Are you on top of patient experience?
Most hospitals have yet to make it a priority
Have you heard of a CXO? It’s the latest addition to the C-suite: the patient experience officer. It wouldn’t be unusual if you didn’t, since only about a fifth of hospitals in a recent survey said they had a CXO or other individual solely in charge of measuring and improving patient experience.
The survey, conducted by the Beryl Institute with an assist from Catalyst Healthcare Research, marks the second time the organization has taken an in-depth look at patient experience. It includes data from more than 670 organizations, spread over every state and the District of Columbia. More than 1,000 individuals responded.
Key findings include:
- Just over half of hospitals have a formal mandate to improve patient experience. That’s down from almost 60% in the 2011 survey.
- More than 80% have a formal structure in place to address patient experience, up from 70% two years ago.
- Noise remains the biggest problem hospitals are tackling. Better pain management and improved discharge communications round out the top three on the PX radar.
- Priorities for action didn’t change over the two years, although the order shifted — reducing noise, hourly rounding, pain management, improving discharge, and improving communication.
- A quarter of hospitals use a committee to oversee patient experience, down from 40% in 2011, and 22% have a CXO or other patient experience leader in charge. Troubling to the study authors is that in 28% of organizations no single person is responsible for patient experience. The worry is that if it is everyone’s responsibility, it becomes no one’s responsibility.
- The biggest drivers for success are the same this year as in 2011: support from the top and support from clinical leadership. Having a formalized process review and internal communication about patient experience also help. While in 2011 staff orientation was listed, in 2013 it was replaced by having a formal patient experience structure.
- Roadblocks include having leaders who are pulled in many directions, with no one focusing on PX with exclusivity or near exclusivity. Second on the list was having other organizational priorities.
- Methods for improving patient experience include using follow-up phone calls, creating service recovery programs, using performance scorecards, and reviewing processes. While laudable, these are still viewed as reactive. However, the study notes that there are more real-time data collection efforts afoot, such as bedside surveys, patient and family focus groups, and having patient and family advisory committees.
- Measurement focuses on using internal and national surveys, like HCAHPS, as well as doing post-discharge phone surveys, as well as information from advisory committees and focus groups. Organizations that don’t have a definition of patient experience — about half of the survey respondents — have a harder time with measurement.
The entire report can be seen at http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.theberylinstitute.org/resource/resmgr/BenchMarkingPaper_2013.pdf