Bridget Duffy, the CMO of communications tech company Vocera & head of its Experience Innovation Network, is a national leader in the patient experience movement. And we all agree there are lots of improvements needed in the experience for both patients and front line clinicians. Anyone following the story about the death of my friend Jess Jacobs last year knows that there are problems a plenty in how patients are treated (pun intended). Bridget talked with me at HIMSS17 about how well we’ve done and how far we have to go.
Healthcare organizations are working diligently to improve patient satisfaction and the patient experience of care. After all, patient experience of care is a critical quality domain used to evaluate hospital performance under the 2016 CMS Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program (accounts for 25 percent of a hospital’s VBP score)—and comes with the potential for a penalty or bonus.
Patient experience of care is also one of three essential dimensions of the industry-guiding IHI Triple Aim (a framework for optimizing health system performance):
- Improving the patient experience of care.
- Improving the health of populations.
- Reducing the per capita cost of healthcare.
Improving the patient experience can seem like a moving target influenced by a variety of factors. For one, despite the fact that healthcare organizations have been talking about and focusing on patient experience and patient satisfaction for a long time, universally accepted definitions don’t exist. For example, patient satisfaction survey vendors use contrasting language, leading to varying patient interpretations. The industry also lacks conclusive research that proves the connections between patient satisfaction and outcomes. And with so many resources focused on improving patient satisfaction, it’s no surprise healthcare leaders want to understand the connection.
Let me start this story by telling you the end: I am just fine. For those of you who like me, there is nothing to worry about and all is well. For those of you who don’t like me, sorry to disappoint you, but you’re stuck with me for a while.
I’m telling you these things—news to make you happy or disappointed, depending on your point of view about me—because this story is about my recent trip to the hospital, an unexpected journey that I wasn’t sure I was going to talk about publicly.
First of all, I didn’t want people calling and fretting and thinking I was suddenly in need of hushed whispers and pats on the head and casseroles. Second of all, I didn’t want people thinking they were finally rid of me and gladly so. But mostly I wasn’t sure I was going to tell this story because I just didn’t want to make a big deal about it. But in the end, I couldn’t help myself. I decided I learned so much on my little stint on the other side of the healthcare desk that I felt I had to share.
It started as a bit of tachycardia, sadly brought on not by a George Clooney sighting, but rather by some anomaly of life which will likely never be known. As my heart started to race faster and faster over a series of hours, and when it became clear that I couldn’t count as high as my pulse was going, I called 911.