Scripps CXO: How to make patient experience part of employees' daily routines

To improve patient experience, healthcare employees must always keep patients' needs top of mind, Ghazala Q. Sharieff, MD, corporate vice president and chief experience officer at San Diego-based Scripps Health, wrote in an article for Harvard Business Review.

Scripps rolled out its "One Thing Different" program last year, which challenges the system's 15,000 employees, 3,000 physicians and 2,000 volunteers to make simple changes in their daily routines that can positively affect patient experience.

For clinicians, that action could be asking patients what their biggest concern is, according to Dr. Sharieff. For a patient transporter, it could be taking the time to make eye contact with patients and reassure them they are in good hands before a procedure.

Scripps records each staff member's daily action on a dedicated website that has more than 4,000 entries to date. Since launching the program, the health system has seen a 6-percentile improvement in patient experience scores systemwide. One pilot site also had a 13-percentile improvement in overall HCAHPS scores within six months.

"Small changes can make a big difference," Dr. Sharieff wrote. "Why don't we all start by asking our patients what their greatest concern is? … More broadly, let's actively encourage front-line staff to make simple, personal changes in their daily routines with patients that can make a difference to patients and to employees themselves."

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