Much of the meeting buzz focused on a handful of core themes, so I wanted to share my key takeaways as a first-time participant - and as a resource for those of you who weren’t able to make it to Denver this year.
Before I dive into the conference recap, here's a brief background on the photo (right) that I snapped during a slideshow presentation by HealthStream, Inc., one of the conference sponsors and a leading provider of workforce, patient experience and provider solutions for the healthcare industry.
This week, NarrativeDx and HealthStream announced a new partnership to help providers improve patient experience by bringing cutting-edge artificial intelligence and comment analysis into hospitals and clinics all across the country. In this particular slide, HealthStream highlights NarrativeDx's patient comment analysis expertise that they plan on incorporating into their solutions.
Insights from PX2017:
1. Everyone wants patient feedback, but they need a system in place to process and analyze the data
Across the variety of sessions I attended, administrators and providers shared stories about how they manage their patients’ feedback. The majority of hospitals turn to vendors to collect feedback — via surveys, rounding tools, bedside terminals, etc. — and then find creative ways to use the feedback. It is important to note that presenters were humble in acknowledging that their systems are still works in progress. Virginia Mason’s Chairman and CEO described their culture of accountability and transparency, which included lean management principles adapted from Toyota.
Several presenters detailed their internal systems for comment vetting, analysis and then action plans. Patient experience directors from Geisinger Health System developed a Provider Transparency tool; they shared that this project took one year from the executive sponsorship to pilot launch - and involved a combination of built and bought capabilities. Many presenters admitted on-stage that should they attempt these projects again, they would buy rather than build. However, they noted that the firsthand education their teams gained from building their tools was invaluable.
My question for you is: to be creative with your patient experience data, what tools and resources does your organization need?
2. Change management is tough...
Whether it's the initiation of an hourly nurse rounding protocol or the implementation of an EMR, changing the way things have been done for a while takes a concerted, coordinated effort on multiple fronts. I could tell that the patient experience community at this conference shares a deep understanding that the emergence of patient experience roles (and how they collaborate within their respective organizations) is a tangible example of change management.
A key theme of this year’s conference was service excellence as a key driver of patient experience improvement; meaning that hospital leaders have learned the value of fostering an employee engagement culture to nurture service excellence. A number of organizations chose leadership rounding as a means of bolstering employee engagement. The team from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital detailed the hurdles they met and overcame while developing their enterprise-wide leadership rounding model.
3. ...and process/workflow solutions are the answer
For Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, their main challenge was aligning hospital leadership with their staff to collaboratively identify and resolve problems. The sheer size and scope of their project required them to overcome the inevitable friction of organizational inertia. To combat this, their team created process improvement action plans to drive results.
Oftentimes, rounding feedback is boiled down to identify an issue (e.g., a loose ceiling tile) which can be tracked until it is resolved by the facility management. Additional measures of success outlined by them included improved patient satisfaction scores; reduced numbers of complaints; the volume of patients and employees interviewed; and the ability to create a “unit narrative.”
If your team were to take on a similar mission-driven project, how would you evaluate which tools to buy and which to build?
4. The patient experience IT space is getting deeper and wider
Every quarter, technology companies bring new solutions and tools to market. Well-established and legacy vendors are usually typecast as slow to innovate, but the successful ones partner with or acquire companies to diversify their product portfolio. Surveying and rounding tools are typically what patient experience teams tend to investigate first.
However, sophisticated teams want tools that provide actionable insights - and they've seen how training and educational interfaces as well as AI and analytics platforms have matured into real solutions for capable healthcare organizations. Generally speaking, interoperability between these tools remains a long shot unless partnerships circumvent that or if you have a strong IT team available. It's amazing to watch how quickly companies pivot to meet the changes of the patient experience ecosystem.
5. The patient experience community is real
As a first-time attendee, I felt a collegiate vibe throughout the conference. Conversation was easy, and stories were readily shared. I’ve attended conferences in the biotech, scholarly research, and health IT industries - and Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience conference seemed to have the best of all three areas.
As a preamble to Jason Wolf’s opening remarks, the “Patient Experience is... the Power of &” video set the stage for the unified conference theme: patient experience is the human experience. The participants I met at PX2017 came from institutions with an established Chief Experience Officer (CXO), formalized patient experience teams, and there were even some folks from healthcare organizations lacking a dedicated patient experience specialist on staff. I believe that mentorship and friendships sparked at this conference will undoubtedly grow the field of patient experience.
Asim Malik is the Director of Sales at NarrativeDx. Follow Asim on Twitter.
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