The patient experience defined by the Beryl Institute is “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.” Exceeding patient expectations is not by chance, but is the result of conscious efforts made to create and sustain a culture of patient-centered care – including staff hiring, onboarding, development practices.
4 Key Elements of Patient Experience
The four key elements of patient experience, according to the Beryl Institute, include:
- Interactions: The orchestrated touch points of people, processes, policies, communications, actions, and environment
- Culture: The vision, values, people (at all levels and in all parts of the organization) and community
- Perceptions: What is recognized, understood and remembered by patients and support people. Perceptions vary based on individual experiences such as beliefs, values, cultural background, etc.
- Continuum of Care: Before, during and after the delivery of care
3 Steps to Improve Patient Experience
STEP 1: Hire the right person.
Poor hiring decisions impact turnover, which is disruptive to delivering safe, consistent, quality care. Does your organization hire based on subjective preferences or immediate need versus the best fit for the role and culture? How are you identifying and selecting top applicants?
Make better-informed choices by standardizing your pre-hire screening and compiling a more comprehensive candidate profile. Use assessments and role-specific, behavioral-based questions during the hiring process to provide additional insight to hiring managers.
Organizations focused on improving the patient experience of care should ensure their hiring process evaluates and benchmarks the following:
- Clinical knowledge: Does the candidate have the technical knowledge to complete the required job tasks?
- Situational awareness: How would this candidate interact with others: i.e. physicians, patients, and families?
- Behavioral traits: Does this candidate have the right personality and sensibilities to work in this unit/organization?
STEP 2: Get serious about onboarding.
Onboarding is critical to staff’s future productivity and retention. However, most hospitals have traditional, one-size-fits-all onboarding programs, that are less specific to the unique learning needs of a new hire or transfer. This can lead to decreased engagement, inefficient use of resources, and/or high variation of knowledge and skills.
It becomes essential to focus onboarding education in a relevant, engaging way to prepare an organization’s workforce for safe, independent practice. Personalized learning plans based on identified knowledge and skill gaps will maximize an onboarding program’s efficiency and effectiveness. Benefits of personalized onboarding, include:
- Increased staff engagement and satisfaction by respecting existing knowledge/skills
- Saved time and resources by focusing education in areas of most needed improvement
- Prepared, competent new hires or transfers
STEP 3: Invest in lifelong learning.
The patient experience is the result of combined interactions and care from various hospital staff, making consistent and quality care crucial to the process. The healthcare landscape is changing and it becomes even more vital that nurses remain engaged and committed in lifelong learning.
Healthcare organizations are experiencing higher levels of patient acuity with an increase in complexity of patients. This prompts healthcare professionals to better understand the populations they serve to promote optimal outcomes. Lifelong learning is an important strategy to keeping staff engaged and enthusiastic and to remind them of their impact in providing safe and effective care.
It is essential for healthcare organizations to provide education on current evidence-based practices and to invest in continuing development and growth. Providing growth opportunities specific to identified professional learning needs could include:
- Focused clinical topics: opioids, behavioral health, readmissions, sepsis
- Leadership skills: change management, performance feedback, communication, teamwork
Building a workforce focused on creating and sustaining a culture of patient-centered care is essential to healthcare excellence. Selecting and placing the right people on your teams, providing an individualized onboarding experience, and investing in professional growth and lifelong learning are key components to this process. Exceeding patient expectations is the result of conscious efforts made to create and sustain a culture of patient-centered care.
Learn more about how Relias helps hire, onboard, and continuously develop your staff.