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How to Improve Patient Experience

Last week, we shared Patient Experience: Part 1, which discussed the definition of patient experience, how it differs from patient satisfaction, and why it matters. Today, we’re looking at patient experience improvement strategies and where patient experience is headed.

2 Strategies to Improve Patient Experience

1. Address Patient Safety & Workplace Violence

Thomas Lee, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Press Ganey, said in an interview with Becker’s Hospital Review that patient experience, safety, and workplace engagement are all connected. Using detailed patient safety checklists can help protect patients from harm based on treatment type, diagnosis, or procedures.

Rick Evans, Senior Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Experience Officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital wrote in a Becker’s Hospital Review article that the increase in verbal and physical assaults on staff keeps him up at night. By addressing workplace violence, physicians, nurses, and other staff can feel empowered and confident when caring for patients—improving patient experience.

2. Prioritize Teamwork & Care Collaboration

Deirdre Mylod, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for Innovation and Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics at Press Ganey said in an interview with PatientEngagementHIT.com that the process to improving patient satisfaction is through improving care outcomes that affect patient experience.

Mylod stressed the need for care coordination and teamwork when it comes to improving patient experience. A patient who experiences fragmented care may feel more uneasy or afraid about the quality of care they’re receiving when they’re getting different answers from different care providers. Press Ganey research also suggests that patients who perceive teamwork are more likely to have higher patient satisfaction scores.

Robust communication and care coordination are key to improving teamwork among staff, particularly at large organizations. Chief Experience Officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Rick Evans, mentioned that integrating technology for improved communication can make or break the patient experience. Evans stated that the biggest experience determinant patients have is the quality of communication they receive due to disconnected and fragmented communications systems—leading to gaps in quality care. Actively working to collaborate on care and communicate with patients can help close these gaps.

The Future of Patient Experience

A 2019 article in the Patient Experience Journal discussed five distinct areas where the future of patient experience is heading. The top one listed was being aware of and actively addressing social determinants of health.

The article suggests that care teams cannot disconnect from or ignore the reality of the lives their patients are living. Comprehensive care must include social determinants in order to ensure improved patient experience and outcomes.

Providence Health, which serves patients in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington launched Better Outcomes through Bridges (BOB) to help patients with needs that extend beyond the emergency department.

Case managers, primary care providers, behavioral health specialists, ED physicians, and community leaders met together to assess the needs of these vulnerable patients and help them secure housing, behavioral health support, and employment opportunities. Overall, the BOB program helped Providence reduce ED utilization by 41 percent.

Brittany Eastman
Content Marketing Specialist