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blog 6.4.14

Sustaining The Standards of Performance in Healthcare

This blog post continues our series of HealthStream Coaching's patient experience best practices. Every week we share information from our coaches that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions they have identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

In order for Standards of Performance to become ingrained in a healthcare organization's culture, they must be hardwired so that employees live and breathe them daily. Communication is the key to making a permanent connection between the Standards and the behaviors that most exemplify the culture, serving as the backbone of its success.

blog 6.4.14Keeping these conduct expectations in the forefront of the work environment is a matter of continuously reinforcing them through a variety of means. The first is a Standard of the Month initiative, a celebration that focuses on a specific behavior each month throughout the year. The organization can use patient satisfaction survey or HCAHPS results as a tool for selecting which behavior to highlight; it would be chosen based on opportunities for improvement as noted in the survey results. For example, if survey items measuring courtesy and friendliness are important to patients but the organization scores low on these items across many departments over several months, Attitude would be selected as a Standard for a following month.

Focusing on a particular behavior and its importance involves several actions that take place throughout the month. First, information about the featured Standard is posted on department communication boards. It is woven into the daily huddle material, and games or contests are used to call attention to it while providing an element of fun. Finally, a successful initiative celebrates employees who have exceeded the expectation of the featured standard by rewarding and recognizing them. When you showcase each Standard in this manner, you heighten its importance to your organization and the service excellence that results.

Additional means of maintaining emphasis on the Standards are:

  • List them on permanent signage throughout the organization.
  • Include the Standards in annual performance evaluations.
  • Use a system of reward and recognition to reinforce the Standards.
  • Print the Standards on the back of name badges.
  • Utilize as screen savers on computers/workstations.
  • Call attention to them during employee town hall meetings.
  • Offer leadership and employee development classes that focus on the Standards.

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