5 drivers to exceptional Patient Experience

6 mins  11.09.2018
What do healthcare and hospitality have in common? More than we think. Healthcare reform is pushing the industry into uncharted territory. Healthcare providers must make decisions without precedent, and consumers are savvier than ever.

Consumers are increasingly in control and exacting of the products and services they choose. Most sectors are using data on what their consumers want to drive strategic approaches and measure success. Health care is also focusing on learning and understanding from patients themselves and acting on these patient experience insights to improve patient care.

Shift towards patient centred thinking cannot be achieved in a vacuum or with an insular approach. As a result, healthcare is borrowing lessons and business models conceived and implemented within other industries: hotels, media, retailers and service providers.

MinterEllison's Health team recently hosted in Melbourne and Sydney an expert panel session on PX - eXperience Care, drawing on experiences from diverse industries, but those which have a common focus on improving customer and patient experience.

The sessions were moderated by MinterEllison's Chief Experience Officer, Fiona Glendinning who prompted the panel to share their client experience insights and outcomes. In Melbourne innovative many innovative concepts were shared by Dr Michael Walsh (Cabrini Health), Sherri Huckstep (Royal Women's Hospital), Ian Jackman (Bendigo Bank) and Robert Dawson (Pacific, Park Hyatt). Our Sydney audience was privileged to hear from Marc von Arnim (Park Hyatt Sydney), Deborah Willcox (Northern Sydney Local Health District) and Kate Munnings (Ramsay Health Care Australia). The attendees came from a range of areas within the health and aged care sectors, including public and private providers, regulators, government and insurance providers.

In Melbourne we also hosted "Mr Walker" the Park Hyatt resident canine ambassador. Mr Walker is attributed with making the Park Hyatt a more cheerful place for both the employees and hotel guests.

The below insights from our expert panellists helped our audience understand innovative options to improving pathways of care, measuring and acting on patient experience insights, and demonstrating responsiveness – all of which can result in significant cost savings, and drive responsiveness to improve care.

5 drivers from the expert panellists:

1. Committed and engaged leadership team

"When it comes to patient experience, leadership should understand and inspire people to interact differently," said Sherri Huckstep. "In health care we do like our checklists, and our routines – but we need to start asking the questions like "do we have to do this like this for this person?". Encourage people to ask questions about policies and procedures to understand why things need to be "that" way.

"People in leadership positions need to publicly acknowledge staff who excel in patient care and in enhancing the patient experience – don't underestimate how important it is to give staff a voice and give suggestions, an avenue to '', put forward their ideas about how can they improve the patient experience," said Deborah Willcox (Northern Sydney Local Health District).

"Be mindful that staff will probably be in a cautious mindset, thinking "will I be getting into trouble for asking to do this outside of the procedure," said Sherri Huckstep. "Giving choice, to innovate, and ask how I can do things differently will require receptivity from the leaders. The culture needs to be accepting of some agitation, but the rewards for patient care can be great."

2. Dedicated team of people who execute patient experience

"Patient experience coupled with staff experience come together to ensure positive outcome for patients. We need to learn from what goes right for patients and our staff." Deborah Willcox (Northern Sydney Local Health District).

"It's a constant job to maintain people's confidence that a system is delivering good experiences," said Marc von Arnim (Park Hyatt Sydney). "Your team will come from a very diverse background, but they have to breathe customer experience. It is about having the right team, led by example, on the floor and in the boardroom."

"Build a team with the right people who are happy and succeeding, this will directly translate to customer experience. In order to do this you have to ask what your staff need to enable them to perform better," Robert Dawson (Pacific, Park Hyatt).

3. Clear, meaningful and visible measurement processes for continuous improvement

"Patients in private health have made a whole lot of choices before they get to us. We need to understand why they've made these decisions so we can better service their needs and expectations. In a highly customised industry, we need to make sure we measure and understand why customers choose to come to us," Dr Michael Walsh (Cabrini Health).

" As a public health service we need to be accountable. Our staff understand that but we also need to ensure we listen to them and support them and respond" Deborah Willcox (Northern Sydney Local Health District).

"Meaningful data to build a better patient experience needs to be considered in combination with experience and engagement – then process the data and go and act on it. Data will help you challenge what has always been to create better operating models," Kate Munnings (Ramsay Health Care Australia).

"Personalisation is the ability to take a process and make it valuable and beneficial to that customer. Through online platforms you have the avenue to test ideas with potentially thousands of customers directly," said Ian Jackman (Bendigo Bank).

4. Expected service behaviour of employees (particularly around communication with patients and guests).

"We are looking to unleash our staff to be themselves. To add their unique flavour and their own style of empathy. Leaders need to be empathetic to staff, and recognise that this will flow down. Invest in your team and it will open up communication with your customers," Mr Robert Dawson (Pacific, Park Hyatt).

"In our hotels we try and get away from standardisation – we try not to script our conversations, we try and engage in dialogue. Allow people more opportunity to interact, and they find ways to enable and support that interaction to break down barriers. Find ways to open up conversations. Have avenues to recognise good team members behaviours," Robert Dawson (Pacific, Park Hyatt).

"Standardisation doesn't always make it easy to sustain empathy – so many reports and policies – ask how do we reduce process that allows staff to spend more time with the patient?," Kate Munnings (Ramsay Health Care Australia).

5. Continued promotion/marketing of the patient experience

"If you want to get people to change, celebrate all levels of achievements, even the small changes which will push others above and beyond in incremental ways. It's important to go looking and celebrating these small incremental wins that set the tone and standard of behaviour.," Sherri Huckstep (Royal Women's Hospital).

"Encourage your patients to tell their stories. Learn from these. Invest in getting to know your patients in conversation," said Sherri Huckstep (Royal Women's Hospital).

Want to know more, or attend our next event?

If you'd like to know more please contact our dedicated health group of specialist lawyers in Australia and New Zealand. We have worked as a strategic adviser to key players in the health sector for many years and understand emerging trends, the drivers for government policy and health regulation, and the day-to-day issues facing organisations operating in the health sector.

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