Measure Separately, Improve Together: Three Strategies to Enhance Both Staff Engagement and the Patient Experience

July 1, 2014

by Matt Destache

Matt DestacheIntuitively, we know that there must be some connection between provider engagement and the patient experience. Health care organizations have come to the realization that to be successful in the long term, their improvements in quality, outcomes, and the patient experience need to be accompanied by the engagement of their employees and physicians.

“The most successful organizations with the most loyal customers (or patients) have focused first on an internal culture of engagement, where leadership shows a genuine interest in the growth and development of its people,” writes Paul Spiegelman in his 2013 book, Patients Come Second.

In today’s health care organizations, the measurement of the patient experience, employee engagement, and physician engagement are each owned by separate hospital functions. The quality department manages HCAHPS and other patient experience measures, while the physician relations office and human resources are responsible for the physician and employee engagement. Each department typically maintains different timelines, approaches, and processes for improving their respective stakeholder group’s perceptions, and the unit and department managers on the front lines get caught in the crossfire of this seemingly disconnected work. Understanding that the stakeholders impact each other, how can we coordinate efforts and initiatives to address all three, and maybe make our managers lives a little easier at the same time?

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