Seven years ago, a dedicated group of 200 passionate professionals gathered in a small hotel ballroom in Dallas. It was, in many senses, the beginning of a journey; a journey towards understanding, measuring, and improving the experience that patients and their families have in their encounters with hospitals. It was the first conference under the direction of Jason Wolf, the newly-appointed head of an organization with an unusual name, The Beryl Institute.
Next week, in Denver, over 1,000 people from more than a dozen countries will gather to participate in The Beryl Institute’s annual conference, once again collectively focusing on the “patient experience,” which reflects the mission and activities of the Institute.
Yet, these battle-tested folks are just the tip of spear.
In less than a decade, the rather revolutionary idea has taken hold. It’s the notion that the patient should be the true focus of the healthcare system, rather than too often prioritizing patient needs beneath meeting the needs of doctors, hospital administrators, or the distant parent company.
Yes, healthcare professionals will tell you that they go into healthcare in order to serve and help patients. But as they get into organizations, they often find that such a pure intent gets bogged down by insurance authorizations, cumbersome internal processes, and administrators focused on the bottom line. So nudging an entire ship the size of a modern healthcare system toward a true “patient-centric” focus has not been a task for the weak of heart.
There has been great progress—worldwide—in this endeavor. As the people at the meeting will find and confirm for each other, the concept of providing a great patient experience has been nudged along by leaders with visionary intent, spurred onward by government-required surveys and incentivized by financial rewards. At the heart of it all though, it comes back to the clinicians and all the staff who support them, as they change long-held beliefs and behaviors.
Results from the largest study to date of what healthcare organizations worldwide are doing to improve the patient experience will be spotlighted at the beginning of the conference, then subsequently made available to anyone with an interest. This study, done every two years since 2011, is a partnership between The Beryl Institute and Catalyst Healthcare Research.
This year’s results will show what’s driving progress toward patient experience improvements—and the roadblocks that are still major obstacles. It will show the critical importance of engaging physicians, staff, AND patients/family members in the care process. And it will show that health system boards are paying attention, and in many cases, actively endorsing the change that is underway.
It’s an exciting time to be part of such transformational change—and to be able to document and share the idea that Patient Experience is now seen by many as a singular concept that encompasses patient quality, safety, service, and outcomes.
For more information: www.TheBerylInstitute.org