Amplion enjoyed participating in The Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Conference 2017, which wrapped this week in Denver. Along with exhibiting our Amplion Alert next gen nurse call platform and demonstrating its potential for transforming patient care, we attended three days worth of fascinating sessions that explored how nurses, clinical teams, patient advocates, family caregivers and patients themselves are working together to improve the patient experience and make it a bigger part of the conversation in hospitals across the nation and around the globe. In keeping with the theme of this year’s seventh annual conference “The Power of &,” sessions offered perspectives from patients and caregivers on the value they found in developing partnerships and connections, practicing empathy and compassion, and viewing one another as individuals with stories that inspire.
The highlight of the conference for us was the release of initial findings from The Beryl Institute’s annual benchmarking study on patient experience. In his keynote, The Beryl Institute President Jason Wolfe gave us a sneak peek into The State of the Patient Experience 2016 study, which includes input from 1,700 respondents from 26 countries and six continents and will be released in full this summer.
The study found that patient experience continues to grow as a priority and initiative in hospitals. Though just a quarter of healthcare organizations surveyed describe their patient experience efforts as well-established, most are making some kind of progress in this area, whether exploring how they can integrate quality, safety and service across departments or bringing on leaders and staff to spearhead these efforts for their entire organization. Their motivation for doing so goes beyond mandates and stems more from “a return to purpose,” as Wolfe described it. What should hospitals focus on to successfully drive improvements in patient experience? The survey uncovered some interesting findings on this. Here are three insights that caught our attention.
- Employee engagement is key to improving patient experience. Across all organizations surveyed, employee engagement is the fastest growing objective that providers are focusing on to change the nature of patient experience in their facilities. When asked about the most important factor driving outcomes in patient experience, respondents put “highly and engaged staff and employees” at the top of the list, even over the “purposeful and visionary leadership” answer that topped past surveys. Employee engagement also ranked highly in how hospitals define patient experience and how they expect to achieve it. In fact, nearly a quarter of respondents are investing in staff training and professional development to improve patient experience in their organizations. “There is a realization right now that we have to take care of ourselves and each other in order to take care of the people we serve,” Wolfe said.
- Patient and family engagement is growing in importance. Organizations found patient and family engagement to be synonymous with patient experience, because from their perspective “they all have but one experience, and it is integrated to who they are and what they are trying to accomplish [while they are in the hospital],” Wolfe said. Hospitals are leading the way in incorporating the voices of patients and their families in healthcare, with nearly two-thirds of organizations creating patient and family advisory councils to gather the input they need to make relevant improvements. Respondents ranked patient and family engagement as the most important driver of patient experience after employee engagement. One way to achieve this engagement is by “making what we do transparent” to patients,” Wolfe said, “so they aren’t lost in the journey, like someone who is caught in a river where they have no control.”
- Data is key to helping us make the best decisions for patients. Organizations need to look for ways to harness the data at their fingertips—whether it is bedside feedback from a patient or survey data across the local patient population—and use it to not only make the best decisions for individual patients, but also to empower them to collaborate with providers on those decisions and take greater ownership of their healthcare experience. With consumerism making choice more accessible to patients, “we are going to need data and need to act on it with greater speed and access,” Wolfe said.
For Wolfe, the growing emphasis on engaging caregivers as well as patients and families is a game changer in the patient experience conversation. “This was like an aha moment for us,” he said, “If we can get all these parts to work [patient, family and employee engagement], we can put our priorities on the things that are important: the people who provide care and the patients they serve.”
Along with the keynotes, we enjoyed hearing healthcare leaders speak about the different ways they are partnering with patient and families to drive patient experience improvements, and listening in on roundtable discussions that covered topics ranging from nurse fatigue and burnout to patient communication. We were especially inspired by a panel of patients and families who shared the stories of their patient experience, the caregivers who reached out to them, and their passion for improving these experiences for others.
Patient experience is our passion and purpose at Amplion, and we are proud to be part of advancing it through our next-generation nurse call system that radically raises the bar on patient communication, safety, care coordination and alarm management. Our data-driven platform helps increase visibility and accountability for hospitals working to improve patient experience in their facilities and gives them the tools they need to focus on what they do best: caring for others.