Next week I have the honor of speaking at the PRSA Health Academy Conference with one of our clients, Cynthia Schmidt, the chief of marketing at VCU Health System. I’ve never spoken at a conference, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m a tad terrified. But, the good news is this topic is something I’m SO passionate about – the patient experience. In one of my recent posts, you learned about my own patient experience navigating the health care system. In this presentation, Cynthia and I will examine this topic from the role of a health care communicator. How can we help our institutions improve the experience for their patients and ultimately improve their HCAHPS scores? If you are attending PRSA Health Academy, I hope you’ll stop by our breakout session, “More Than a Score: How Employee Engagement Makes HCAHPS Matter.” If you aren’t, here are some of the high level thoughts:
- To truly engage your staff in service improvements and drive action, they have to see HCAHPS as more than a score that simply affects reimbursement. For some, that may be enough of a reason to care, but others will need more. Make it personal by connecting those numbers to the patients.
- The patient experience really comes from the core of your organization. It reflects who you are in your soul. If you have happy and engaged employees, chances are that will be reflected in your scores. If your staff feels overworked and under-appreciated, that will likely come through as well. Before you start adding rules and regulations, take an honest look inside your organization and see if there are internal or leadership changes that if made could trickle into your overall experience.
- Many health care organizations consider incentives to be cheap forms of bribery. They are not! Human behavior research tells us that incentives work. Do not be afraid to use them on occasion to help drive engagement. It’s also a great way to show your employees how much you value and appreciate them.
- In order to make patient experience improvements stick and not just appear as a flavor of the month tactic, you must weave the measures into the fabric of your organization and create a sustainable model. We’ll discuss ways to do this in our presentation.
If your organization has engaged in any patient experience improvement initiatives, let me know in the comments. You never know… it could make its way into our presentation. Hope to see you in Cleveland!