PX2019: Innovative Solutions For Improving Patient Experience

Each year, healthcare professionals from around the globe converge on The Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Conference to discuss ways to improve patient care. I had the privilege of attending his year’s conference (PX2019) in Dallas, where I took in several presentations that showed innovative ways healthcare organizations are trying to move the needle on patient experience.

Jason Wolf, CEO of The Beryl Institute, kicked off the conference with some convincing statistics. A recent study conducted by Beryl showed that healthcare leaders are focusing more on patient experience; 78% of the leaders said that patient experience was a priority in 2019.

The conference’s keynote speaker, Alex Sheen, set the tone for the event. Sheen is the leader of because I said I would, a social movement and nonprofit organization focused on the importance of keeping promises. The idea of improving lives through promises made (and kept) reminded everyone of the reason we gathered at PX2019.

Putting Out Patient Experience ‘Wildfires’

Remember the fire prevention slogan from the National Forest Service? It features Smoky the Bear telling campers and hikers “only you can prevent wildfires.”

The NFS’s motto of prevention—not suppression—is excellent guidance when dealing with a patient experience problem, and it’s what Tiffany Fortin from Munson Health (Michigan) and Sheila Moroney from Hennepin Healthcare (Minnesota) and Mark VanderKlipp founding member of Connect_CX presented during their talk at PX2019. Patient experience “wildfires” are similar to forest wildfires; simply dealing with each problem individually (or “suppressing” the problem) will not help future patients who may have similar experiences. Instead, providers should look at the situation holistically and figure out how to prevent the problem from happening again. Fortini and Moroney stressed the importance of a balanced approach when trying to resolve a patient experience problem, and outlined five key steps in extinguishing a patient experience wildfire:

  1. Engage the user. Talk with both the patients and the providers.
  2. See patterns, not just problems. Recognize the potential for this problem to happen again.
  3. Seek sustainable process, not a “mission accomplished” mentality. Find a long-term solution that will prevent the problem from happening again.
  4. Unlock change, instead of imposing it. Involve providers and staff in adopting the change.
  5. Plan to adapt. Don’t stay the course. If something isn’t working, find a better solution.

The key point I took away from this presentation is that asking why a bad experience happened is as critical as finding a resolution. If this step is left out, an organization is sure to make the same mistake again.

Optimizing Post-Discharge Patient Outreach

Another highlight from this year’s conference was a session from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medicine which focused on their need for standardizing outreach to patients after discharge in order to lower the organization’s readmission rate. Prior to their standardization effort, discharge education from an EMR was excessive and not easy for patients to understand.

As part of their standardization initiative, UAB chose to implement a voice recording program. A UAB nurse or staff member would record the discharge instructions before the patient was discharged. The patient would then receive the recording at a predetermined time after they were discharged. The recording was easier to understand and more personable. Initially, sending these recordings helped lower their readmission up to 55% some months. However, it has its limitations.

The new process added another task to an already overloaded nurse’s workflow. Over time, more and more patients would not receive the recording because the discharge nurse forgot or was not able to find time to do the recording.

When searching for solutions for post-discharge outreach, it is important to find a program that is sustainable for your health system and one that touches every patient (not just the high risk). There is a direct connection between your transitions of care process and how likely a patient is to return to the emergency department. That is why Envera Health created a new approach to transitions of care. With light and efficient multi-channel touches, Envera Health helps health systems proactively reach more patients after discharge from acute care or ambulatory settings while you focus on the patients that need you most. Our post-discharge follow-up services are custom designed to compliment your clinical expertise with a holistic and comprehensive approach to transitions of care.

Download Envera Health’s Guide to Transitions of Care to gain insights for improving the transition process for your patients and providers.

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