“The Secret” and Improving the Experience of Care (2 of 2)

In the first blog in this series I shared Robert Frost’s poem "The Secret Sits"

"We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows."

I suggested that the "Secret" is the person at the center of care. The patient, their family, and their caregivers. Sitting "in the middle" and knowing what they need and want but lacking effective ways of sharing and the ineffectiveness of provider organizations’ current means of capturing that knowledge.

Here are some ideas for how to improve the usefulness of your data capture to improve your patients’ experience at your institution.

  1. Get clarity about your current state
    • Understand your mandatory survey data like CAHPS (because they don’t seem to be going away) and remember the facts – most hospitals must only obtain at 300 completed HCAHPS surveys over the 12-month reporting period AND your choice of vendor to administer the survey is a "choice"
    • Augment your mandatory (and old) data with real-time, point of service feedback
    • Get out of your office and experience the care environment, listen and look, make your own assessment of your environment, paying attention to the tangible aspects of cleanliness, noise, food service.
    • Listen to your staff by talking with them directly, holding town halls and reviewing your staff surveys.
  2. Get clarity about your future/desired state
    • Craft and cast a vision of the future state
    • Make it measurable – how will you know when you’re on your way and/or there. Don Berwick is quoted as saying "soon is not a time, some is not a number"
  3. Get clear about the gap, the disconnect
    • Why aren’t we achieving the future state?
    • Where are the gaps?
    • Is this an issue of skill or will?
  4. Craft a plan to close the Gap
    • Craft a "Blueprint" to close the gap
    • Define accountability for change (my colleague, Maryann Sullivan, has written a simple review of how to establish this accountability.)
    • Get specific around work flows, resources, roles and responsibilities
    • Establish Service Level Agreements
    • Develop tailored training
    • Provide coaching

The question remains, are you dancing around the ring and supposing, or are you listening to the secret?

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