I just spent three days at the Beryl Institute conference and was surrounded by “my people” once again. Having been on this journey since 1993, I’ve watched the evolution of what is now known as the patient experience shift from a nice thing to do to a business imperative. I’m happy to report that, based on the energy, passion and innovation I witnessed: the patient experience is alive and well – and gaining traction. As the patient experience gains significance in the industry, it’s important to keep an eye on the numbers and an ear on the stories. Virtually every organization is setting goals for their patient satisfaction scores. At the same time; it’s vital to listen for and share, the stories.
The satisfaction data is a lagging metric. The HCAHPS you see online is from data received months ago. If you use a vendor to measure patient satisfaction, you can see the scores daily but still, those scores are from patients discharged weeks ago.
The Power of Story
Patient experience leaders are working incredibly hard to educate, inspire, and hold their organizations to a higher standard. Staff are becoming more engaged and trying to do their part in making a difference. And they need encouragement and positive reinforcement. If all they have is the survey score, they can become discouraged. That’s why it’s important to find the success stories today. They’re out there and need to be shared in order to fuel the soul of this important movement.
Leaders who are making rounds will hear from patients about the great things staff have done. These leaders will also witness interactions that are making a difference. When you share these stories in context of the organization’s values and standards, you reinforce the positive and fuel the spirit of service.
Many boards are focusing on the patient satisfaction scores monthly. It’s their job to know what is happening under value based purchasing. I highly recommend that boards be provided not only with the numbers, but with at least one story as well. It takes time to move the needle on scores, but wonderful things are happening right now and those stories must be told.
By all means keep your eye on the scores. But keep your ears on the stories.