By Rohit Uppal, MD, MBA, Chief Clinical Officer, Hospitalist Services
Patient Experience Week is April 22 – 26, 2019. This serves as an exciting opportunity to celebrate and honor all of our TeamHealth clinicians for the important work they do every day to positively impact the patient experience. As a physician-led organization, with a patient-centered approach, patient experience is a TeamHealth core competency and an excellent way for us to ensure we stay connected with our purpose.
One of the ways we can most impact patient experience is through sharpening our communication skills as clinicians and as an company. There are three key ways improved communications improves patient experience and contributes to our strategic priorities.
- At TeamHealth, delivering best-in-class clinical quality and patient safety are our top strategic priorities. While great quality and outcomes are the end game, we recognize that the patient experience drives those results. We know that how we communicate, and the experience we create for our patients, plays an integral role in keeping our patients safe and providing them with the best possible clinical outcomes. Our teams understand that effective communication makes them better clinicians. They understand that earning the patient’s trust is an essential skill that leads to improved patient adherence and has proven to result in better patient outcomes.
- Clinician engagement is another strategic priority. The communication expertise that we teach our clinicians translates into essential skills for allowing them to grow personally, professionally and as leaders in their hospitals and their communities.
- We also recognize that as clinicians improve their communication skills, their job satisfaction improves, their resilience increases and the risk of burnout diminishes.
- Lastly, we are sensitive to the impact of malpractice litigation on clinician satisfaction and burnout. When our clinicians build trusting relationships with patients, the risk of malpractice claims, and the associated emotional and financial stress associated with them, is reduced.
- Supporting the success of our hospital partners is a third strategic priority.
- Our expertise in patient experience directly effects value-based purchasing (VBP) performance, which significantly impacts the hospital’s bottom line.
- We have also found that patient experience is an effective method for hospitals to standout in a competitive market, to improve patient loyalty and to expand market share.
- Our skills in communication also ensure that we contribute to a culture of high reliability and safety within the hospital.
- Finally, communication skills not only impact patients, they also enhance work satisfaction for nurses and the many other disciplines we interact with, leading to improved work satisfaction and increased retention of hospital employees.
From the above you can clearly see why we focus on patient experience and how communication plays a vital role in that process. I also think how we provide that focus deserves special attention. Our emphasis on leadership and culture ensures that our teams are patient-centered and service oriented. As a learning organization, we ensure that continuous improvement is a central feature of our culture.
All of our teams are led by a local facility medical director (FMD) and a regional medical director (RMD). The FMD and RMD take ownership, accountability and responsibility for both creating a culture of patient experience as well as achieving the targeted results and scores. Our FMDs and RMDs undergo formal leadership training, including training focused on leading patient experience. They are trained and mentored on how to create the right culture, how to use data to manage performance and how to support and manage low performers. Placing skilled and highly-trained physician leaders in our programs is a key enabler for our consistent performance on patient experience.
We also know that some challenges require additional expertise. The TeamHealth Hospitalist Services Performance Improvement (HSPI) team is a dedicated team of national experts who serve as a resource to all of our local teams. The HSPI team exists to support our hospitalists in achieving best-in-class performance and brings additional “boots on the ground” bench strength to our continuous improvement efforts.
Let me close by saying this. To our TeamHealth clinicians, thank you! Patient Experience week is a great opportunity for me to appreciate your hard work and dedication. Please take time this week to celebrate your accomplishments and remind yourself of your purpose as an individual and our purpose as a team. If you need additional support in meeting your patient experience goals, please email us at HSPI@teamhealth.com.
To our hospital partners, it is an honor to collaborate with you and your teams. Creating the optimal patient experience takes all of us working together—from nurses and physicians, to support staff and administrators. This week is a great time to celebrate our accomplishments and re-energize our efforts to serve our patients.
Click here to read our full case study with Sharp Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, California improving patient flow and increase patient experience.
To learn how TeamHealth can work to solve your emergency department flow challenges, call 800.818.1498 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.