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Why HR is the Best Place to Start Improving Patient Experience

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Erin Cushing
on July 06, 2016

Healthcare organizations face a host of business imperatives and challenges, but none are more fundamental to an organization’s success than improving patient care and satisfaction. Not only does superior patient care result in better outcomes for patients, but it drives healthier bottom lines for healthcare institutions – in more than one way. For example, 67% of healthcare consumers think patient experience feedback from former patients is critically important to their own healthcare decision-making.

That’s just one tidbit we learned from healthcare service excellence expert Jason A Wolf last week on our webinar with the Beryl Institute on patient experience. 71% of organizations that are focusing on improving patient experience are doing so in part because they want better business outcomes. But how does this business need impact hr? It turns out that for healthcare, the HR department, with its focus on talent management and the employee lifecycle, is the perfect place for organizations to start focusing on increasing their patient experience scores. Why? Here are just a few reasons we explored with Jason last week:

Patient Experience Comes from Culture, and Culture Comes from HR

While healthcare organizations are businesses, they are also staffed by passionate people who want to help others. Creating and fostering a company culture that empowers staff to do that in an efficient and compassionate way will improve financial outcomes, but this process must start with HR. Recognize and reward staff that go above and beyond for patients. Enable employees to share recognition of their peers throughout the organization. Create a culture that rewards behaviors that positively impact patient care. Creating a culture that places patient experience as a priority will energize the healthcare workers in your organization, and will reinforce the behaviors your organization needs its employees to exude.

Patient Experience Comes from Everyone, Not Just Doctors and Nurses

When you think about patient care, you more than likely immediately think about doctors and nurses; after all, they are on the front lines of healthcare service, interacting directly with patients throughout the duration of their time within the hospital. While these are extremely valuable employees, they are not the only people that have an impact on a patient’s experience with that healthcare organization – particularly in a long-term care situation. Pharmacy technicians, billing and accounting representatives, and maintenance staff are all examples of employees with opportunity to affect- for good or for ill – a patient’s experience with an institution.

That’s why it’s critically important for healthcare HR to focus on building programs that teach, develop, gauge, and reward positive behaviors that deliver superior care to patients that will increase patient experience scores. Happy employees make for happy patients, and a strong talent development strategy that motivates and engages workers is the most reliable way for HR to deliver satisfaction to both staff and patients.   

HR is the Heart of Healthcare

There are five main keys to delivering superior patient care and experience:

  • Defining superior care
  • Creating a culture that supports delivering high patient satisfaction
  • Fostering and collaborating with organizational leaders
  • Employee engagement
  • Employee movement.

HR is critically important to every key. HR must support the effort to define what superior patience experience looks like. HR spearheads the creation and support of a culture that enables better patient care. HR is critically important to identifying and developing current and future healthcare leaders for the organization, and for facilitating better employee engagement for the entire staff.

If your organization wants to provide a better patient experience that will also boost organizational business performance, the best place to start would be with you in HR. Learn what best practices your team can implement to make a lasting impact on patient satisfaction

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