In an age where customer experience reigns supreme, the healthcare industry is beginning to view processes and outcomes through a similar lens. Hospitals and healthcare systems are businesses. Patients are customers. And customers must have a positive experience in order to continue using the services of a business. Patient experience is a term often applied broadly to initiatives such as reducing hospital stay length and readmission rates, cutting down incidences of patient safety events, and ensuring patients feel seen and heard.
In an effort to get a hold of this new way of thinking, hospitals are adding patient experience leaders to their staff and also considering the myriad sources that impact the patient experience. Risk managers and patient safety professionals have a unique opportunity to champion patient experience efforts for their organizations. Here are four areas of focus for improving the patient experience with the help of risk management best practices.
1. Get the whole organization involved and invested
With a far-reaching goal like improving patient experience, healthcare organizations will see greater success when they establish a targeted strategy and communicate that strategy clearly across all departments. In many cases, it may make sense to establish an enterprise risk management (ERM) program to make headway. As mentioned in GRC: Where to start? Productive healthcare ERM tools, “Healthcare ERM establishes a standardized framework for identifying risk across an organization, encourages cross-departmental collaboration, and shifts hospitals from a reactive clinical risk program to a proactive holistic risk management program.”