One of the most remarkable outcomes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been the move to patient-centeredness. So attention to patient experience is on the rise. As we collect numbers on providers, hospitals are taking a more granular look at ways to use experience data to move the chains.
With some time at the airport recently (and an empty cocktail napkin) I came up with a few basic things that we might do with experience data. Consider them points of focus or conversation starters, they offer a loose construct on moving experience to the next level.
Take it seriously. This is where to start. A solid experience in the clinic must be seen as a right, not a bonus. We need to consider patient experience on par with responsible standards of practice.
Act on it. The best way to take patient experience seriously is to act on it. Making graphs is a start, but the only good information is the stuff that changes our patient’s experiences.
Report it. Like infection rates, let’s open the white coat and show how we’re doing. Nothing motivates change like a healthy display of transparency. And better to figure out how to do it than be told to do it.
Work your outliers. I suspect that the greatest bang for the buck with regard to moving an organization’s experience metrics is with those providers who have the furthest to go. Training everyone is good; focused training for those who desperately need it makes even more sense.
Leverage your leaders. And one way to help our colleagues who have the furthest to go is to leverage our clinical leaders on the high end of patient experience. Every organization has providers who have cracked the nut on powerful connection and communication. Why not use the local talent through coordinated mentoring?
Reward it. In the old days we rewarded doctors for doing stuff. Perhaps we should incentivize the facilitation of amazing encounters. When we value experience we’re taking it seriously and respecting our patients. And it gives providers skin in the game.
Build on it. Press-Ganey is a great start but we can build on it. We might move toward understanding experience as it happens closer to real-time and in ways that we know matter to our specific patient populations. We might incentivize quality initiatives that disrupt the traditional encounter in creative ways.
I’d like to convince my hospital to build a patient experience lab. But first things first.
What am I missing? Maybe I’ll grow this list as ideas (and empty cocktail napkins) come my way.