Healthcare leaders know that the patient experience (PX) matters—to patients, to providers, and to the bottom line. Face it; most providers chose healthcare as a career because they are mission driven; they are committed to helping others. Patients, of course, demand high quality and compassionate care. At the same time healthcare organizations are being evaluated—and reimbursed—based on their ability to deliver a high quality care experience.
The collision of these forces means that your patient experience journey needs to get on track and stay on track. Yet, what we are seeing as we talk with PXPs and observe numerous PX journeys, is frustration that they are not able to achieve results as quickly as they would like. Why? For a variety of reasons.
- First, the journey is about the culture. Your culture wasn’t shaped in a week, nor will it change in a week just because you’ve dedicated a position and other resources to the effort.
- Second, in many cases, staff are placed into PX roles and charged with leading the PX effort. Many of them are clinicians or front line staff who have excellent service skills but no leadership experience. On top of that, many are at, or close to the bottom of the org chart, making it difficult to move the culture without senior leadership fully behind them.
- Third, this is change management that requires firm understanding of the steps needed to move an organization. Culture often gets in the way of change.
- Fourth, a strategy for achieving desired results is often lacking, diverting focus to areas not integral to generating desired results. When you chase tactics without a clear vision and strategy, time and resources are wasted.
The role of the patient experience professional (PXP) is a new one for most organizations. Few healthcare organizations know exactly what to expect from the position; they just know they want results—and they want them fast! That’s a recipe for disaster and frustration on all sides—for the PXP, for the managers and staff, and, often, for the patient!
What to do? Healthcare leaders need to recognize the inherent challenges in developing a PXP role and provide the key resources, tools, and support that those in this role require to achieve desired results. Here are “Three Ways to Ensure the Success of Your Patient Experience Program:”
- Choose your PXP wisely. Yes, clinical experience can give credibility, but so do managerial and change management skills.
- If the person you choose for this role doesn’t have the managerial and change management skills required, commit to providing the resources to get them up to speed. They have to be able to influence others. Good intentions don’t generate results; managerial competencies do.
- Support the individual in this role in the development of a strategic PX plan, aligned with the overall plan of the organization—identify realistic desired outcomes and help to pave the way for the internal support the PXP will need to achieve those results.
And, we’ll add one more: take the time to celebrate successes, however small! This is difficult work, and often frustrating. You may make two steps forward and then take three steps back. Change is not a destination; it’s a process. By supporting the change from a senior leadership level you will ensure that your PXP gets the results you all want.
We know, though, that senior leaders are already being pulled in many different directions. Few have the time or energy to serve as a personal coach and mentor to the PXP. But we do! We can provide training, coaching, and support to your PXP—and a sounding board for senior leadership. We bring knowledge and experience based on helping other organizations audit, identify gaps, and institute plans for improving the patient experience.
How Baird Group can help. The PXP Advisor™ is a customized approach to supporting PXPs and their organizations. Face it. In most cases, PXPs are promoted from other, possibly clinical positions, and don’t have the managerial knowledge or experience to hit the ground running. Healthcare leaders don’t have the luxury of time—or the depth of experience in this area—to provide internal support. That’s where we come in. Our experience with countless hospitals and hundreds of PXP professionals around the country has provided us with both the background and the expertise to support your PX efforts. The course has been approved for 18 PXE credits. Learn more here.