Beryl PX2017 Conference Perspective: Leading Culture Change

This blog post is based on a talk given at the Beryl PX2017 Conference in Denver, Colorado. The speakers, Carol Santalucia and Richard Corder, presented on the importance of achieving an excellent patient experience and how they got there.

If you’re in healthcare, you’ve probably heard the phrase “the patient experience” thrown around. But what exactly is the patient experience and how do you measure it? According to Richard Corder, a healthcare experience expert, the real answers start by asking: “What do your patients and their families remember about their last visit to your hospital or practice?”

Do some digging, and you’ll often find that a major patient experience takeaway is centered around the emotional aspect of care. Patients remember how you made them feel, so based on Corder’s interpretation, a facility with a great patient experience is one that leaves patients feeling happier, healthier, and heard. However, achieving a great patient experience requires more than asking important questions. Often times, you need an entire cultural shift to bring about improvements from your patients’ perspectives.

So how does one instigate this change? According to Carol Santalucia, a Director of Patient Experience at the Cleveland Clinic, it’s all about reiterating a different perspective to staff, especially one that augments their own caregiving experience. For instance, instead of focusing on measurements like CAHPS score improvement, find ways to focus on and measure what your patients actually want. After completing a multitude of rounds at the Cleveland Clinic, Carol found that patients really care about the following:

  1. Being treated with respect
  2. Better communication between staff
  3. Actually listening to requests
  4. Having empathy

When caregivers approach satisfaction from a relationship-centric perspective, real change becomes an achievable reality. Staff find their work to be more meaningful, and patients feel like they’re more than a number. Although your team can start off by simply engaging with patients more at the bedside, technology solutions can easily help staff better connect with their patients and each other.

For instance, a digital rounding tool provides care teams with real-time alerting and promotes smooth and fast communication so staff can act quickly. Built-in rounding scripts also ensure that all staff round on patients in the same way, especially when identifying patient needs and concerns. By integrating accountability and consistency into an everyday process like rounding, staff are better equipped to care for their patients effectively and empathetically.

Achieving an excellent patient experience takes a lot of work and faces many challenges. However, there are steps you can take to make sure that your efforts are appropriately rewarded. To learn more about how we can help you create meaningful memories for your patients, contact us today.

Barb Davis

Barbara Davis, MA has been involved in quality in healthcare for over 30 years, and currently serves as CipherHealth's SVP of Clinical Services. She has worked in complex health care environments, including a university health system, an HMO health plan, and multi-hospital system. Her areas of expertise include quality improvement and Lean, service excellence focusing on organizational culture and the patient experience, patient safety and reliability, regulatory issues and organizational strategic goal setting. Currently she sits on the Patient and Family Advisory Council at Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver.