Mapping the Experience Journey at UCHealth

10.25.2018 • Senem Guney, PhD, CPXP




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Patrick Kneeland, MD is the Executive Medical Director for Patient and Provider Experience at UCHealth. Dr. Kneeland is an industry leader, who has continuously expressed the importance of methods and measures outside of CAHPS to understand and act on patient voices. A common passion for learning from patients’ and clinical staff’s verbatim feedback to improve care experiences brought us together in collaborative thought leadership, including a presentation last year at PX2018.


Here are some highlights from an experience-based co-design (EBCD) project that Dr. Kneeland led at UCHealth:

In an effort to engage in methods alternative to HCAHPS surveys for the evaluation of experiences in acute care, Dr. Kneeland and his research team conducted an EBCD study in an 18-bed med-surg unit at UCHealth. They chose this unit as the study site because patients were being admitted into this unit from multiple service lines. This created an interesting cultural complexity in this unit, including the opportunity to improve HCAHPS scores. The objective of the intervention was to find if and how performance on care experiences could be defined in professional values and metrics beyond HCAHPS scores. The leading question of the study was “If 100% of nurses, physicians, and staff were proud every day to work in this unit, what would it look like?”

Then began the qualitative data collection - interviews and observations, which centered around the perspectives of the participants - patient and care provider alike - in the med-surg unit. The research team collected and analyzed volumes of qualitative data. The insights that emerged from the analysis of these qualitative data provided the evidence basis for the interdisciplinary design day, where the team generated “Always Event Prototypes” for the flow of patient-provider interactions in the care unit.

After iterative sessions of “Always Event Prototypes” on the unit, the measurable outcomes were:

1) An increase in HCAHPS scores

2) An increase in staff engagement

3) A decrease in staff turnover

These are the results that all patient experience leaders continuously work to achieve. Dr. Kneeland and his team’s study is another testament to the importance of leveraging qualitative data in patient experience improvement; that is, learning from patients’ and staff members’ own words about care experiences. This source of data, which is rich with insights, has not been traditionally on the forefront of metrics and measurement. When patient experience leaders are able to put qualitative data into action, they see continuous improvement in all the metrics they track in all the areas that matter to the delivery of patient-centered care with excellent experiences.


For a detailed overview of Dr. Kneeland’s intervention and its results, please check out our webinar.


Senem Guney, PhD, CPXP

Senem Guney, PhD, CPXP

Founder and Chief Patient Experience Officer, NarrativeDx

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