5 leaders on their system's most valuable patient experience strategy this year

To combat a patient experience crisis, health systems have doubled down on the basics and streamlined communication with patients over the last year. 

Becker's asked leaders to share the most valuable patient experience initiative their systems have rolled out in the last year.

Five responses: 

Editor's note: Responses are lightly edited for clarity and length. They are presented in alphabetical order. 

Steve Basilotto. Chief Experience Officer at Froedtert Health (Milwaukee): The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network recently launched a program, Every Moment Matters, to help support and connect our caregivers and physicians to our shared values as individuals and as an organization. Every Moment Matters is based on years of our own research about what our patients, visitors, staff and physicians value and expect from their interactions with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network. The program is leader-led and drives important conversations in the organization. Quarterly toolkits provide leaders with a variety of resources – videos, engagement activities, best practices and opportunities for recognition – that they can use as they help their teams reflect on what's important at those moments of truth in the workday or in the course of providing care. It's very early, but we're seeing our leaders pick it up and run with it, integrating the content into team huddles and key processes in the organization. We are looking forward to building on the foundation we've created and really having the program grow to be a centerpiece of our culture, alongside our enterprise values.

Taylor Hamilton. Chief Consumer Officer at Ballad Health (Johnson City, Tenn.): In the last year, we have worked hard to develop and launch an app and website that simplify the consumer experience. We've mapped out touchpoints in their journeys to ensure patients get the information and direct interactions they need — so they can book appointments, initiate virtual visits, pay bills, message providers, access their records and more — all from their phones or computers. 

Still, we do not want these technological advancements to come at the expense of personal connections. By putting basic interactions at our patients' fingertips, we've been able to invest in more availability for our team members to focus on what matters most — spending time with our patients to learn their stories, educate them on their health and become part of their lives.

James Moses, MD. Senior Vice President of Quality, Safety and Patient Experience at BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan (Grand Rapids): We've seen an increase in performance in HCAHPS in the communication about medications domain. We were able to deploy a plain language resource guide within our EMR and engage through experiential learning using empathy-based exercises that reinforce the importance and value of activating our patients with knowledge about their care. Implementing these practices has led to improved scores in 63 percent of nursing units, and nurses speak positively about the approach: "That was so easy, everything I need is right there" and "I love that it narrows down the side effects, so my patient can better focus on what I am telling them." 

Amy Searls. Chief Experience Officer at Prime Healthcare (Ontario, Calif.): Prime Healthcare is very cognizant that this last year has been incredibly stressful for our staff and caregivers, and importantly, our patients and their families. Being mindful of the burnout, compassion fatigue and staffing challenges facing our industry, the last thing we would want to do is roll out a new initiative. Instead, Prime Healthcare continued our focus on employee mental health and wellness and compassionate caregiving. Our staff pride themselves on developing connections with patients and discovering one thing beyond their diagnosis that creates a caring relationship. Effective caring promotes health. This helps us create a resilient workforce and healthier communities.

Judith Welsh, MD. Enterprise Associate Chief Experience Officer and Academic Emergency Physician at Cleveland Clinic: Plan of care visits. It's when we bring together the providers (the physician, the fellow, the advanced practice provider) along with the nurse and the patient to the bedside, and our expectation is that everyday, every single patient will have a plan of care visit.

The goal of the plan of care visit is really tridirectional communication; the patient expressing what's most important to them, the nurse being heard and listened to and being able to express their concerns and updates, and then the provider updating everyone so that they're all on the same page. We very intentionally stopped chasing scores over the last year or so. It just stopped being the No. 1 priority. We really wanted to focus on effective communication and knew that if we did the right thing — which is these open communication lines — and we were very intentional about how we did it, that we were going to end up with the outcomes that were most important to the patients and organization. 

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