About the Speaker:
Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D. is a passionate champion for positive patient experience, organizational culture & high-performance healthcare. Dr. Wolf is the President of The Beryl Institute and founding editor of the Patient Experience Journal.
Patient Experience As Outlined by The Beryl Institute
The sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care. Those four aspects of the definition, the idea that it’s based on interactions. That it’s grounded on all touchpoints across the continuum and also in the spaces in-between. That it is ultimately the perceptions that patients, families, and their support network are the indicators of success in experience and are all critical elements.
While it is a simple phrase, there’s a great deal of complexity involved. It does bring us back to the fact that in healthcare we’re in the business of humans being caring for human beings. Therefore, if we can’t get the interaction part right i.e. personal interaction or clinical interaction we can never deliver on experience promised in the kind of organizations that we build.
What we mean by culture is how we deliver all those interactions. We must get all those elements right. It’s not simply just getting our checklists right or our clinical protocols correct. It’s about building a systemic solution that drives lasting, sustained outcomes and positive experiences for everyone involved in the healthcare encounter.
Discussing Barriers That Hinders Achieving Patient-Centered Care
The barriers to experiencing excellence are interesting. We can go with what the data says, which people always say that it’s time, leadership isn’t focused, there are too many priorities, etc. I think that probably the biggest barrier right now is that people are still trying to get their arms around what it is. All too often we have tried to overapply tactics to what is a systemic issue.
I believe that probably one of the bigger barriers to truly providing the most positive experience, the idea of engaging people from patients and families to having patient-centric principles to thinking about patient activation—all the terminologies that we use. We’ve separated all these pieces and instead not thinking about the systemic solution that as a human being in healthcare delivering care to human beings what is that experience we believe people deserve.
Stepping back and thinking about the broader conversation of what experience can be is one of the greatest means by which we can overcome that barrier. I do think we get stuck in the mechanisms of healthcare all too often. Thinking about the system that we create to deliver on the process and not think about the broader strategic impact that we hope to have. That does get in the way of our capacity to ultimately provide the best experience.
Thoughts On Technology & Its Capabilities In Improving Care Quality, Patient Safety, Patient Education, Diagnostic, Clinician Collaboration etc.
Technology is the key lever, it’s one of the strategic filters of experience. In several ways is how we now communicate with people. It’s how we now share information. It’s how we can create more efficient and expedient processes. We would be remiss if we didn’t understand that there’s a technology aspect to providing better experience and better outcomes but it’s not technology for technology sake.
When we begin to think about building an experience that impacts people, its the core ideas of the definition. It is then the resources that you can put in place to ensure the best in experience. If we realize that technology is a tool in our tool bag in terms of ensuring that we can elevate experience and we use it in that way with the right strategic lens, I think it does have a significant impact.
The application of technology for technology’s sake I think we’ve seen that not necessarily work to our advantage and sometimes it can even become a burden on people’s capacity to provide experience well.
Framing The Future of Healthcare; The Importance Of Shifting Organizational Culture To Improve Patients Perception Of Care
Where healthcare is going is to this idea of a commitment to the human experience of balancing the patient and family outcomes with ensuring a good caregiver provider experience. Creating healthy folks in delivering care, ultimately ensures better outcomes for those that healthcare delivers care for. However, they have to do that in partnership.
The ability to engage in where healthcare is going, is going to be centered on this idea of partnership, co-design and co- production, engaging all voices. And, not only the creation of solutions but in the next steps forward in terms of designing what healthcare can and should be. Healthcare has got to challenge itself a bit.
I would even be so bold to say, the word and the phrase patient centric is a provider centric language. We are saying that we believe from healthcare that patients should be at the center of care. I had a very wise patient say to me when I was speaking in Australia, “nobody asked me if I wanted to be in the center. Do we always want to be there?” Not to simmer from that, I think that the evolution that we’ve heard in healthcare–from doing to patients to doing for patients, to doing with patients.
We can’t see everything as linear in that way. There are moments where I think as patients and family members we know things are going to be done to us or for us, not always with us. We have to find that ability to balance between those things and create the right kind of conversations that we can co-create the future of healthcare.
The Role Of The Beryl Institute In Setting The Stage For Improving The Patient Experience
The role that The Beryl Institute has is to serve as a neutral ground for this conversation. To push the boundaries of the discussion, to help elevate the thinking and create a safe space for people to share the greatest ideas and almost circle around failures and find means for improvement. I hope that we continue to push the experience story, not as a nice thing that healthcare has to do.
We’ve always said that we believe if you think about healthcare from an integrated perspective, if you think about experience from an integrated perspective, then it is about quality, safety, service, cost, access etc. For us it is about continuing to elevate the integrated perspective, that all that we do in healthcare ultimately contributes to the experience people have. That in fact whether we plan for it or not people are having an experience in healthcare today. It calls on healthcare leaders to realize that they can create that experience or just leave it to chance.
For us to instill a sense of strategic imperative that this isn’t about satisfaction, it’s not about making people happy, but its about driving the outcomes that we believe healthcare is capable of. That the people that are experiencing healthcare deserve. That will continue to be our rally and cry. That’s the opportunity we have and it’s the conversation we need to stay in together in terms of driving the right outcomes for healthcare today and well into the future.
Empathy In The Patient Experience
We researched empathy, compassion, all these kinds of things. We asked consumers, to what extent empathy and compassion was important to them. I was surprised, it came down the list. I think it’s because, empathy is a healthcare centric language. A typical patient and family member out there knows what they want to see. They want to feel listened to them want to feel like they are being spoken to in a way they understand etc. Those were the things they elevated in terms of importance.
For me the lens is not to get stuck in what empathy is but to think about what it looks like in action. I’m probably less concerned about how we define empathy. How we elevate empathy and the actions that we take to ensure that patients, family members and those that are delivering care feel heard, are communicated to effectively, are engaged in ways that matters to them, then they feel what we believe empathy is.
All those things without having to put a label on it in a way that is about us doing something but more so about engaging the folks in care themselves. We do amplify empathy; we do elevate the delivery of compassion by moving beyond the words to the actions. Ensuring that we engage people in those ways, that they feel as if their experiencing the things that matter to them not words that we think equate to that.
People must know that The Beryl Institute is a name. We’ve been very clear that it’s not and has never been about The Beryl Institute, or Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., CPXP it’s about the conversation and the community that we bring together. To be able to participate in a way that we think is changing healthcare. We’re a community of practice, our job is to catalyze and get out of the way and ensure that conversations like this can thrive. Anybody that’s thinking about contributing to this kind of dialogue and elevating their contribution to healthcare that needs to happen.
Research Study Mentioned