Join | Print Page | Contact Us | Your Cart | Sign In | Register
The Beryl Institute Patient Experience Blog
Blog Home All Blogs

Opposing Natures: Honoring the Properties of Water

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Patient activation is a behavioral concept… It is defined as 'an individual's knowledge, skill, and confidence for managing their health and health care'.
(Hibbard et al 2005).

We know from all of the literature on patient activation that there is a way to both understand and measure a patients’ readiness to manage their health and their healthcare. We also know that there are techniques, such as motivational interviewing, that can assist in moving a patient from lower activation to a higher activation. In so doing, patients and families gain knowledge skills and confidence. As a person working in the field of patient experience, I find activation work to be both inspiring and essential in operationalizing engagement. As a patient, I have experienced activation is a moving target.

Recently, I was reacquainted with my personal activation scale when I found myself feeling puny shortly before a big trip to Thailand. I had never been to Thailand, I was meeting my best friend there and I was using all of my airline miles to have the trip of a lifetime. It goes without saying that I really wanted to go so when I began feeling sick my first thought was “Noooooo! I can’t let this stop me from going!” Like a good CF/Lung Transplant patient, I called my team and set up an appointment to be seen with the hope that I would get the “ok” from my team to go on my big trip. I arrived with my personal SBAR form all filled out, questions at the ready and feeling very high on the activation scale.

The flu swab was negative, WBC was normal, chest X-Ray looked good and I was not spiking fevers. After a great conversation with my transplant medicine doctor, we decided it would be okay to go on the trip as long as my symptoms did not get worse over the next few days. That was the news I hoped to hear!

A few days later, I was on my way to Thailand via a very long series of stops: Raleigh to JFK to Moscow to China to Thailand. Confident I had a simple virus, I boarded my first plane feeling very comfortable with traveling the long distance. By the time I got to JFK, things began to change and by the time I was ready to board the plane to Moscow, I knew I was too sick to travel. After making the tough decision to turn around and getting my flight home arranged, I began my descent into illness.

In the interest of the reader, I want to begin by saying I was fine and I am fine. Eventually, it was determined through a bronchoscopy that I did have the flu. Just the flu. Especially this season, few people seemed to be able to avoid this virus and, just by how common it is, it seems silly to say that it brought me to my knees; especially in light of my past medical history. But it did.

Fever, fatigue, coughing…the normal flu stuff. At some point in the illness process I lost my voice entirely which was far more debilitating than I would have imagined it to be. As a CF/ Lung Transplant patient, I was hyper-focused on my symptoms and my internal life was one of balancing logic (“this is just the flu”) with diligence (“you can’t let this get away from you”). I had faith in my team and hoped each day that I would feel better but, day after day, I felt worse and worse. Worry began to creep in and clouded my mind. My once clear, organized approach to dealing with this illness challenge began to slip away. My level of activation seemed to be melting away along with my sense of well-being.

It was approximately one week after my initial symptoms that I had a night of restless sleep peppered with visions of ventilators. It was as if I could feel the life draining out of my body and I thought to myself, “Oh, I can see how people die from the flu.” I couldn’t help but wonder if I was experiencing anxiety or a premonition. My canceled trip to Thailand was no longer something I gave a second thought—my goal had shifted from wanting to go on that trip to wanting to make it through this alive.

The following morning, I carried the weight of my ventilator dreams with me as I went to have a bronchoscopy. At the hospital, I felt what has become a very common dichotomy for me: my very personal (often unspoken) illness experience butting up against the day-to-day work of those caring for me.

Because of my history working in a hospital, I both recognize and respect the “why and how” of daily operations. During the years I worked as a patient advocate in an academic medical center, my days were dictated by structure. The structure of the CMS policies I was required to follow, the structure of prioritizing the calls, letters and pages I received each day and the structure of daily work flow for the clinical providers surrounding me. Checklists, protocols and routines were everywhere. Assuming the role of sick patient, however, I was reminded that the experience of being a patient is often the antithesis of a structured, day-to-day norm. In fact, showing up for healthcare is quite opposite from a “normal” day. Likewise, being activated wasn’t something I had achieved and could check off of a to-list; it was something that I had to work to maintain.

The walk from the car to the front door was difficult; I was too weak to walk without holding on to my friend. After checking in, I had to get labs, CT and go to clinic. All of these were in very different parts of the hospital and the walk to each area seemed to be miles and miles. In each waiting room, I longed to lie down but there were only hard, upright chairs. I wore a mask and, since I lost my voice, nobody could hear me or see my mouth move. Person after person seemed both surprised and shocked to discover I was unable to communicate verbally. To all of the people I presented to, my case was not remarkable nor was it dire. Objectively, they were correct. That didn’t change the fact that I was still weighed down by my night of ICU visions and getting from “A” to “B” seemed to take all of the strength I could muster. It seems strange to me now that all of those emotional twists and turns had gone largely undetected by those around me; both my medical team and my family.

After the bronchoscopy, I was given strong antibiotics and slowly began to recover. My healing was as palpable as my descent into illness. I could feel my body changing every day and, some days, I was filled with a sense of euphoria because of my improving health. The tides had shifted and my internal life was one of hope and gratitude. Increasing physical strength buoyed my ability manage my life again. My challenging internal journey was winding down and I was returning to my “activated” self.  My sites were now set on going back to work and rescheduling that trip to Thailand.

If we want to "engage" patients, we must never lose sight of the fact that we are functioning in two different worlds: one that demands predictable outcomes and one that, by its own nature, can never be truly be made submissive to our will. As many times as I have lived through illness and healing, I am always amazed at how quickly I forget the reality of what it is to experience it. To try and operationalize the patient experience is like trying to contain water. It can be done, certainly, but to dishonor the unpredictable nature of illness/healing is like trying to deny the properties of water.

As we continue to hammer out ways to be better partners in the road of illness and healing, it’s natural for people on both sides of the bed to feel frustration. It’s also imperative that we keep in mind that this frustration does not result from one person being right or one person being wrong. Both are simply behaving exactly as the nature of their respective experiences dictate: the healthcare professional is functioning from logic, structure and science and the patient is immersed in the ever-changing tides of an illness/healing dynamic.

Activation levels are not a constant, no matter who the patient happens to be or how extensive their medical history. Knowledge, skills and confidence rise and fall like water lapping against the shore. If we begin all of our interactions with that awareness, we can put aside some intrinsic, (often) unconscious frustrations that derail us from partnership and effective communication. It is then we can truly meet people where they are and come together as a team.

 

Tiffany Christensen
Vice President, Experience Innovation
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  communication  flu  healthcare team  partnership  patient engagement  personal experience  recovery  story  team  together  transplant 

Share |
PermalinkComments (2)
 

Increasing the Value of The Beryl Institute Membership

Posted By Denise R. Weathers, Thursday, March 8, 2018
Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2018

For years, The Beryl Institute has offered the community a growing library of resources to support you in leading a positive patient experience effort for your organization. Over the past year, the Institute has experienced some major accomplishments highlighted in our 2017 Year In Review. As we continue the commitment to improving the human experience by offering value-added resources and services, the need for our members become ever so important. The question has become – how can The Beryl Institute best serve its members and the patient experience community?

Through our Annual Member Experience Survey distributed in December 2017, you helped us address this question by providing your much-deserved feedback. To highlight a few observations, we asked what you thought of the services that are being offered by the Institute. Similar to previous survey results, the top six most-valued and accessed member benefits are Publications, such as White Papers and Research Reports, Webinars, E- Newsletters (PX Monthly and PX Newslink), Learning Bites, PX Connect, the latest member benefit and the PX Conference.

Although the above-mentioned resources were rated as the most-valued resources, the one word that was consistent throughout the survey feedback and placed an even wider smile on our faces was “Community.” Relationships are considered by many to be the most important and satisfying aspect of life, and your partnership with The Beryl Institute provides you with a diverse global community of physicians, nurses, patient experience leaders, patient and family advisors, consultants, etc., in various healthcare settings, coming together to support one common goal…to improve the patient and human experience in healthcare. Community matters in patient experience and we must ensure it does for the power of the collection of voices in our movement and in the work, it calls us to do every day.

Community speaks to the heart of who we are and to the resources and opportunities we develop for you to engage in for learning, the collection and dissemination of ideas and the connection among peers such as your ability to connect in the recent addition of the online member community, PX Connect, and by attending the 2018 PX Conference, coming up next month April 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

The Power of community has also been elevated with the recent emergence of the PX Policy Forum and the newly formed Nurse Executive Council. To further increase the value of your membership, the Institute has or is taking steps to improve your member experience by providing:

 

Enhanced offerings for professional development and learning exploring how the Institute can elevate the partner organizations and speakers who present at its professional development learning areas such as webinars, PX Conference, Regional Roundtables and PX Grand Rounds; engaging and leveraging discussions in the online patient experience member community, PX Connect, to develop untapped content and resources; and, organizing content collaboration targets for specific areas we recognize may have some gaps such as Ambulatory Care, Physician Office Setting and Long-Term Care, to name a few.

 

 Increased member benefit awareness with enhanced communications highlighting targeted member benefits such as: Career Center, expanded volunteer opportunities and PX Connect, and include Patient Experience Continuing Education (PXE) credit offerings through most of the professional development and learning programs, pending approval.

 

Innovation, research and global presence by adding an Experience Innovation position to expand the Institute’s global landscape of groundbreaking advancements in the PX evolution.


It is our commitment to be that organization…that patient experience community that identifies and address your needs more effectively and one that provides an optimal suite of patient experience resources, products and services at the most affordable investment and value.

The Beryl Institute staff are here to serve you. We hope the continued focus on improving the resources, products and services display our commitment and our drive to showcase and support you and your organization on your patient experience journey.

Do you have ideas on how we could continue to increase the value of The Beryl Institute membership? Email me at denise.weathers@theberylinstitute.org with your ideas and suggestions.

 

Denise R. Weathers
Vice President, Membership
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  commitment  Community  community of practice  member benefit  member survey  member value  px connect 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

You Had Me at Hello: The Importance of the First Greeting in the Patient Experience

Posted By Terri Ipsen, CPXP, Thursday, February 1, 2018
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018

The greeting. Such a small thing, but a wide lens to what a patient’s experience might be like during a visit to the doctor. At The Beryl Institute, our definition of experience includes “the sum of all interactions”; so getting this first step right – greeting the patient – is critical to influencing the patient’s perception and expectations about the care they will receive.

As Hurricane Irma was blasting through my home state of Florida, I was experiencing a physical “natural disaster" of my own: a herniated disc in my back that had trapped the nerve in my left leg, leaving me almost incapacitated. Getting immediate treatment for the pain from my regular doctor was impossible, as the storm had forced her to evacuate. To delay finding relief from my excruciating pain was not an option, so with the help of a friend, I was fortunate to get an emergency appointment with a spine specialist in another town. And this is where my story about first greetings begins.

The long 45-minute drive to the specialist was horrendous; my daughter was my driver as I laid flat in the back seat. Upon arrival, I shuffled into the medical office. Grimacing, I slowly approached the reception desk.  Before my name could even pass my lips, harsh words came flying at me from the other side of the glass window.

Do you have an appointment?” I thought to myself: Seriously? That is the most important question to ask me at this moment? I hobble through your front door, contorted with pain, and you are concerned about whether I have an appointment? The person on the other side of the window clearly was not focused on me, the patient, but rather the disruption that an unexpected patient would have on her day. No expression of empathy or compassion was displayed as she shoved a clipboard of papers into my hands. No assistance in finding a comfortable chair ever came. 

The poor welcoming carried over into the remainder of my visit: a 45-minute wait in reception and another 30 minutes in the exam room. There was no communication from the staff during either of these wait times – missed touch points that could have had major impact on my perception of care.

My experience in that medical office reinforces that there is still a lot of work to do in returning humanness to healthcare. The good news is that there are practices that do get it right, and this is where my story continues. The following week I visited a surgery center for a spinal injection. The greeting I received there was so different from my experience at the doctor’s office. Still in pain, I shuffled up to the front door. There, three nurses rushed outside and greeted me. One took my hand and acknowledged the pain in my eyes, “Looks like you need some help here. Let’s get you a wheelchair. We’re going to take good care of you.”  I felt I had arrived in heaven.

The receptionist was equally compassionate. Instead of giving me a clipboard of papers to fill out on my own, she left her desk and sat next to me in my wheelchair. She asked me the questions and completed the paperwork on my behalf. This provider got it right. The surgery center had built a culture of excellence based on empathy and compassion which was evident at every touch point of my visit. Imagine how healthcare could be changed if all providers embraced such a philosophy!

Frontline staff speaks volumes to the culture of healthcare organizations. A greeting that includes a smile and a courteous acknowledgement of a patient’s needs sets the scene for a good experience and, more importantly, customer loyalty. It made all the difference for me. Thank you, surgery center, for a great patient experience. You, indeed, had me at hello.

 

Terri Ipsen, CPXP
Executive Assistant
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  communication  compassion  empathy  first impressions  organizational culture  patient experience 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)
 

With Healthcare at the Edge of Uncertainty, Human Experience Matters More than Ever

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP, Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year and I hope the first few days of January find you rested and ready for an exciting year ahead. I also recognize that 2018 brings continued uncertainty for healthcare and shifting pressures on our healthcare systems globally. This potential friction of calm and chaos is the boundary on which I believe we will find ourselves in healthcare for some time to come. And it is on this very active boundary where I believe we can and will thrive.

In the last year, we saw great strides in our efforts to elevate the patient experience conversation. Patient experience gatherings dotted the globe covering continents, inspiring national systems to refocus their intention, and encouraging new thinking and renewed purpose. Evidence continued to mount on the value of a broader commitment to experience and healthcare overall showed increasing commitment to a focus on experience as a central and integrated component of all we do. The State of Patient Experience 2017 revealed increasing investments, expanding scope and a realization that experience efforts are a clear path to achieving desired outcomes.

We were also guided by the powerful stories of those experiencing care. I was particularly inspired by the thoughtful call for compassion raised as we closed the year by Dr. Rana Awdish from Henry Ford and Tiffany Christensen, our new VP of Experience Innovation at The Beryl Institute at the IHI National Forum. Rana reinforced “We really can't presume to know the answer, we must ask generous questions to really know what matters to our patients,” while Tiffany challenged us to reconsider our perspective, asking, “What would happen if we admired our patients rather than pitied them?” and reminded us, “There is room for compassion on both ends of the bed.”

This idea of the need to connect, of a “both/and” versus an “either/or” in many ways is in direct conflict with much of the political and cultural climate in which we find ourselves today, where extremes are elevated and common ground eroded. This too represents that very boundary on which I believe we can thrive. It is through this expanded perspective on what actually matters that we realize we are talking about something much bigger – we are moving to a focus on the human experience at the heart of healthcare.

As I have reflected on this “evolution” in our journey, what I believe we have been doing is driving back to the very purpose on which healthcare was initially grounded. Before there were systems and structures, methods and machines, there was one human being engaging with another, one committed to help and one in need. It required both to participate, it took both to succeed…and it still does.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon recently said that while he frequently gets the question: 'What's going to change in the next 10 years?' he almost never gets the question: 'What's not going to change in the next 10 years?'. His point being the second question is actually the more important of the two. It is those things that remain stable on which we can build and through which we can find our greatest success.

While we cannot predict how policy will change and in what ways or what new constraints or challenges we will face at the boundary of calm and chaos, we do know that each of us in the business of human beings caring for human beings will continue to have choices. While they are not necessary choices in what illness or disease may befall you, you do have the choice of how you believe you deserve to be treated, in what ways you want to be treated and therefore ultimately where you will choose to be cared for. You have choices in how you will care for others, in what you will do to understand what matters to them and to you and ultimately choices in how you will care for yourself as someone committed to helping others.

That is the essence of human experience. That is the essence of healthcare. Where we go from here depends on that idea. We can use the uncertainty of the moment or the lack of clarity or variability of what lies ahead as a distraction, or even an excuse, or we can focus on what matters at our core. In our efforts to focus forward, I offer four considerations:

1.     Intention and clarity matter.

The growing number of organizations defining what experience is for their organization reinforces that a clear intention and shared commitment to that purpose is central to any opportunity to drive excellence in healthcare.

2.     Consistency is the antidote to uncertainty.

When the ground feels unstable we must find places of strength on which to support ourselves. Being consistent in efforts to elevate and expand experience excellence is a central way to remain focused on purpose, ensure positive outcomes and manage through uncertainty.

3.     Shared understanding/ownership will change how we work.

The opportunity now presents itself to move beyond engaging people at the personal level, to activating them as co-owners in their care. This is more than a focus on centeredness, which represents a one-way relationship, to a dynamic sense of shared awareness and understanding in which all engaged contribute to outcomes.

4.     Listen to understand ALL the voices that comprise the healthcare ecosystem.

There must also be a commitment to listening at the broadest levels in healthcare to understand what drives people’s choices, what motivates their actions and why this work is important overall. In acknowledging that each voice in the process is critical we also reinforce the value and purpose that had people choose healthcare as a place to work and elevate those receiving care (as Tiffany challenged us) from passive participants to individuals we should admire.

As we move into 2018 we will push this idea further, learning from each of you, honoring the voices of all engaged in healthcare, truly clarifying what matters to those impacted by what healthcare chooses to do and ultimately reinforcing that in each of those choices we each make tiny ripples that touch thousands and thousands of lives around our globe. That is the opportunity for us as we look to the year ahead and beyond, to thrive at the boundary on which we find ourselves and use the energy that this dynamic tension creates to spur us on. In doing so, with our eyes forward and our hearts grounded in the human experience, we can continue to change healthcare for the better for one another and for all it serves.

 

Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP
President
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  clarity  compassionate care  consistency  healthcare policy  healthcare uncertainty  human experience  patient experience  perspective 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Do You See What I See?

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, Monday, December 4, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 4, 2017

As a person who lives with cystic fibrosis and has had 2 double lung transplants, I have experienced many stages of illness. I have understood from a very young age that having this illness is something people feel badly about and sometimes even wonder why “bad things happen to good people.”

But what if we have it wrong? What if illness isn’t the worst-case scenario? What if instead of looking at me with pity, I should be looking at you with pity because you don’t see what I see?

In my lifelong career as a patient, I have had people respond to me in all kinds of ways. The reactions were more pronounced as I grew sicker and they reached their peak during the time I wore oxygen. When I was wearing oxygen, some people would stare, some people would look away and others would approach me and say things that often caught me off guard. One man in Target said, “You shouldn’t have smoked so much.” One woman in Macy’s said, “I’ll pray for you.” My cousin asked, “Why would God do this to you?” Almost all of the people I encountered said—with their eyes— “You poor thing, I’m so glad I’m not you.”

While the intentions were almost always good and the reactions easily explained as a reflection of each person’s internal relationship with life, death and uncertainty, none of them ever hit the mark.  Nobody I came across ever reflected back to me what my perception of myself happened to be.

I felt physically weak, yes, but everything else about me felt strong. I felt connected to the universe, I felt a strong understanding of my purpose in this world and I felt lucky to have the lessons of illness laid before my feet day after day. The very last thing I wanted was pity. If anything, I would have liked admiration.

Imagine for a moment a patient laying in a hospital bed. They are curled up slightly around themselves, pale in the face and not very interested in interaction. Imagine walking in to see that patient. What might you think? What words come to mind? Vulnerable? Sad? Weak?

Now imagine walking into that same room with a very different lens. If you could see into that person’s mind, what do you think you would find there? Simply because they are not talking does not mean they aren’t thinking. Just because they aren’t emoting does not mean they aren’t feeling. So why are they so quiet? What are they doing?

They are enduring. They are bracing themselves against pain or discomfort. This takes energy and concentration. This takes a great deal of STRENGTH.

What if, like a marathon runner grimacing as they finish their final miles, we looked at the patient curled up in the bed and did not see weakness but, instead, saw determination and grit? What if we encouraged them, like we would do on the sidelines watching athletes riding their bikes in an Iron Man, telling them “You’re doing great! I know it’s hard but you’re amazing!” What if we stopped pitying people who are sick and saw them as people we could learn great lessons from? How would this change the way we deliver our healthcare?

Being sick is often an isolating experience. Not only because of the physical symptoms that limit our ability to live an active life, but because of the perception of weakness others project onto us. As I shared earlier in this post, during the time that I wore oxygen, I had a lot of comments from friends, family and strangers about my appearance of health. What I almost never received were questions. I longed for questions rather than statements. Here are just a few that I would have liked to hear:

  • “I know you have bad days and better days. On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s today?”
  • “Is there something I could do right now to make your life a little easier?”
  • “I want to support you and I’ve never experienced anything like what you are going through. Can you help me understand what life is like for you?”
  • “You know I love you and I worry about you, but I’m feeling strong today. Is there anything you want to talk about that you’ve been keeping inside because you were afraid it would be too hard for me to talk about?”

And then there is this one statement I longed to hear:

  • “Caring for you while you go through this illness is really hard. Sometimes I get sad, angry…you name it. But, I want you to know, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Having you is worth every second of this struggle.”

The internal world of sick people isn’t always going to match mine so this is by no means a prescription. At the same time, nothing bad can come from seeing patients differently. If you see them as strong, perhaps they will gain more strength. If you ask them questions, they may not always want to talk about it in that moment, but they know where to go when they do.

Illness forces us to focus on what matters in this life. Let those who live with it be our teachers while we admire them as they take on their personal marathon. I hope you can begin to see what I see and watch how it shapes the way we deliver care.

 

Tiffany Christensen
Vice President, Experience Innovation
The Beryl Institute

Planning to attend the IHI National Forum later this month? Join Tiffany Christensen’s Keynote session with Dr. Rana Awdish, MD, lead by IHI President Derek Feeley, as the two women touch on how they are using their patient experiences to improve healthcare. You can also join Tiffany during Sunday’s Learning Lab, the CEO Summit and her “meet the author” luncheon. 

Tags:  communication  impact  improving patient experience  perception  purpose  relational healthcare 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of the Small Things

Posted By Deanna Frings, MS Ed, CPXP, Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Recently I traveled by motorcycle through my home state of Wisconsin enjoying the colors of fall. In planning this trip my husband and I were very intentional in choosing our route, selecting our clothes and determining the day we left.  We knew that paying close attention to these things was very important if we wanted to see the best color possible on the most scenic roads staying warm, dry and safe.

I would categorize these items as having a great impact on the overall quality and safety of our experience.  Many might say, they are the big important things.  In healthcare, there are many big important things in providing high quality, safe care.  And in my experience, we are typically very good at paying attention to these big, important things.

But what was affirmed for me during this trip is that doing things with a clear purpose, being present and intentional can have an equally huge impact on the overall experience even in the most insignificant interactions.  In fact, it is the small things that can often have the greatest positive impact.

When riding on the back of a motor cycle there isn’t much for me to do except to enjoy the scenery. My mind wondered a bit and I started thinking of the importance of being intentional.  Intentional in my work, intentional in my personal life and intentional in my relationships and all that I do.  It’s easy to get lazy and forget the importance and the impact intention can have on oneself and on others. It really does come down to presence, awareness and the power of choice.

At The Beryl Institute, we understand the power of choice and recognize that in every interaction, we have a choice to make. So, for the remainder of the trip it was my goal to create positive moments by being very intentional in the interactions I had. The criteria I used to measure my success included receiving a comment of appreciation such as a “Thank you”, noting a smile as a result of the interaction and/or walking away with an overall positive and warm feeling.

We came upon road construction several times throughout the week. On many of these occasions, the road merged into a single lane which required members of the construction crew to flag vehicles through from each direction ensuring our safety. At more than one of these locations, we were the first vehicle stopped by a person holding a stop sign waiting patiently for our turn to pass through.

I have always wondered what it must be like to be one of these individuals standing in the elements for several hours a day holding a ten foot stop sign. There have been a few occasions when I would nod slightly but on this occasion, I wanted to acknowledge the person and to let them know how much I appreciated the job they did to ensure our safety. On a motorcycle, it was very easy to have this conversation. I could see a smile come across the gentleman’s face and he nodded. As we passed through, he waved and said, “Have a great and safe ride.” This small but purposeful gesture, created a moment that enhanced this part of our journey.

Test number two came when we stopped for lunch. On a motorcycle trip of this length, stopping for lunch is a highlight of the day. Its time off the bike and that is always welcomed. It’s fun to stop at simple cafes and dinners and this particular stop was extremely enjoyable.  Not so much because of the food but rather our waitress who was extremely personable and good at what she did. I have always enjoyed watching people do what they do every day especially when you can tell they enjoy their work. 

She had purpose, presence and did everything with intention. It was fun watching her work the room. She acknowledged us the minute we sat down and indicated she would be with us in a just a moment. As promised, she came over immediately after delivering hot food to another table, introduced herself and seeing the clothing we were wearing and our helmets asked, “are you staying warm out there today?” She was helpful with the menu, anticipated all of our needs and provided us with a lovely 45-minute break off the bike.

As she was cleaning the dirty dishes from the table and leaving us the check, I asked her how long she had worked here and told her how much I enjoyed watching her as it appears she really enjoys her work. She was beaming at this acknowledgment and went on to share that it brings great joy to her when she can offer great service to her customers and thanked us for coming in today.

The final experiment came during a service recovery opportunity after being on the bike for a long 6-hour day. Upon entering the parking lot of our hotel, we were required to take a parking ticket from an automated machine that would subsequently open the gate. As we started moving through the gate, it immediately lowered itself onto the motorcycle prior to us passing completely through. It took all my husband’s strength to stop the gate from lowering all the way onto the bike and for those brief 20 seconds until I hit the button for another ticket, it was a bit terrifying. Not the most comforting way to end the day. 

We were greeted by a very nice young man at the registration desk. He noticed we were a bit distressed and inquired how he could help. After hearing our explanation about the gate prematurely closing, he did all the right things you would hope an employee would do at a time when service recovery is warranted.  He acknowledged our concern, apologized it happened and immediately went to work to make amends. As he completed the registration process, he once again apologized for this situation. We thanked him for his help.

Later in the evening when we came down to dinner, I wanted to once again acknowledge how much what he did meant to us. I proceeded to the desk to explain to him what I did at The Beryl Institute and how much we talk about the importance of service recovery.  The term was new to him but he really appreciated that I took the time to share this information and to thank him once again.  As I walked away, I turned back and he was fast at work welcoming another couple to the hotel with a great smile on his face.

Sometimes we never know the impact a small gesture might have.

Four years ago, I met a gentleman by the name of Andreas. At that time, he was a student at DePaul University. Jason Wolf was participating in a patient experience panel discussion for the class. Following the class, we joined the students for a light meal and further networking. Andreas was sharing how much he was learning about patient experience and his desire to ultimately find a job in the field but was concerned about his lack of work experience. During our conversation, I was very impressed with this young man. He had a clear vision, defined purpose and he was building an intentional plan to achieve his goal. And from where I was sitting, he had a true passion about patient experience. It was this that I wanted to reflect back to him. I simply put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Andreas, you are the Patient Experience;” I took one of our IMPX pins and secured it to his jacket.  He simply smiled and said, “Thank you”. 

Four years later, Andreas along with his colleagues presented at the Patient Experience Conference. Andreas came up to me during the conference and recounted that evening four years earlier and shared with me how much it meant to him. It gave him continued confidence to work toward his goal of working in the field of experience. I also noticed he was wearing his IMPX pin.

It was hard to hold back my tears. To think of the impact that small gesture had and the vivid memory it still holds was humbling. But you see, we all know because of our own experiences the positive and lasting impact these small gestures can have. Leading with purpose, being present and doing things with intention can positively impact both the big and small things in our everyday interactions.

In conclusion, I encourage you to think about these simple examples and the lasting impact they had on these individuals as well as the positive impact they had on me. There is an important conversation going on in the patient experience community about employee engagement. At the heart of our humanness, it is being in relationship with each other that keeps us engaged in caring for those we serve. And it’s all big and important stuff.

 

Deanna Frings, MS Ed, CPXP
Vice President, Learning and Professional Development
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  caring  employee engagement  impact  interactions  journey  patient experience community  power of choice 

Share |
PermalinkComments (2)
 

A Patient’s Wish List: Executing a Better Patient Experience

Posted By Tiffany Christensen, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

As the newest member of The Beryl Institute Team, I want to begin by stating how honored I feel to be brought in as the Vice President of Experience Innovation. I started my new role on October 1, 2017 and the timing could not have been better because my first day on the job meant a trip to Southlake, TX for a quarterly in-person staff meeting.

Since I have been a long-time friend and board member of the Institute, it was not a shock to me when I learned that Jason Wolf, President, had assigned the team a book to read for our upcoming (my first) staff strategy meeting. I’ll call it “Jason’s Book Club.” The title of the book was Execution: The Art of Getting Things Done.

I’ll be honest and say that the first few pages worried me because I immediately noticed this was primarily a book about business theory. I have my strengths and having a mind for business is not one I would put at the top of the list.

Turns out, I was familiar with this “world” after all because I have experienced a lot of the dynamics the book explores while working in a hospital and working as a consultant.

According to Execution, the first “building block” of running a successful business requires leaders to cultivate “emotional fortitude.” The authors go so far as to state that “leaders in contemporary organizations may be able to get away with emotional weakness for a brief time” but “emotional weakness will destroy both the leader and the organization.” In reading this, I certainly thought of the leaders we have running hospitals and regulatory bodies but it’s so much more than that. When the book outlined what it takes to achieve emotional fortitude, I felt like I might have been reading my patient wish list:

  • Authenticity
  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Mastery
  • Humility

It’s obvious to everyone that patients and families react differently to illness or injury. Part of what makes working in healthcare so challenging is the simple fact that what makes one person feel safe and cared for may feel like an intrusion or a lack of caring to the person in the room down the hall. With that said, there are some universalities to the patient experience that lend themselves to a core set of needs.

Authenticity. Being a patient usually brings with it some level of emotional “rawness.” Simply put, getting in touch with one’s vulnerability and mortality often brings with it a sense of urgency to cut through some of our society’s typical superficial layers and get to the heart of things. Whether this is the heart of the diagnosis or the heart of what brings life meaning, patients and families crave authenticity from loved ones and the professionals caring for them. For example, as we work to find our True North in creating a better experience, sometimes professionals bring an overly cheery attitude into the room. While this has the best of intentions, it can often rub patients and families the wrong way because it feels incongruous to the patient’s current state. When professionals are not able to acknowledge the tone of the patient or family, they are not able to meet this need for authenticity and the ability to effectively communicate may be impacted.

Self-Awareness. Just as every patient in a healthcare setting is human, so too are the professionals caring for patients. Despite what we seem to be asking of our healthcare professionals in today’s climate, no one person can be all things to all people. Those who know their own strengths and weakness have the opportunity to consciously craft the best possible approach to working with patients and families. As one works on their weaknesses, they can also call upon their team members to support patients and families in ways that may not come as easily to them. Some people explain clinical information very well while others do a better job sitting with those who are grieving a loss or new diagnosis. It is essential that healthcare professionals not expect themselves to be perfect or responsible for meeting every need of every patient/family member. However, by practicing self-awareness, teams can be honest with each other about who is best to serve in what capacity to meet the needs of those they serve. It goes without saying that this level of self-awareness combined with the willingness to strategize around it, requires all of the other characteristics explored here.

Self-Mastery. Being a patient can also bring with it a level of fear or frustration that makes a person behave outside of themselves. To say it more plainly, patients are often at their worst and this can be reflected in behavior that can be read as rude, erratic or impatient. Without Self-Mastery, it is easy to match a patient’s tone of negativity and even take their behavior personally. When healthcare professionals don’t practice self-mastery and they become emotionally effected by a patient’s poor behavior, they may visit the patient less, fail to engage them in co-designing the treatment plan and speak to them in a way that has unpleasant undertones. Self-Mastery is certainly the tallest of the orders in this list. A lack of it also holds the greatest potential for the team to break down and for everyone to feel disrespected. As it relates to satisfaction for patients, families and providers, this is arguably the most important ingredient.

Humility. Humility is a quality that likely does not need much of an illustration. A person who is not humble is often perceived as a person who is not keen on considering the opinions and perspectives of others. In the larger picture, humility is key to patient safety. If a provider cannot humble themselves to take concerns, corrections or stories seriously, they may miss crucial information and possibly make a mistake in the diagnosis or treatment of their patient. As a patient, the possibility of not being heard can evoke fear and frustration. I believe this is because, on a conscious or unconscious level, patients and families know instinctively that a lack of humility is a safety issue.  

If your heart is heavy thinking about being both clinically excellent AND dedicated to personal growth, please don’t despair. This list is not just for healthcare professionals. As we continue to explore what it means for a patients and families to be authentic members of the healthcare team, we should also turn this list around to be a set of goals for patients and families.

Imagine the team dynamic if patients, families and providers all were working at authenticity, self-awareness, self-mastery and humility. This team would be filled with honesty, vulnerability and a clear focus in collaboration and co-designing care. Perhaps these are those intangible elements of patient and family engagement that are hard to measure but quite obvious when absent. Perhaps we could use these characteristics as the anchors to a vision for the ideal in healthcare teamwork. And, just think, all of these components of emotional fortitude came from business people! Sincerely, I am grateful for Jason’s Book Club pick, Execution, allowing us to take a look at healthcare leadership and teamwork through a different lens; the lens of a Patient’s Wish List.


Tiffany Christensen
Vice President, Experience Innovation
The Beryl Institute

 

Source:
Bossidy, L., Charan, R., & Burck, C. (2002). Execution: The discipline of getting things done. New York: Crown Business.

Tags:  authencity  book  business  execution  humility  patient  patient advocate  patient and family engagement  reading  self-awareness  self-mastery 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Announcing PX Connect: A New Member-Powered Virtual Patient Experience Community is Coming

Posted By Denise R. Weathers, Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The idea of community aligns strongly with the definition of patient experience that asserts patient experience across the entire continuum of care. This means to provide a true experience, you must think well beyond the physical nature of your facilities or practices to recognize the experience resides in the network of people that surround and are connected to your organization, both near and far. This is at its heart, the essence of experience. The experience you provide is a community story and one you must be willing to acknowledge, address and oftentimes, share.

The essence of patient experience thrives in much bigger ideas of community, which is why we have worked effortlessly in creating a true community of practice in The Beryl Institute itself. We recognize, through observation of the listserv discussions and feedback from member surveys, our members are seeking the option to engage with peers in a more personalized manner according to specific special interests, as well as an enhanced organized, streamlined way to discover, share and connect. As the Institute continues to grow and evolve, so does the communication and engagement needs of its patient experience member community. 

We listened and PX Connect, the Institute’s newest enhanced virtual patient experience community benefit, is coming soon, replacing the current PX Listservs.  Exclusively for members, this powerful virtual community will enhance the ways you engage, share and learn with the Institute’s patient experience community around the world. It has been designed with a simple focus: to share special-interest knowledge and resources through connection with your peers and other healthcare organizations focused on patient experience efforts to foster the creation of strong national and global networks.

The PX Connect community, will allow members to:

  • Easily search for content, viewing calendars of events and deadlines.
  • Share challenges and best practices in real-time.
  • Get direct access to current information and timely news. Search and contribute to the powerful Library of patient experience resource models and samples designed to generate ideas and save your peers and you time from reinventing the wheel.
  • Stay connected with participating Patient Experience Conference attendees and Learning and Professional Development course classmates.
  • Engage with committee members real-time.
  • View community content on any screen size or mobile device.
  • Receive special recognition for contributions to the PX Connect Community.
  • Create an instant infrastructure for patient experience communication across systems enabling their staff, key stakeholders, patients and family members to virtually engage, network and share knowledge through a private online community platform (Exclusive to Organizational Members).
  • And more!

The PX Connect community will support your patient experience resource solution needs—and to celebrate and share in your patient experience victories. The community will also provide you with a virtual high-five and a shared laugh.

Thank you for your continued support of the Institute. Membership with the Institute shows that your organization is committed to creating market distinction by supporting a culture where staff at all levels have access to patient experience resources, show their understanding that patient experience is an integration of quality, safety and service and display a commitment to provide the best in outcomes for those in our care.

If you have any questions about your membership, or wish to have your organization join our patient experience community, please feel free to contact me at denise.weathers@theberylinstitute.org.

 

Denise R. Weathers
Vice President, Membership
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  community  connection  member benefit  member value  membership  networking  px connect 

Share |
PermalinkComments (5)
 

At the Heart of Patient Experience is Caring for Those Who Care: A Call to Action for Those in Need

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP, Thursday, September 7, 2017

For the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity to visit two amazing healthcare institutions in São Paulo, Brazil – Hospital Sírio Libanêse and Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein – and meet healthcare leaders from across Latin America committed to improving patient experience. While there I had the unique experience of watching the approach of and resulting impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas and Louisiana from outside the United States. As was evident in every report, the challenge this storm posed for the communities it impacted, their infrastructure and their healthcare organizations placed a significant strain on the system and created great need.

As we have seen in patient experience efforts around the globe, a central priority has emerged, one focused on taking care of not just those we serve in healthcare, but the people serving as well. This idea of caring for our team and staff in healthcare, of ensuring the engagement and care of our employees, was in fact the fastest growing point of focus in supporting patient experience success in The State of Patient Experience 2017. It is clear that taking care of those who give of themselves in healthcare is something we cannot and should not take lightly. This is no more relevant than at this moment in cities such as Houston, TX in the aftermath of Harvey (and now for those in the path of Hurricane Irma).

For all that healthcare organizations have done to support the needs of their communities impacted by Harvey, they too have been literally underwater. With many instances of organizations with disrupted and/or discontinued services, these organizations have stretched their capacity to care for the communities they serve. Yet, what we must realize is that those providing care are not only caregivers, they are the affected themselves. They too may be displaced by flooding or damage, their families impacted and their lives disrupted, yet they have remained steadfast in their efforts to care for those in need.

It is in times like this where the need to care for those who provide care is impossible to miss. It also reinforces that we cannot and should not overlook this need any day in which we are looking to provide the best in care for our communities, for the best in care starts with taking care of our own people. And this critical time calls on not just the organizations impacted to step up, but truly all of us with the means and/or desire to help to do the same.

Our colleagues at ACHE last week called for the support of an effort at the Texas Hospital Association, which has established the THA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund to help hospital employees who experienced significant property loss or damage due to Hurricane Harvey. There are also still significant needs for all those impacted by this event that can be supported via the American Red Cross and numerous other charitable opportunities.

These needs and the opportunities to help are now being elevated by the latest storm, Irma. With her eye already impacting many and set at one of the busiest hubs of healthcare activity in the United States, the need to care for one another and our call to take care of others is only further reinforced. This is not a time to sit idly by, but rather recognize that whether in the path of a literal storm or in the dynamic and chaotic environment that healthcare globally presents, we must never overlook the opportunity to care for those who care.

In the industry of caring for others that healthcare represents and the profession of patient experience that is emerging at its core, we must not forget that our primary means of delivering on our purpose, promise and commitments is through the very people who give of themselves every day to care for others. It is in times like this that we all must step up to care for and support them.

I invite you to join us in this effort, to support the affected members of our community and all those in need. For in healthcare, where we are human beings caring for human beings, and with an unwavering commitment to the human experience in healthcare (and beyond), we are called to act and help those in our communities who need us. There may be no greater purpose in our work, and no greater effort in ensuring we maintain the best in experience for all we care for and serve. Thank you for joining us in this effort as our deepest thoughts and warmest wishes go to all impacted by Harvey and those preparing for the arrival of Irma.

The following links will allow you to learn more about and contribute to the following causes and I invite you to share other means of support for these efforts via the comments section below:

THA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund

 American Red Cross

 

Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP 
President 
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  community  compassion  compassionate care  employee engagement  houston  hurricane harvey  hurricane relief 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

A New View: An Unwavering Commitment to the Human Experience in Healthcare

Posted By Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., Thursday, August 3, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

This month’s Patient Experience blog is an excerpt from the recently released research report, The State of Patient Experience 2017: A Return to Purpose.

We have always maintained that in patient experience there are no major secrets and with that believe strongly that the differentiator is not in the private processes you create or the proprietary models an organization might produce. Rather it is in the spirit of an open sharing of ideas through which all should play and in the distinction of a true commitment to execution through which you should compete. Experience will be and is already emerging as a key, if not the primary, differentiator in healthcare. The opportunity in front of each organization is how they will seize this moment.

For us at the Institute, part of this moment is to acknowledge that patient experience will forever be central to healthcare, but also as we learn from the community and from the very data in this year’s benchmarking study the healthcare experience we are speaking to reaches beyond patient experience itself. In an environment where we clearly base all work on human beings caring for human beings we are ultimately addressing and impacting the human experience in our midst. For this reason, we believe at The Beryl Institute as we remain committed to patient experience we must address the reality of the human experience that is central to healthcare overall.

With this, we have set a bold and fundamental desired impact for how we look to move into the years ahead. Our intended focus is simple, clear and true:

Changing healthcare by advancing an unwavering commitment to the human experience.

In doing this we honor the work each of you are doing and the reality of the healthcare world we find ourselves collectively creating around the globe. In a commitment to shift how healthcare works, we must dedicate ourselves to the broader human experience, honoring both the patient experience at its core and the experience of all driving and supporting healthcare’s efforts every day. With that we believe this commitment must be grounded on four key points:

  • Understanding experience is defined as the sum of all interactions shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.
  • Acknowledging experience (1) encompasses the critical elements of healthcare from quality, safety and service, to cost and population health issues that drive decisions, impact access and ensure equity and (2) reaches beyond the clinical encounter to all interactions one has with the healthcare system.
  • Recognizing that human experience reinforces the fundamental principle of partnership and is therefore inclusive of the experiences of those receiving and delivering care as well as all who support them.
  • Reinforcing that focused action on experience drives positive clinical outcomes, strong financial results, clear consumer loyalty, solid community reputation and broad staff and patient/family engagement.

This commitment has been spurred by all we have seen in this work and by all each member of the broader patient experience community has taught us. As we travel a journey to reinforce the critical role of the human experience in healthcare all that we learned in this year’s study takes on even greater relevance.

We must strive for what we believe is important collectively and then ensure we find ways in each and every one of our organizations to apply these principles, practices, ideas and findings for the good of all engaged. This is not idealism, but rather a practical reflection on where we are and what we can achieve. The state of patient experience is about much more than what we have or will do, to what we are and what we can become. That is the inspiration we glean from those that contributed their voices in this year’s study and the motivation we garner from working collectively as a community dedicated to the human experience in healthcare.

The state of patient experience is strong, your efforts and commitment are true and the possibilities of all we can accomplish as a result are yet to be realized. That makes this perhaps one of the most exciting times to be committed to this work. We look forward to traveling the next steps of this journey with each of you.

> Download the full State of Patient Experience 2017 research report


Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., CPXP

President
The Beryl Institute

Tags:  community of practice  culture  global healthcare  healthcare  Human Experience  Patient Experience 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 10
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >| 

Stay Connected

Sign up for our informative series of monthly e-newsletters from The Beryl Institute.

The Beryl Institute
1560 E. Southlake Blvd, Ste 231
Southlake, Texas 76092
1-866-488-2379
info@theberylinstitute.org