Healthcare Culture Change Whitepaper: Impact of Patient ‘I Wants’ in Healthcare
Rachel Dreyfus joins The Petrova Experience with a guest blog about healthcare customer experience.
A culture of positive patient experience is increasingly important in Healthcare, affecting patient outcomes and satisfaction. Yet in America, this industry is challenged with time-consuming processes and requirements coupled with high employee turnover that consumes the precious time doctors and staff spend face to face with patients. Our client, a major health insurance provider, wanted to improve engagement of their healthcare partners’ workforce. A workshop to bring teams together and rejuvenate worker engagement seemed to have obvious benefits. Help Me Health® was chosen for its approach which immerses employees in the patient experience with interactive tools, gamification and energetic moderators. The project engaged Help Me Health to train 500 doctors and staff using the Help Me Health workshop, Patient I Wants© and to determine if this training had an impact on patient-focused attitudes and behaviors of attendees.
Our client needed a way to measure the impact of the Patient I Wants©; however, the attendees came from a diverse group of hospitals, clinics and private practice offices with no common operational measurements to compare and trend across time periods. CG-CAHPS surveys were conducted infrequently and the time lag between patient appointment and survey response made this tool less than helpful to measure the impact of the workshop. The objective was to measure the ability of the Patient I Wants© workshop to improve employee awareness of factors that impact patient experience and provoke ideas and actions to improve patient experience across the healthcare system, both individual staff and teams.
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Summary of Methodology
Help Me Health partnered with Dreyfus Advisors to design the impact measurement research approach and implement the program. We designed an approach to compare attitudes and behaviors of a “Test” group of employees who attended the workshop to a matched “Control” group of employees who did not attend.
The research was conducted in two phases:
- A quantitative survey, emailed to workshop attendees and a matched control group of non-attendees. The survey measured attitudes about the employees’ role in the patient experience and sense of responsibility to provide patient-centered care across the system. We measured the proportion of employees who could name a specific idea to improve patient care, as evidenced by implementation of those ideas. Keeping the survey short and easy to complete yielded a very strong response rate.
- Individual interviews of a qualitative group of ten (10) employees, conducted by an independent moderator, across a variety of roles, practice types and locations added dimension and an understanding of “how” the ideas had originated, the motivations and barriers to implementing these ideas, and whether the workshop played any part.
Summary of Findings
Our learnings included some surprises. Contrary to our hypothesis, the test and control groups exhibited little difference in having had ideas to improve the
patient experience. Equal proportions of the test and control groups had ideas and equal proportions “strongly agreed” with attitudes that align with good care and empathy for patients.
Where the rubber hits the road: at the pulse of the relationship with patients
- The strongest results came from the system of care that trained all of its doctors and staff
Of the ideas implemented the majority were process improvement ideas
Participants implemented more ideas than non-participants
- The patient-focused ideas and the comparative implementation rates showed a significant rise in the workshop attendee group. The proportion of workshop attendees who could describe a specific idea was 14 percentage points higher than the non-attendees. And the proportion of ideas that mentioned the word “Patient” was 23 percentage points higher compared non-attendees.
Participants implemented patient experience improvement ideas more often than non-participants. Also, importantly, the proportion who reported implementing specific ideas in the test group (participants) was more than 10 percentage points higher vs. control group (Did not participate), a statistically significant difference. The strongest results were evident in the practice that trained its entire workforce.
Participants described an “awakening”. The individual interviews conducted post-workshop explained the dynamics at work. Ideas to improve patient experiences arise frequently among healthcare workers in the course of their jobs – after all, they are trained professionals with years of experience. They care deeply about patients and want to provide good care. However, many of their ideas get lost in the urgency of getting the day’s work done or in office dynamics that don’t support change. The interactivity and focused discussions provided by the workshop, along with real-life stories from the patients’ perspectives, sparked dormant ideas. Patient I Wants© ignited a sense of importance to implementing their ideas and motivated participants to put in the extra effort and teamwork an implementation would require.
Of the ideas implemented, the majority was in the process improvement category. These process improvements, if monitored and measured, can provide additional insight into the impact of Patient I Wants©.
Some patient improvement ideas were “low-hanging fruit” such as ideas that improve the content in instructional brochures given to patients and providing clear verbal instructions when giving the brochures to patients. Another example: a workshop participant overhauled the documentation that lists policies. The policies documentation now provides the rationale for the policies. Many of the patient improvement ideas generated and implemented by workshop participants addressed key metrics that are negatively effecting CG- CAHPS scores: access to care, communications and office staff. It is expected that improvements in these metrics will lift CG-CAHPS scores in the future and, as such, maintain reimbursement rates.
The Chain Reaction
Increasing patient satisfaction scores requires many aspects of the healthcare system to improve. One aspect that cannot be overlooked is engaging doctors and staff in improving patient experiences at the pulse of the relationship.
Patient I Wants© triggers this chain reaction.
With these insights, our client has confidence in the impact of Patient I Wants©. They gained an understanding of the chain reaction ignited by the workshop and has a case to continue the investment.
About Help Me Health®, LLC
Help Me Health® transforms how healthcare employees deliver patient experiences to achieve better outcomes and a better bottom line. We do this by designing and delivering training programs that engage healthcare employees in solving patient experience problems within their healthcare setting. To learn more about Patient I Wants© please contact us.
About Rachel Dreyfus
Rachel Dreyfus is an Accenture-trained market research advisor solving strategic challenges through consumer insights. She has led market research initiatives at Fortune 100 and strategic consulting firms.
Her expert focus is engaging executives in their customers’ unmet needs to identify marketplace “white space” or growth opportunities. Approaches include Customer Journey Mapping, Ideal Design, and application of behavioral economics. Recent clients include Fortune 100 brands across industries experiencing digital disruption including Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment, a global Hotels & Resorts conglomerate and a top Mall Property Owner.
Previously, as VP of Marketing Intelligence for Time Warner Cable in New York City from 2005-2013 Rachel built and led a centralized research capability and broadened the scope of research beyond Marketing to support Strategy, Product Management and Customer Experience. Her research led to groundbreaking innovations in products and customer experiences, navigating competitive threats and brand-building. Her team delivered insights contributing to more than 200% growth in Broadband subscribers.
Rachel is an award-winning member of Cable Television Association of Marketers (CTAM) and an active member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and American Marketing Association (AMA). She is a guest-blogger for marketing industry groups such as CTAM, Greenbook, Hispanic TV Summit and International Institute of Research and her comments have been cited on Harvard Business Review (HBR.com). She is a graduate of Emory University.
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