If you really want to improve the patient experience throughout an organization, the culture must be one of continuous improvement. When I say continuous improvement, I’m not talking only about focusing on processes. I’m talking about the need for fostering a culture of feedback. This can be the element that makes or breaks your progress in improving the patient experience with sustainable results.
We spend a lot of time and energy teaching coaching skills to leaders and physician shadowers/coaches, but the truth is, if people within the organization don’t have a willingness to hear feedback and take constructive coaching, you won’t be able to make the necessary changes. This comes down to humility on the part of every individual. Having a willingness to humbly receive suggestions for personal improvement will have a transformative effect on the individual and, ultimately, the organization.
There is an art and a science to creating a workforce comprised of such humble individuals. It takes a combination of hiring practices combined with coaching and reinforcement. If during the hiring practice you can assess a willingness to accept feedback, you’ll have insight into whether or not an individual is coachable. The other crucial element is working with individuals on how to be the gracious recipient of feedback. I don’t think this part is taught in “Employee 101,” but it should be. Not all feedback offered by leaders is taken in the spirit in which it is intended. If it were, we’d be a lot closer to our patient experience goals. It might be worthwhile to coach people on how to receive feedback before coaching them on necessary behavior changes. It could make the whole process more fulfilling for both the coach and the coachee.