Monday, 3 December 2018

The status of the patient's experience throughout the world

Anna Sant

"The State of Patient Experience 2017" is a study carried out by The Beryl Institute, were officially published to expose a global patient's experience. The conclusions have changed with respect to the study presented in 2015.

The Beryl Institute and "The State of Patient Experience 2017" 

The Beryl Institute that I referred to earlier in this blog, is a community dedicated to improving the patient experience around the world through collaboration and shared knowledge. The organization, based in the United States, prepares this study biennially since 2011 to share the challenges and opportunities that health organizations around the world are finding in their approach to improving the patient experience.

The sample has worldwide representation, since 1,644 health organizations (hospitals, clinics, medical and social health centres) from twenty-six countries on five continents participated in the survey. Although the study participants are still mostly Americans, who together with Great Britain are the pioneers of the movement, the study gives us a global vision of the situation.

The patient's experience: strategic model

The first thing that draws attention is the title of the study, A return to purpose, because it’s a clear call to follow the trend towards more strategic actions in the field of patient experience. A notable difference if we compare it with the first editions, in which a significant interest in the actions related to improving the results of the HCHAPS surveys was very visible. It’s logically understood if one takes into account that the hospitals collaborating with the Government of the United States receive a part of their budget based on the results obtained in the mandatory surveys that measure the patient's experience in the centre.

The 2017 edition of "The State of Patient Experience" proposes putting into practice a strategic aspect that goes far beyond implementing actions in different parts of the organization in a fragmented way; a value that we must transmit to directors and hospital leaders from all over the country.

The patient experience adventure is a change management project that concerns the entire organization. We are talking about an important cultural change and, precisely for this reason, the methodology of the patient experience strategy is currently being considered as an innovative management model that removes all the water from under the sanitary boat.

Improvement of the experience among professionals

Assuming this management perspective, what good is it that we take care to try to provide good experiences to patients if we do not focus on providing good experiences to our health and administrative professionals first? They are the nerve centre, the core of the patient's experience. Is it that the words that are most used in the responses of the respondents in "The State of Patient Experience" having a direct relationship with people, such as:
  • Communication
  • Commitment of professionals
  • Rounding (methodology used to obtain day-to-day information among the people who constitute the patient's experience, that is, health and administrative professionals, managers, leaders, families and, of course, patients)

Some figures

The study asks, for the first time, at what stage is the development of the patient experience strategy among the surveyed centres? 26% say that the programs are well established and 56% say they are established and making progress. This gives us 82% presence of patient experience programs among the almost 1,700 centres that have participated in the survey. While it’s true that there is a very positive picture, it’s also true that most of the centres, 74%, still have a way to go.

Another important fact is to know the priorities established by the centres for the next three years. 82% believe that the patient's experience should be the main one. The high percentage corresponds to the fact that this year the new combined concept of patient experience (quality, safety and service) is offered as an answer option. Until now, the patient experience occupied the podium, and quality and safety were second. What is new and reinforces the idea that the future lies in the motivation of the professionals of the organization, is that in this edition appears a second position for the commitment of professionals (Employee Engagement). This clearly demonstrates that health organizations no longer record the concept of patient experience as an index of perceived quality or patient satisfaction, but rather as a strategy to reinforce the profitability of the centres, far beyond the mere costs reduction.


"The State of Patient Experience" offers us a series of conclusions:
  • We devote more efforts to the improvement of the patient experience every time. This means that it’s becoming part of the DNA of the health organizations, especially the Anglo-Saxons, which were pioneers in this movement. In our environment we can’t talk about DNA yet, but the patient's experience does begin to be part of the core of the conversations in the different strategic management bodies.
  • The professional’s wellbeing is essential to achieve the improvement of the patient's experience, located in the study as one of the three first priorities of action for 2018.
  • The new management model based on the patient's experience is based on the leadership and culture of the organization. In this way, the concepts of "mandates" or "requirements" that derive from classic health plans are left behind.
  • In addition, there is no disbelief about the recognition of the impact of the patient's voice and its environment, for example, the family member's, as well as that of professionals throughout the healthcare system.
  • The management model based on the experience of the patient is already considered to be the one that offers the most indicators and results, which implies more data to verify that it works better than other management models. Finally, a new strategic figure emerges within the health organization: the person responsible for the patient's experience. 

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