meeting, that question is top of mind as organisations confront the challenges flowing from the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises of the past two years. Many organisations, including Press Ganey, compare current performance data to the same time period from 2019, disregarding 2020 as a year too anomalous to provide a benchmark. These comparisons are sometimes used for incentive programs, but their most important use is determining whether the organisation is “on track” with its longer-term strategic plans. 

However, organisations are finding that comparisons of current performance with 2019 have an “apples and oranges” problem – i.e., healthcare today is almost a different business from just a few years ago. The permanence of changes in the environment in which leaders must lead, and managers must manage, is sinking in. The decade that lies ahead requires new management practices and data strategies. 

Signs Say the Old “Business as Usual” is Never Coming Back 

The volume of electronic messages from patients to their doctors/physicians rose approximately 150% in the first weeks after the Covid-19 pandemic began and has yet to decrease. This increase in messaging from patients was slowly building over the past decade and identified as a cause of physician burnout. But during the imposed periods of isolation in 2020, patients of all ages discovered how to use patient portals and reach their healthcare providers in other ways as well. 

Patients got used to using the internet 24/7 to get things done, including their healthcare needs. Many medical practices are just now beginning the work of redesigning processes to accommodate this change (and some have not). But this example is just one of many that reflect a permanent change in how patients are interacting with healthcare and using the internet to research their physicians, tests, and treatments. (86% of patients now search their physician reviews online.) 

Telemedicine visits shot up, decreased, and have since plateaued at roughly 11% of visits. Press Ganey data has shown from the start that patients give similar high ratings to their clinicians during in-person or telemedicine visits, but they give lower ratings to telemedicine’s logistics (e.g., the ease of logging on). Over the past six months, there is a clear improvement in how easy patients are finding telemedicine to use at many institutions – but not all. Clearly, some organisations are working at improving how telemedicine works for clinicians and patients, and others are not. 

Workforce turnover across the world is at alarming levels – millions of healthcare workers quit their job, just in October 2021 alone. This poses obvious challenges for healthcare organisations that need to retain good people in order to build good teams. Press Ganey data is showing that nearly 30% of nurses are actively considering quitting (with even higher rates among millennials). Another concerning trend is that employees at the lower end of the healthcare pay scale are leaving for jobs in other industries. Healthcare organisations still retain many people because of pride in their missions, but organisations cannot count on this factor alone. 

Organisations are Redesigning for a New Normal

Around the world, we’re seeing organisations recognise the change in the environment and redesign the methods in which they work. Some of the most telling redesigns that we want to highlight: 

Hardwiring nimbleness– During times of rapid change, many organisations are realising that they can’t make big decisions annually at budget time. Many organisations, for example, have moved to quarterly goal setting and modified their budget management to allow for quarterly adjustments. 

Restructuring care redesign accountability– The movement toward service lines has gone into a higher gear at many organisations as leaders have realised that they must not only be nimble but must also be effective in implementing care redesigns. As one chief medical officer stated, “Once we realised that COVID was not just going to last a few months, but was probably going on for years, we understood that we couldn’t have 32 different hospitals figuring out on their own how to redesign orthopaedic care. And we couldn’t have medical directors who might only know a little about orthopaedics telling orthopaedists what they needed to do. We needed to move to an orthopaedic service line that really meant something, and the same for other major areas.” 

Prioritising workforce wellness and culture – To recruit and retain excellent employees, organisations are taking a wide array of steps including rethinking roles (especially nursing), focusing on making real progress on diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, building effective teams and developing special programs for some segments (e.g., support for women physicians). Our impression is that all these steps are good steps, and there is no single magic bullet. The head of human resources has become a truly critical member of the C-suite team. 

Developing a data strategy appropriate for the challenges – To be nimble and effective, organisations need data. For example, in the past, many organisations measured workforce engagement once a year at most. Some organisations were reluctant to measure at all during the stressful early months of the COVID pandemic. Once organisations realised that the pandemic and related stress were not ending, they moved to frequent pulse surveying of subsets of the workforce to guide interventions. 

The lessons learned during this time of change are among the most telling of our careers. One of those lessons is that our overarching goal in healthcare – to reduce the suffering of patients – remains the same, even when everything else is changing. Another is that to reduce suffering during such a period, organisations must not take the trust of patients and their employees for granted – their leaders must work thoughtfully and relentlessly to deserve and build it. We realise now that “excellence” as an organisational goal is not a destination so much as a direction. There are always going to be disruptions that change the context of our work – e.g., climate change, the next COVID and the quandaries that will flow from the medical advances just over the horizon.  

Assessing performance and improving through times of change have become core functions for healthcare organisations. We look forward to partnering with you in this work.

To learn more about how Insync and Press Ganey can help you improve the consumer, patient, and workforce experience, request a consultation with one of our industry-leading experts.  

Talk to us today.

Transforming Healthcare into a system of gratitude and love

What has been the pandemic’s impact on the employee experience as well as its impact on patient experience? What steps are hospitals taking to infuse humanity into healthcare and improve the experience for both?

Click the drop-down below to read Press Ganey’s article about Covid-19’s impact on patient experience and the future of patient experience and employee experience feedback.

Article: Transforming the Healthcare system

Transforming Healthcare into a System of Gratitude and Love

Author: Chrissy Daniels – Press Ganey Chief Experience Officer 

The past two years have also been hard for me personally. I lost my sister, father, and stepfather. While my family and I still mourn their memories, I will always be grateful to Mary, Carl, and Melissa who cared for them during their hardest moments. They each delivered care with compassion, creativity, and safety during a pandemic that separated patients from their families. 

We strive every day to deliver safe, high-quality care to patients. But, at the end of the day, is all our work making healthcare better? And is the world a better place because of us? 

Patient experience guides us to create systems that support the expression and exchange of gratitude and love. Love is the bridge between patients and caregivers. Patient Experience professionals must find ways to turn patient experience (PX) numbers into real connections. 

So, let’s explore the pandemic’s impact on the employee experience as well as its impact on patient experience—and the steps hospitals are taking to infuse humanity into healthcare and improve the experience for both. 

COVID’s Impact on Healthcare, Employee and Caregiver Experience 

The patient experience can’t be untangled from the employee experience. Even outside of a global pandemic, caregivers sacrifice so much to put patients’ needs first. But employee engagement has been trending downward since the onset of the pandemic—and workforce well-being has plummeted. Physician burnout, nurse burnout, and turnover among hospital employees have delivered a serious staffing crisis across the industry. 

Press Ganey’s employee surveys reveal the top drivers of caregiver retention: 

  1. I like the work I do
  2. My work is meaningful 
  3. The work I do makes a real difference I see every patient/client as an individual person with specific needs 
  4. The organization provides high-quality care and service   

Put plainly, these findings tell us that caregivers want to be part of an organisation that makes a meaningful commitment to them and to excellence. Does adding PX responsibilities to the mix just feel like one more thing—another task you’re asking people to do? The best and brightest minds in healthcare are thinking about how we deliver experiences that allow us to connect, align, and explore. In the past, we’ve challenged ourselves to deliver excellence to our patients at the expense of our caregivers. We’ve underestimated the toll it’s taken on them. Now is the time to right that wrong. 

The patient experience has taken some hits during COVID-19 too. According to Press Ganey data, patients’ likelihood to recommend (LTR) a hospital fell during the past two years across all settings. Inpatient care has been constrained by the pandemic. At the same time, the relationships patients have with their caregivers have never been stronger. Their gratitude toward caregivers is overwhelming. 

How Can We Use Patient Experience as a System of Gratitude and Love? 

The priority of caregivers everywhere is delivering compassionate, connected care to patients. At the heart of care is real human connection. 

PX is the pipeline bringing fulfilment, love, gratitude, and kindness to the forefront of hospital boardrooms and making organisations focused on human connection. And delivering on this connection is a key indicator and driver of employee retention. PX leaders must turn the numbers into genuine connections. 

The Future of Patient Experience and Employee Experience Feedback 

Thinking about what matters most in experience, how do we design systems and processes grounded in patient and employee feedback for the future? How do we make the experience of care as easy as humanly possible? Healthcare leaders must embrace the truth: We need to design the future not just for patients, but with them. We need to create listening structures that lean into the patient as a human being and ask questions that measure emotion.   

I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes…

“To inspire people, do not show them your superpowers. Show them theirs.” As experience leaders, our #1 charge is to inspire our organisation with the care they deliver every day. We can’t wait. It’s imperative that we connect those providing care to the gratitude that’s overpouring from patients because love is a two-way street.  

To learn more about how Insync and Press Ganey can help you improve the consumer, patient, and workforce experience, request a consultation with one of our industry-leading experts.  

Talk to us today.

We must take a human-centred approach

Taking a human-centred approach to designing the patient and workforce experience is crucial for providing better care and improving workflows. The human-centred design invokes the human perspective throughout the decision-making processes. Put simply, leaders must view care through the lens of their patients and staff, consider how innovative changes can impact experience at different levels and support behaviours that benefit everyone.

Click the drop-down below to read Press Ganey’s article.

Article: 4 things every healthcare leader should know about human-centred design

My father was paralysed by the time I was 4. Back then, there wasn’t a treatment for multiple sclerosis, only medicine to alleviate his symptoms. He had to take as many as 30 different medications and vitamins daily. My family focused on managing every element of my father’s health—physiotherapy (twice a day), nutrition, and giving him an environment in which he could thrive.   

But when we had to contact a medical practice or hospital, frustration would set in. I was always astounded that staff didn’t understand the care experience outside of their immediate roles. They’d direct us elsewhere, often to dead ends, and inevitably we’d have to call back for additional support. This “experiential blindness” is common in healthcare and can leave patients unsure about their treatment plans. Patients who know what the experience is—and the next steps to take—have better health outcomes and are more satisfied. When teams and leaders don’t invest time and resources into designing the patient and workforce experience, inconsistent outcomes and detrimental effects occur.  

Taking a human-centred approach to designing the patient and workforce experience is crucial for providing better care and improving workflows. The human-centred design invokes the human perspective throughout the decision-making processes. Put simply, leaders must view care through the lens of their patients and staff, consider how innovative changes can impact experience at different levels and support behaviours that benefit everyone.   

1. Understanding Human Behaviour is Vital to Human-Centred Design

A common misconception is that asking people what they want is sufficient for understanding their needs. But this approach doesn’t paint a full picture of human behaviour or the consumer experience.   

In healthcare, we see this happen time and time again. The stress and anxiety about an appointment or health issue can prevent patients from asking the right questions and retaining information. That’s why clinicians must align health assessments with each patient’s experience. For example, you might prompt patients to write down three questions prior to the appointment to ease some of the pressure of being put on the spot. You can begin understanding people’s needs by observing their behaviours. I saw this firsthand during my tenure at one institution where I worked to improve health literacy—i.e., the degree to which patients can obtain, process, understand and use health information—of people with diabetes.   

 One patient was upset the doctor labelled her “non-adherent to treatment” in her patient record. For a year she tried to control her blood sugar by following the prescribed diet and exercise. But it didn’t seem to work, and her doctor kept increasing her insulin during each clinical visit. It was only when a friend—also a diabetic—asked the patient to demonstrate how she draws insulin that the problem revealed itself: Rather than holding the insulin vial and needle vertically, the patient held them horizontally, preventing the full dose of insulin from being administered.   

Disconnects like this aren’t uncommon. Without confirming a patient understands directions through activity or demonstration, their health literacy can remain low. Experience and dialogue are key to rooting out an issue. Human-centred design can help shift healthcare provider perspectives and create space for new insights to develop. 

2. Healthcare leaders Need to Step Into Their Patients’ Shoes

At the same institution, an initial analysis of patient experience data revealed that components of the care experience itself led to lower health literacy and decreased patients’ abilities to care for themselves independent of clinical assistance.  To better understand the issues involved, my team asked each leader to “become” a person with diabetes, their caregiver, or physician for a week. We built stakeholder profiles from patient data and simulated experiences where they had to adhere to regimented meals, medication (some injected saline or ate jellybeans as pills, for example), and exercise.   

This simulation gave leaders firsthand experience and empathy needed to understand just how difficult it is to calculate calories, give themselves injections, and document exercise routines. Some even noticed how drastically the stress from this experiment impacted their physical health and blood sugar levels. One thing became overwhelmingly clear: It was impossible for diabetic patients to effectively care for themselves under current treatment guidelines. Things had to change. 

3. Decision-making Requires Weighing How Innovations May Affect Experience

Designing exceptional experiences requires that healthcare leaders and providers understand how the solutions they implement will advance their organisation’s goals and affect the daily patient and employee experience. Otherwise, improvement efforts can have unintended consequences.   

Take telehealth, for example. Switching to virtual platforms hasn’t alleviated many of patients’ main appointment-related challenges—like understanding treatment plans and adhering to recommendations. At the same time, it’s put a greater burden on providers’ shoulders: There’s more paperwork to do, and the “always-on” nature of digital technology means providers are expected to respond to patients more quickly. The “phygital” (hybrid physical and digital) experience needs to both address patient needs and streamline clinician operations to be sustainable.  

While the high-level goals are worth pursuing, the on-the-ground implications need to be worked out first for a telemedicine implementation to be successful.  

4. Designing for Experience Requires a Human-Centred Culture

A human-centred culture is the backbone of human-centred design. Employees at every level must stay curious, be empowered to question the status quo, and have the space to pilot and test ideas—while viewing failure as progress, not defeat. Staff members are the best resource for understanding the on-the-ground patient experience. Turning their feedback into tangible changes shows them their voices matter. Then updating team members as their ideas become practice keeps them invested and engaged—and builds positive momentum to accelerate further PX improvements.  

Consciously supporting a culture shift to put the human experience first drives higher engagement among staff as well as a better patient experience. This process must be collaborative and encourage a free-flowing exchange of ideas that opens space for new and creative solutions.  

Understanding staff and patient behaviour demands firsthand experience and an environment that encourages curiosity. Leveraging human-centred design methods in healthcare helps drive positive outcomes and can generate new insights—particularly during times of change.   

To learn more about how Insync and Press Ganey can help you improve the consumer, patient, and workforce experience, request a consultation with one of our industry-leading experts.  

Click here to talk to us today.

Author:  Joan Kelly Partner and Strategic Consultant – Press Ganey 2022 

Patients care about cleanliness more than ever

Innovative analysis of 350,000 patient comments indicates that whether patients ‘feel’ clean increasingly correlates with how they rate their overall hospital experience. This trend created a new challenge for hospital leaders: How do you address shifting perceptions of cleanliness to meet an even higher standard when you’re already doing all you can to provide a safe and clean environment?

Our Healthcare partner Press Ganey shares how you can address changing patient perceptions of cleanliness

Learn about our data-driven Patient Experience solutions

Insync, in association with Press Ganey, delivers integrated insights and targeted, meaningful action that transform the care experience.

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