Archive for December, 2012

Creating Your Patient Experience Program: Where to Begin

Posted on December 27, 2012. Filed under: Communication, HCAHPS, Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

Christy Whipple

“…Weave The Patient Experience into the very fabric of your organization’s culture.”

building-a-planThere are plenty of ways to make patient experience more than just another initiative, according to a recent article in HealthLeaders Media. “..To weave it into the very fabric of your organization’s culture, and ultimately to reap the rewards of a healthier bottom line and a reputation that people will talk about with anyone who will listen.”

Does Your Staff “Get It?”
The HealthLeaders article further states that about 95% of the hospitals are current with the latest buzzwords. When asked about ‘patient experience,’ they’ve got it. ‘Service excellence?’ They’ve got it. But Dr. Gnida asks, “Do they really? When we talk to managers who are writing action plans   or directors who are frustrated that they can’t move their scores or grow   their market, it turns out that they’re not really doing service excellence work, which is creating remarkable experiences. Usually they’re doing service   recovery work instead. I don’t want to denigrate service recovery, but it’s a whole other strategy-it’s not patient experience.”

Where Should You Begin?
How will you stay engaged and aligned? How will you know whether the activities are improving the patient experience? Start with a performance analysis accounting for the HCAHPS metrics. This can help an organization understand the current performance along each of these measurements. Deficiencies in any of these areas provide insight on areas to focus improvement efforts. These measures also provide a baseline and a framework for ongoing assessment of the organization’s progress.

Developing a Plan
An execution plan should mimic a road map. It should include the high level work plan, goals, projected timeline, estimated resources and additional support areas required to implement the road map. Throughout implementation and thereafter, the organization can return to the original analysis metrics to assess its performance. This analysis will provide ongoing guidance for prioritizing the activities that may have a significant impact on the Patient’s Experience.

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Special Edition Newsletter: Creating Dynamic Patient Experience Initiatives

Posted on December 27, 2012. Filed under: Communication, Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

 

Your Patient Experience Program: Where to Begin
“…Weave The Patient Experience into the very fabric of your organization’s culture.”

There are plenty of ways to make patient experience more than just another initiative, according to a recent article in HealthLeaders Media. “..To weave it into the very fabric of your organization’s culture, and ultimately to reap the rewards of a healthier bottom line and a reputation that people will talk about with anyone who will listen.”

Does Your Staff “Get It?”
The HealthLeaders article further states that about 95% of the hospitals are current with the latest buzzwords. When asked about ‘patient experience,’ they’ve got it. ‘Service excellence?’ They’ve got it. But Dr. Gnida asks, “Do they really? When we talk to managers who are writing action plans   or directors who are frustrated that they can’t move their scores or grow   their market, it turns out that they’re not really doing service excellence work, which is creating remarkable experiences. Usually they’re doing service   recovery work instead. I don’t want to denigrate service recovery, but it’s a whole other strategy-it’s not patient experience.”

Where Should You Begin? 
How will you stay engaged and aligned? How will you know whether the activities are improving the patient experience? Start with a performance analysis accounting for the HCAHPS metrics. This can help an organization understand the current performance along each of these measurements. Deficiencies in any of these areas provide insight on areas to focus improvement efforts. These measures also provide a baseline and a framework for ongoing assessment of the organization’s progress.

Developing a Plan
An execution plan should mimic a road map. It should include the high level work plan, goals, projected timeline, estimated resources and additional support areas required to implement the road map. Throughout implementation and thereafter, the organization can return to the original analysis metrics to assess its performance. This analysis will provide ongoing guidance for prioritizing the activities that may have a significant impact on the Patient’s Experience.

Communication: A Top Priority

Patient communication symbolizes the largest segment of the HCAHPS survey. Half of the 18 core measures directly relate to the patients’ perception of the interactions with nurses, doctors and hospital staff. These questions ask   patients how closely clinicians listened to their concerns and whether they clearly understood the explanations or directions they received.

To standardize the way clinicians interact with patients and their families, many hospitals are training their employees to use scripted communication tools and keywords. Some compare this attention to that given by a waiter at a 5 star restaurant. This service is believed to improve patient perspectives of the care they receive. It is also thought that it might relax tense patients during times of anxiety.Even body language can play a role. Doctors who sit during consultations are   perceived by patients to have spent twice as much time with them as those who stand during visits, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

 

Employee Participation
Compassion, flexibility, multi-tasking, and adaptability are important behaviors to evaluate when considering HCAHPS, especially when it comes to nursing candidates. Hospitals with structured performance management processes maintain higher HCAHPS survey scores. It is important employees understand that their performance directly influences the patients’ experience, which determines HCAHPS scores. In order to do that, employees need to be educated on HCAHPS. Consider the following:

  •   Integrate HCAHPS education into your orientation process
  •   Make HCAHPS training materials easily accessible online
  •   Hold employees accountable for HCAHPS through performance evaluations focusing on patient service

Have managers sit down with the employee and create individual goals that align with the hospital’s main objective – to increase patient satisfaction. Once the   goals are set, the next step is to use performance appraisals to measure whether or not the employee actually met their goals. This way, an employee can see how they contribute directly to the organization’s success. By tying HCAHPS metrics to performance evaluations, HCAHPS will become important to everyone at your organization.

 

Get Started With a *FREE* Webinar!
Are your hospital’s HCAHPS scores less than ideal? Are you missing out on valuable reimbursements? Is patient perception out of line with your patient experience efforts? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions,This is one webinar you can’t afford to miss!

Free Educational Webinar!
“The Patient Experience Puzzle” will provide insight, identify impact points and deliver a go-forward strategy to improve the Patient Experience.

Enjoy a Starbucks Coffee Break – It’s on Us!
Introcomm is happy to treat you to a delicious Starbucks treat   to thank you for scheduling a webinar. Sit back, relax and enjoy a hot cup of coffee as we present our educational webinar.*

Scheduling is Easy!
Simply indicate the date and time you would like to engage in the webinar, and one of our experts will be happy to accommodate your schedule. connect@introcomm.com

* A five dollar Starbucks eCard will be emailed upon completion of the 5 question survey

 

 

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A Letter to Dr. Santa

Posted on December 19, 2012. Filed under: Communication, HCAHPS, Introcomm Services, Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple, Readmission |

  Dear Dr. Santa,

  Please bring us happy and engaged patients,
  higher HCAHPS scores, awesome communications tools,
  lower readmission rates and higher reimbursements.

  Sincerely,
  Holly Jingle
  Director of Patient Experience
  North Pole General Hospital

.
If these items are on your wish list, this is one webinar you can’t afford to miss! 

Are your hospital’s HCAHPS scores less than ideal? Are you missing out on valuable reimbursements? Is patient perception out of line with your patient experience efforts? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, let us share this beneficial information with you. 

Free Educational Webinar!
The experts of Introcomm would like to engage you in a complimentary, one-on-one, educational webinar: “The Patient Experience Puzzle.” Our goal is to provide insight, identify impact points and deliver a go-forward strategy to improve the Patient Experience. This could prove to be the best 20 minute investment you’ll make this year!

Enjoy a Starbucks Coffee Break – It’s on Us!
Introcomm is happy to treat you to a delicious Starbucks treat to thank you for scheduling a webinar. Sit back, relax and enjoy a hot cup of holiday coffee as we present our educational webinar.*

health-care computerScheduling is Easy!
We know that everyone has hectic schedules, especially around the holidays. So, we’re making it easy. Simply indicate the date and time you would like to engage in the webinar, and one of our experts will be happy to accommodate your schedule. Click Here

* A five dollar Starbucks eCard will be emailed to attendees upon completion of the 5 question survey accompanying webinar confirmation

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Welcome Community Health Westview Hospital

Posted on December 18, 2012. Filed under: Introcomm Services, Post By Dave Kohl | Tags: |

Welcome Community Health Westview Hospital
Dave Kohl

Introcomm would like to welcome the latest partner in patient experience enhancement: “Community Health Westview Hospital”! Welcome to the Introcomm Family! We first met Sue Yeskie, VP of Marketing and Communications at Community Health Westview Hospital, during the Fall Indiana Hospital Marketing and Public Relations Society Conference at Reid Hospital. She asked us to help her with their admissions and discharge process. Our first step was a comprehensive evaluation, including a site visit at Community Health Westview Hospital. We conducted thorough interviews regarding their HCAHPS concerns, patient experience initiatives and current communication tactics. We did a review of the current patient handbook used at Westview Hospital. With this information, we developed a solid plan to address the HCAHPS pain points at Westview Hospital.

To get a more detailed description of how we came up with our solutions to help Community Health Westview Hospital and to schedule a site visit at your hospital, please contact me at davekohl@introcomm.com and we can talk about how we can help you improve your HCAHPS scores and enhance your patient experience.

 

Dave has been working with numerous hospitals for over 3 years improving the patient experience and enhancing HCAHPS scores by conducting in-depth research and interviews with key hospital personnel and patient advocacy groups. After gathering valuable information from the hospitals, Dave provide detailed solutions that are easy to implement with little or no cost. Dave has over 25 years’ experience in providing innovative solutions to all types of customer related problems and is highly successful in improving customer relations in a variety industries.

Dave has been working with numerous hospitals for over 3 years improving the patient experience and enhancing HCAHPS scores by conducting in-depth research and interviews with key hospital personnel and patient advocacy groups. After gathering valuable information from the hospitals, Dave provide detailed solutions that are easy to implement with little or no cost. Dave has over 25 years’ experience in providing innovative solutions to all types of customer related problems and is highly successful in improving customer relations in a variety industries.

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Technology and the Patient Experience

Posted on December 12, 2012. Filed under: Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

Technology is not a substitute for the personal connection that is at the core of the healthcare profession

Christy Whipple

doctor-computer-370x229

In the world of modern medicine, technology abounds. The choices for medical technology are unprecedented and rising at an ever increasing rate. Technology allows labs to be reviewed together, medications to be verified, and e-prescriptions to be generated. Medical staff can share messages regarding a patient’s care and a clear treatment plan can be formulated.


Technology Causes Patients to Perceive a Communication Disconnect         

Although technology can be utilized as a very valuable resource, it can have extremely negative effects on patient perception; meaning patient experience, which will ultimately affect HCAHPS scores, reimbursements and patient referrals. Studies have shown that when a doctor enters an exam room, remains standing, stares at the patient’s chart, makes no eye contact, and spends 10 minutes with the patient, he will state, “The doctor didn’t spend enough time with me.” The same can be said for medical staff who are engrossed in electronic medical records (In fact, most patients have a more negative opinion of doctors who focus their time on on-site computers and digital equipment than old fashioned charts). But if the doctor comes in to the room, puts the chart down, sits down and engages in a conversation with the patient, those same 10 minutes will be perceived as “enough time” during the visit.

Technology Enhances Patient Education and Understanding

An amazing tool, the internet provides limitless resources of medical information; accurate, inaccurate, fraudulent information, cutting-edge data, and trusted resources. Many, many patients have researched their symptoms long before their hospital stay and have a certain understanding of their medical care. Many patients aren’t necessarily expecting their healthcare providers to share new and unique information, they are looking for meaning; interpretation.  In many cases, the patient is equipped for a successful recovery and positive patient experience because he already has an understanding of the healing process.

Technology and Face-to-Face Communication must work Together

It is possible to have both high-touch and high-tech health care. The tools that are available are powerful resources for high quality health care, but we must remember that they are not a substitute for the human-to-human connection that is at the core of the healthcare profession. Technology is a resource, a compliment to face-to-face interaction and quality care.

Introcomm provides custom communications solutions for the admissions and discharge processes. To learn more about how Introcomm can assist your hospital with HCAHPS, patient experience, and improved communations (with little to no additional out of pocket expense), please contact us today to schedule our complimentary educational webinar.

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High Mortality Rates Caused by Poor Communication

Posted on December 12, 2012. Filed under: Communication, Post By Christy Whipple |

nurseGood medical care depends upon effective communication between patients and providers.

According to an Institute of Medicine report, an alarming 44,000 to 98,000 patients die each year in the United States as a result of preventable medical errors in the inpatient setting. Unfortunately, patient safety remains at sub-optimal levels, due in large part to ineffective communication between patients and healthcare staff.

Consequences of Poor Communication

Good medical care depends upon effective communication between patients and providers. Ineffective communication can lead to improper diagnosis and delayed or improper medical treatment. In an analysis of more than 3,000 sentinel events, the Joint Commission found that nearly two-thirds (approximately 65 percent) were caused by poor communication.

Solutions for Improving Communication

The Joint Commission recommends developing suitable communication materials, brochures, booklets, and unpretentious consent forms that use simple text, large print, and picture symbols. Translate forms and instructional materials into other languages. The Joint Commission also states that C-level professionals can take the lead in promoting effective communication between patients and hospital staff in meaningful and effective ways that ensure respect for individual differences.

According to the Institute of Medicine, health care organizations need to develop a “culture of safety” so that personnel and processes focus on improving reliability and safety. However, despite good intentions and some improvements, many institutions still do not have a culture of safety.

Effective communication with persons who have limited English proficiency, as well as persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, often requires interpreters or other services. Many hospitals are actively taking steps to address these needs. However, hospitals face increasing challenges to meet the communication needs of an increasingly diverse population.

Resources and Implementation

The Joint Commission offers a tool titled Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals. It is a resource to help health care providers learn to communicate with patients so that each understands the other, regardless of cultural or linguistic differences, sensory impairments, or limitations on ability to communicate via natural speech.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, which encourages the government, health care providers, and others to improve how health information is shared and used.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has established health literacy as a universal precaution as a way to minimize risks to patients. The health care reform law includes provisions regarding the use of plain language and culturally appropriate language in health-related information about insurance and other health issues.

Introcomm offers an innovative communication tool designed to connect patients with their healthcare provider. This comprehensive tool kit allows patients to record symptoms, medications and other important information. The solution also guides the patient to ask channeled questions about their care and to provide beneficial information to their medical caregiver.

Regardless of practice setting or client population, clinicians need to improve how they-and their colleagues-communicate with patients. Besides being ethical and appropriate, patient-centered communication is also a requirement under new and pending laws, regulations, and standards

Introcomm provides custom communications solutions for the admissions and discharge processes. To learn more about how Introcomm can assist your hospital with HCAHPS, patient experience, and improved communations (with little to no additional out of pocket expense), please contact us today to schedule our complimentary educational webinar.

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