Just days ago, CMS released the 5-star rating system for patient satisfaction. This simplified means of reporting HCAHPS is something the public easily understands. At the same time, many healthcare leaders are having trouble understanding what lies beneath their scores. Let me tell you. It’s culture. Period.
A great culture—one that fosters high employee engagement and patient satisfaction is one that emerges and thrives under great leadership. The real secret to the five star organization starts and ends with leadership’s commitment to a service-centered culture. Here are a few questions that will tell you if you are headed in the right direction.
- Are service excellence and the patient experience top priorities in your organization? The litmus test is whether or not they are embedded in the strategic plan with resources allocated in the budget and staffing plan. If not, you’re missing a vital element. Is it lip service or a real priority?
- Are all leaders committed and contributing to the patient experience? Are there specific hiring, training, and coaching practices in place? Are they walking the walk and talking the talk? If not, your culture won’t nurture a 5-star environment. Are managers and directors equipped to coach, mentor, model, and manage for service behaviors? If not, your leaders may not be prepared to take the organization to a 5-star level.
- Do you have specific leadership practices in place with 100% accountability? Rounding, recognition, attention to metrics, and regular communication practices are just a few of the processes that must be in place and practiced consistently. Without accountability for consistently executing on these, you’re missing key practices.
- Is every employee connected to purpose? Do they see how they can make a difference and why their role matters for the greater good?
- Lastly, is there passion for excellence? Do you share stories at meetings and in written communication that exemplify great service, compassion, and dedication? Are you hiring for passion and comfortable expressing your passion for excellence? Passion is the catalyst that will boost all the other efforts. When combined with all of the above, great things happen.
It’s been more than two decades since I first started researching and speaking on the subject of the patient experience. During this time I have refined a model for guiding organizations in transforming culture and shaping the patient experience. I can say with absolute certainty that those organizations with solid, committed leadership earn higher ratings. Those that stay the course regardless of competing priorities will rise to the top.
If you are struggling to move your scores and don’t know why you aren’t gaining traction, perhaps you need a fresh pair of eyes to evaluate your culture, give you honest feedback, and help you make the right strategic moves. Baird Group can help diagnose the current reality and form strategies and actions to move you up in the ratings.