I really love this time of year. The lull that we have around the holidays gives me the chance to reflect on the previous year and set my sights on the great opportunities that lie in the year ahead. Plus, there’s something so refreshing about having a whole year spread out before me with nothing but possibilities! January is a time for setting goals for myself and for my business. It gives me direction and helps me stay aligned with my mission and vision (I have a personal mission and vision as well as for my business.).
This year, I wasted no time in setting clear and measurable goals for 2012 and communicating those goals to my team members. After all, if they all know the goals, they’ll be in a much better position to contribute to the achievements.
The year 2012 is pivotal in healthcare as value-based purchasing takes hold and incentive payments become a reality. I’m sensing a bit of panic as hospital leaders estimate what their HCAHPS patient satisfaction rates will mean in terms of reimbursement. We’re down to the 11th hour and organizations that haven’t moved the HCAHPS bar are panicking.
This is the perfect time to re-evaluate goals and your strategies related to service excellence. For years, I have observed organizations that continue to measure satisfaction without taking real and sustainable actions. They hope that the scores will go up by paying attention to them. I can hope that my weight will go down just from stepping on the scale, but that little fantasy never comes true either. My weight on the scale is a reflection of my past decisions and behaviors. Your patient satisfaction scores are the same. They are a reflection of the past. They can tell you where you are today but won’t change by themselves. You need to take action and stay the course.
I recently asked senior leadership team members what their patient experience goals are and my question was met with silence and nervous glances. The CEO finally spoke up and said, “In the past, we’ve tried lots of different things and nothing sticks.” Did they try things, or did they implement them? Did they measure results and evaluate them? We can all set goals on paper, but the real winners are those that stay the course and cross the finish line.
What are your patient satisfaction goals for 2012? My advice is to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) now, articulate your strategy, and gain the support of the movers and shakers who can help implement tactics and hold others accountable. From there, measure results, adjust as needed, and never take your eye off the ball. Don’t resolve to “hope” for the best or just “try.” Resolve to make it happen!
Here’s to a fabulous, productive 2012! Let’s get out there and make a real difference for our patients.