patient centered excellence

Reconnecting Your Team to Patient-Centered Excellence: Healthcare Best Practices

Our industry is mandating an environment of heightened accountability through CAHPS, core measures, Joint Commission compliance, and never events. For example, as healthcare leaders it is unacceptable to us to skip or skimp on a key core measure process, like aspirin for a patient on arrival in the emergency department.

When we stereotype or label a patient, we accept that “Always treating patients with courtesy and respect” or “Always doing everything we can to control their pain,”— key HCAHPS survey domains—are optional and therefore not very important.

We coach our partners that the first step is this awareness. It can guide and empower our efforts and allow us to recognize how our behaviors and actions aren’t consistent with an “Always” experience and what actions we can take to reconnect to those in our care.

Saint Barnabas Hospital, a community hospital serving Bronx, NY, is a case in point. Its senior team has great passion for creating patient-centered excellence. They have taken important steps to reconnect their team to patients and establish urgency and accountability throughout the entire organization. Len Walsh, Chief Operating Officer, stated “I feel very strongly that if an organization is going to be truly successful in creating and maintaining a patient-centered environment, there must be a commitment from the senior leaders of the organization. We must role model the behaviors that we expect from our employees and create the environment for them to succeed.”

Where do you start? How do you stay connected to the patient?

The average length of stay for an acute care hospital is 4.5 days. This amount of time represents a typical work week for most people. But 4.5 days for a patient in the hospital is often a life-changing event. Healthcare leaders and staff must be sensitive, empathetic, and keenly aware that patients come into our care with fear, anxiety, and no framework for what it will be like to be in an ambulatory, emergency, or inpatient environment. Here are some immediate actions that can launch the resensitization process: 

  1. Take your patient experience survey as if you were a patient in your own organization. Answer the questions from the patient’s perspective. Then, identify the top three behaviors that you can personally change to improve the quality of their experience.
  2. Round on patients and their families. Do not use rounding as a “PR” opportunity.
  3. Engage with patients and families to truly understand what has gone well during their stay. Ask them to share with you one thing that your organization could have done to better serve them.
  4. Visit the intensive care waiting rooms. Get perspectives from the families who are in crisis. Those encounters can have an immeasurable impact on your ability to empathize.

This blog post is an excerpt from HealthStream’s white paper, Reconnecting Your Team to Patient-Centered Excellence. Complete this form to download the white paper.

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