Patient Engagement, Events

To improve the healthcare experience, look at more than just the patient

Patient experience is a noteworthy topic to hospitals. But as outlined during a panel at MedCity ENGAGE, health systems need to look beyond the consumer and seek to boost the experience of providers as well.

From left: Greg Caressi of Frost & Sullivan moderated a panel that included Dr. Thomas Savides of UC San Diego Health, Dr. Sara Laskey of MetroHealth System and Alan Dubovsky of Cedars-Sinai Health System

The term “experience” has become such a buzzword in healthcare that organizations have started creating the role of Chief Experience Officer.

At MedCity ENGAGE in San Diego, three experts — Dr. Thomas Savides (chief experience officer of UC San Diego Health), Dr. Sara Laskey (chief patient experience officer of MetroHealth System) and Alan Dubovsky (chief patient experience officer of Cedars-Sinai Health System) — chatted about exactly what the position encompasses.

For Laskey, it comes down to answering one simple question: “How do we take the best things that are happening in the user experience world and implement that in healthcare?”

Measuring the consumer experience can be a bit more challenging. HCAHPS scores were the initial metric used by the healthcare world. In fact, as Dubovsky and Laskey noted, HCAHPS was key to bringing engagement and the CXO role to the forefront.

Yet quantifying the experience aspect has come to encompass much more, including online reviews, brand loyalty and whether a patient would recommend a hospital to a friend or family member.

The concept of experience in healthcare boils down to more than just a focus on the consumer — it needs to involve all key stakeholders, including providers and other team members.

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That’s the approach UC San Diego Health has taken with its CXO position. “We want this office to take care of everybody’s experience,” Savides said. “We actually call that the ‘Big E’ experience.”

Using this technique and putting a doctor in the role has proven beneficial to UC San Diego Health, particularly because physicians are the most difficult group to get engaged, Savides said.

Lumping clinicians and staff into the experience bowl has other advantages as well. For one, doing so can give health systems a better opportunity to monitor and measure provider burnout. It also provides a more holistic view of the entire engagement continuum.

“This connection between employee or clinician engagement and patient engagement or patient experience is something I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of,” Dubovsky said.

He noted that there’s clearly a link between a patient’s experience and the burnout of his or her provider. Exploring engagement through a comprehensive lens could be the first step toward ultimately improving the healthcare experience for all parties involved.

Photo: Jill Fleming Photography