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  • How to improve patient experience, clinician well-being concurrently

    How to improve patient experience, clinician well-being concurrently

    Improving the patient experience doesn't have to come at the cost of clinician well-being. There's a way to prioritize both, two physicians wrote in a July 18 article in Harvard Business Review.

    A common belief in healthcare is that improving the patient experience is in conflict with physician well-being, especially now, given how the pandemic has increased workloads and exacerbated clinician burnout. Thus, "many [clinicians] are in no mood to receive information about how to improve the patient experience and may feel 'this is just one more thing you are asking me to do,'" write Jessica Dudley, MD, chief clinical officer at Press Ganey and assistant professor of medicine at Boston-based Harvard Medical School, and Thomas Lee, MD, Press Ganey's chief medical officer and internist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

    Three steps to prioritize both, according to Drs. Dudley and Lee: 

    1. Emphasize the positive, especially positive patient feedback data, to double down on what is working and help clinicians understand where they are excelling. "Instead of telling clinicians they must become better, help them recognize when their care is at its best, and support them in providing such care with high reliability," the physicians write. 

    2. Create a culture that values high reliability and the psychological safety required to give and receive feedback. "The strongest cultures are those so committed to excellence that leaders create the space for team members to speak up and speak out when they see opportunities for improvement, small or large," the article says. 

    3. Fix the systems and eliminate work that doesn't improve patient care. Seeking input from both clinicians and non-clinicians is important to identify where to weed out meaningless activity. "Whenever we see marked improvement in patient experience and other quality metrics, we can virtually always identify a systemic improvement. The explanation is never 'we put more pressure on individual physicians to do a better job,'" the physicians wrote. 

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