Key insights from NRC Health's 2024 Experience Perspective report

Improving the experience of care is a key to improving health outcomes. Yet in a sea of competing priorities and information overflow, understanding where to start can be daunting.

During a February Becker's Hospital Review podcast sponsored by NRC Health, Gregory Makoul, PhD MS, chief transformation officer at NRC Health, discussed key takeaways from the company's 2024 Experience Perspective report for healthcare leaders to consider and prioritize going forward.

The annual report combines NRC Health's expertise with the experience data from millions of people who are seeking or delivering healthcare.

Three key insights from the report:

  1. Innovation in healthcare starts with getting back to fundamentals, and requires follow-through. A main theme of the 2024 Experience Perspective report is that innovation starts with the fundamentals. "If all you do is come up with new ideas, you should wear a black turtleneck and feel really good about yourself. But you're not innovative — you're creative," Dr. Makoul said, implying that real innovation requires executing on new ideas.

  2. A useful way to view patient and employee experiences is by taking a "one big dot" approach. The goal of NRC Health's "one big dot" approach is building an operational culture that recognizes how improving experience, quality, safety, equity and brand — metrics that are traditionally tracked and acted on in siloes — comes down to focusing on what matters holistically to both patients and care providers. Therefore, improvement efforts need to be informed by and synchronized with improvement.

    "We've got to get past this idea that the people focusing on experience need to be doing something different or in competition with the people focusing on quality or safety or equity — it's all one big dot," Dr. Makoul said. "And, of course, all of this shapes brand perception."

  3. Patient perceptions of experience, quality, and safety are intertwined. The 2024 Experience Perspective report used data to reinforce the “one big dot” approach.

    A major insight was that healthcare users perceived safety not only in terms of preventing physical harm, but also in terms of preventing emotional harm. "People are paying very close attention to whether or not their care team is treating them with respect, making them feel heard and giving them the psychological safety to say what matters to them," Dr. Makoul noted.

Beyond the one big dot approach, the NRC Health 2024 Experience Perspective report also highlights as priorities the importance of human connection, getting strategic about accountability and co-design aimed at amplifying community and consumer voices.

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