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Silos are among the biggest impediments to improving quality and patient satisfaction, according to Press Ganey’s annual Strategic Insights report, which offers recommendations for improving performance on numerous quality metrics.
Hospital leaders must break down the operational silos that separate the four pillars of care: quality, safety, patient experience, and workforce engagement, Press Ganey advises.
Those areas often are thought of as independent of each other, but a growing body of evidence suggests that they are, in fact, interdependent with each other and linked to quality and financial performance, says Jim Merlino, president and chief medical officer of Press Ganey’s strategic consulting division.
“We found that when employee engagement is high, quality and safety are improved and so is the overall patient experience,” Merlino says.
“How we perform on any one of those measures is going to be affected by the others. We have to talk about these factors in an integrated fashion.”
The report provides guidance on how to assess your own hospital’s performance on these measures and how to address deficiencies, derived from Press Ganey’s work with hospitals of all sizes. (The report is available online at: https://bit.ly/2ssiNbk.)
Breaking down operational silos is not always easy, Merlino notes.
“The barriers are real and we see it all the time in how different silos will run with their own strategies for how to do things better, with safety and quality using one strategy and patient experience using something different. They’re in parallel but they don’t connect,” he says.
“Patient experience may have a strategy that’s all about service, and while that is clearly important, there are high-value tactics that can affect safety and quality while also driving the patient experience. Good communication is an example, because it improves safety and quality but also results in a better patient experience overall.”
Hospital leaders should think more strategically about how to work toward goals that affect the different pillars, Merlino says. Prioritize efforts that promise improvement across more than one pillar, and preferably several, he says.
“For those that benefit only one pillar, you might ask if you really should be doing it and take that off the list,” he says.
“Patients don’t live in the verticals. They are affected by all of this, so this is about stepping back and thinking more holistically about how you can meet patients’ needs.”
Financial Disclosure: Author Greg Freeman, Editor Jesse Saffron, Editor Jill Drachenberg, Nurse Planner Jill Winkler, Editorial Group Manager Terrey L. Hatcher, and Consulting Editor Patrice Spath report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study.