Many of the hospitals we visit see improving patient satisfaction and experiences, driving HCAHPS scores, and patient care rounding as the sole responsibility of nurses; "After all, nurses provide the care.”
While nursing staff are closely connected to the patient and are clearly a key factor in satisfaction results, there is no need to make nurses solely responsible for improving HCAHPS scores. There are compelling reasons for all members of management to meet with patients and establish their satisfaction with delivery of care. Combine this approach with a determination check on the satisfaction of every patient, every day and you have the beginnings of a strategy that can improve patient experiences.
How to Involve Non-Nursing Managers
-- Assign every manager patient care rounds!---
LET’S COVER THE TYPICAL OBJECTIONS TO THIS APPROACH:
- 1. Clinical Experience: When we discuss this topic, the first response is typically, "You don’t mean managers with no clinical experience, right?” Actually, yes we do. Checking on patient satisfaction of “every patient, every day” is not about delivering care or even understanding nursing care delivery. It’s about ensuring that patient needs are checked thoroughly every day as the basis for ensuring the best possible experience for patients, families, and friends.
2. Too Busy: The second response is typically, “Our managers are all very busy.” Management workloads certainly need to be considered and thoughtfully evaluated. This evaluation needs to prioritize, hospital-wide, improving patient experience. Almost always, we find HCAHPS scores in the list of the top five hospital-wide improvement priorities.
3. Workload: The third response is typically, "There is no logical way to involve other managers in visiting with patients.” Regardless of the size of hospital, the effort required from each manager will be about an hour a day for a week, every six weeks. Given good planning, it is difficult to contend that managers cannot allocate this type of time to improving patient experience.
4. Technology: The fourth response is typically, “We have no way to coordinate the visits, record the results and manage the required follow up.” If a hospital is going to effectively deploy this approach, the process and supporting technology must be seamless. A 100% electronic system is non-negotiable. One hundred percent completion of meeting assigned patients is non-negotiable. You must provide the managers a seamless process that has them solely focused on visiting with the patients and gathering and acting on feedback. Without a strong support technology, the process will collapse based on lack of effective scheduling and an inability to process and act on the large volume of feedback you will receive.
5. Capability: The fifth response we typically hear is, “You cannot be serious; you are suggesting we put accounting managers in front of patients—that won’t work.” It won’t all be easy. It won’t be at all easy. You will have to train. You will have to mentor. You will have to insist. We will probably write another post on the excuses you will hear, so that none are a surprise. Every manager can do this.
Success depends on whether hospital leadership wants to build a sustainable process to maintain and improve patient experience scores.
“Whether you think you can,
or you think you can’t—you’re right.”
So, Why Make the Effort?
“It’s about the hidden jewel in the process.”
Well-trained managers meeting with every patient every day.
Managers trained to be empathetic with patients and uncover real service issues and concerns.
Issues uncovered get resolved immediately.
Issues that cannot be resolved immediately are seamlessly supported by technology that immediately dispatches the appropriate resources to correct a service failure.
Real time data identifying issues that need performance improvement focus.
HCAHPS showing a consistent upward trend.
As managers change, new managers accept the process as part of “how we do things around here."
Take the leap.
The Hidden JewelIt’s the accountants! (Actually, that’s unfair to accountants; this process
benefits all managers. This is just an accounting example.) Very few accountants have any regular contact with patients or, as some accountants call them, paying customers. Most accountants are deeply involved in the financial results and the budgeting process. Imagine the additional depth and breadth of perspective any accounting manager brings to the budgeting process after spending 40 hours over one year meeting one-on-one with paying customers. Such accountants have a much better rounded view. With this kind of exposure throughout the management team, it is very hard to imagine any scenario in which patient experiences would not consistently improve.
Summary of Key Steps
Make the improvement of HCAHPS and patient satisfaction scores a major organizational priority.
Get senior leadership to “buy in” and participate in the patient care rounds.
Adopt the approach of visiting “every patient, every day.”
Obtain real-time supporting technology.
Mentor and train all managers in the process.
“Success has a price tag on it, and the tag reads courage, determination, discipline, risk taking, perseverance, and consistency – doing the right things for the right reasons and not just when we feel like it.”
— James M. Meston —
Learn about more tools to improving Patient Satisfaction in our popular eBook:
Previous Post: Patient Safety: 'What's the difference between a photo and a video?'