People who know Cemplicity, know that our concern is to improve patient experience of care, not just to measure patient experiences. We know that technology itself does not bring about better experiences for patients; it’s an important enabler but it’s what our clients do with the feedback that matters. This is a big reason we often work in partnership with skilled advisors like KPMG and the Picker Institute – so that the work doesn’t stop with measurement and the true value of the patient reported feedback can be extracted.
Recently, we read a Kings Fund paper looking at the long-term results of the NHS patient experience programme. There are some interesting conclusions, including that where there is long term, sustained policy focus on an area of patient care (e.g. cleanliness), consistent improvement is more likely to be achieved.
We often work on large scale, state and national programmes and as they invest in improvement initiatives on a grand scale, it will be immensely interesting to monitor the impact of these activities and to carefully assess which actions have the greatest impact.
What is of greater interest to us what health service providers can do to ensure their investment in patient experience measurement leads to real and demonstrable improvements for their patients. A Cemplicity programme produces accurate and timely feedback that frontline staff can immediately address when opportunities for improvement arise. Our reporting also highlights clearly what matters most to patients and where a client is performing well and poorly. The results provide a clear steer on what you should work on first to have the greatest impact on patient experiences. The critically important patient stories tell you how to fix things (or what to celebrate and emulate). There is no guesswork or personal opinions needed.
So, when it is so clear, how come change doesn’t always happen? This is a most interesting topic and one we will continue to examine so we can offer useful advice to our clients.
A recent article we read, concluded that middle management in any organisation are the biggest barrier to improvement.
Company leaders don’t need persuading that customers and patients are important. They know that superior experiences and active referral by happy customers will advance a company’s cause. In a health setting this may be reduced readmissions, better clinical outcomes, better medication adherence. For private companies, it also means business growth and enhanced profitability.
Frontline staff are the face of an organisation. They interact directly with customers and patients and the impact of improving patient experiences is immensely clear to them. What’s more, not only do changes make patients happier, they also improve staff morale and job satisfaction. This group is motivated and often thrilled when given the tools and mandate to make improvements.
Middle managers are the most difficult group to influence – the people who lead departments and functional areas. They are spending their time helping their groups work smarter, faster and better so making time to understand patient feedback and build this insight into decisions and plans may not suit all people in these roles. Providing support and training to this group is an essential component of a successful Cemplicity programme. As we have learned from the impact of sustained policy focus on national improvements in focus areas, if department and functional managers are supported to act on patient feedback in a strategic and sustained way, chance of improvement will be greatly enhanced.
(Ref: Patrick Gibbon: Who makes a company customer focussed?)