“Over 100 people turned out from 25 states and the UK for the most in depth set of presentations and panels on this newly emerging theme in healthcare improvement. This was the first gathering of healthcare practitioners, academic researchers, established and emerging firms doing cutting edge work and pioneers in the field patient satisfaction and experience.” -Francis Fullam, Conference, Co-Chair and Senior Director of Marketing Research, RUSH
As the healthcare business model shifts from fee-for-service to value-based care, the patient’s experience will become a key talking point that healthcare leaders cannot afford to ignore.
Francis kicked off the conference with a warm welcome and introduction to Dr. Irwin Press, Co-founder of Press Ganey Associates, who provided us with the key theme of the event － patient comments are indicators and are more telling than a checked box.
Smartphones have forever changed the way humans communicate, seek, and consume information and today’s patient is more discerning than ever. Previously, patient feedback wasn’t readily available but thanks to innovation in the healthcare space, providers now have access to more information from patients.
In order to drive improvements and patient centered care, healthcare providers have had to innovate from the inside out, because publicizing patient comments about doctors was almost unheard of years ago. To facilitate this shift, health systems had to establish a standard of internal transparency beforehand.
Chrissy Daniels, Press Ganey Partner, Medical Practice Solutions covered the importance of transparency in great detail and how it helps patients feel confident they’re choosing the right care provider.
When asked how systems address the extent to which non-native English speakers are represented in patient comments, we learned there are patient advocacy groups in place to seek out viewpoints from diverse populations.
Subsequent presentations examined the intricacies of the patient experience through the lens of research and best practices with some presenters coming from the UK.
Regardless of which country the presenters came from, the patient’s top priority remains the same －they want their providers to listen to them. As Dr. Jason A. Wolf, President of The Beryl Institute said, essentially, “ we’re all human beings in healthcare － human beings with a story to tell and their value diminishes by asking people to check boxes. Beyond fixing patients up, there is a huge implication in how people are treated which creates the stories that go beyond online reviews.”
Interestingly enough, regardless of which health system whether US or UK-based, there was a consensus that designs had to be functional, safe, and replicable.
On the authority of Francis who is also an Assistant Professor of Health Systems Management at Rush University Medical Center,
”We can demonstrate the great improvements in the patient experience since the advent of systematic patient surveys in the 1980’s. We know that patients have a better experience now but to make further improvements, better using the patients’ own words will be key to more improvements. The conference weaved together the trends of better using the comments we have now, eliciting more patient narratives, leveraging the potential of AI to help us sift through and find meaning in comments; more direct patient advice in healthcare design; and helping physicians develop better rapport with patients and reduce patient lawsuits. And we were able to introduce an international perspective with the most important trends in this field in the UK.”
From educating care staff to self-regulate and maintain a sense of professionalism to taking care of physicians to reduce burnout, these are things healthcare organizations can do to directly influence and improve the patient experience.
Due to its overwhelmingly positive reception from the attendees, the event culminated in the announcement of What Patients Say2 in 2019.