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Improve the Patient Experience By Training on Words That Work

  
  
  

This blog post continues our series of patient experience Best Practices from Baptist Leadership Group, a HealthStream Company. Every week we will share information from BLG that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions BLG has identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

What Are Words That Work?Patient Communication Coaching from BLG

Words that Work is a method and healthcare interaction technique involving the use of specific phrases, behaviors and body language to help us deliver the service that builds customer loyalty. It is a next generation approach to scripting” that is designed to connect emotionally with patients, family members, and fellow staff. It is planned communication that reflects and supports the organization’s mission, vision and values. Using Words that Work helps us meet the challenge of choosing the right words at the right time. Plus it serves as a guide in what to say and how to handle given situations, sometimes difficult encounters.

Words that Work are:
  • Saying the right thing
  • Good, positive body language
  • Eye contact
  • Smiling
  • Giving full attention
  • Sending a uniform, positive message

Suggested Training Method for Words That Work

Here is an example of how BLG/HealthStream has taught the use of Words That Work to caregivers successfullin the past.

1. Opening (10 minutes)

  • Introductions (5 minutes): Facilitator introduces him/herself. Then, each participant introduces him/herself by providing the following information:
    • Name
    • Department/Function
  • Patients’ Needs (5 minutes):  Facilitator highlights patients’ two types of
    needs—emotional and clinical, participants then call out examples of each type of need

 2. Words that Work (25 minutes)

  • Words that Work (5 minutes): Facilitator transitions to Words that Work and makes key learning points
  • Words that Work Brainstorming Activity (20 minutes): Participants
    then participate in an activity in which they have the opportunity to identify four situations specific to their department/organization and
    brainstorm Words that Don’t Work and Words that Work 

3. Debrief Words that Work Activity (25 minutes)

  • Repeat Words that Work activity (15 minutes):  Provide participants
    opportunity to enhance exercise using points discovered in debrief. Participants will report out their scenarios and opportunity for further feedback provided (10 minutes)

4. RELATE in Action--a continuation of Words that Work (15 minutes)

  • RELATE Video Model with Debrief (10 minutes): Facilitator introduces
    a real-life video model and leads a video-tracking exercise to highlight the effective use of RELATE in various healthcare situations
  • Build a Key Phrase Activity (5 minutes): Facilitator leads participants
    in an activity in which they use a situation from the previous Words that
    Work Activity to insert the RELATE model

5. It’s Your Turn (20 minutes)

  • RELATE Skill Practices (20 minutes): A volunteer is asked to conduct their RELATE interaction for the large group. Facilitator leads large group debrief. Facilitator leads participants through two rounds of skill practices in which they will prepare for and conduct a RELATE interaction with a pair partner and receive feedback in a safe environment.

RELATE - A Powerful Tool For Healthcare Communication

One of the most powerful impressions on our patients and families is based on how well we
communicate with them—and on how well we help reduce their anxiety. Given their anxiety, we also know it’s not always easy to communicate with patients and/or family members.

The RELATE model that you will teach others today provides a way to enhance communication skills with patients and family members. 

RELATE stands for: Reassure, Explain, Listen, Answer, Take Action, and Express Appreciation.

Learn more about Words That Work and RELATE.

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.

What Matters to Emergency Department Physicians?

  
  
  

This blog post excerpts an article by Robin Rose,  Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, HealthStream, in the most recent issue of HealthStream's PX Alert, our quarterly e-newsletter featuring patient experience news, best practices, and learning opportunities.

What is important to Emergency Department physicians, and how do they compare to physicians from other medical specialties? HealthStream has a database of more than 37,000 physicians who have recently participated in our Physician Insights Survey. Within this database, more than 2,500 physicians are Emergency Medicine Specialists. In this article, we take a look at these 2,500 physicians to gauge their satisfaction levels and to understand more about what they think is working well for them and where they have concerns.

Emergency Department Physicians Are Confident to Recommend the ED Where They Work

HealthStream Physician Satisfaction SurveysDespite increasing volumes, new regulations, coding deadlines, increased safety concerns, and numerous other pressures, most Emergency Department (ED) Physicians feel good about the hospital where they work and would definitely recommend it to others.

Of the 2,536 Emergency Department Physicians in the HealthStream 2014 Physician database, more than six in ten (62.4%) strongly agree that they would recommend their hospital emergency department to others. As we will see though, that does not mean ED physicians are completely satisfied or that they don’t see some significant opportunities for improvement.

ED Physicians See Room for Improvement

ED Physicians give their highest score to the “efficiency of the emergency department,” with 62% saying they are very satisfied with their hospital’s performance in this area. ED physicians also give high marks to how well their hospital schedules inpatient and outpatient surgeries. The following are the areas in which at least 40% of all ED Physicians say they are “very satisfied” with their hospital’s performance.

 ED Physicians give their highest marks to…

% Very Satisfied

EFFICIENCY OF EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT: The efficiency of the Emergency Department in treating patients

62.0%

SCHEDULING FOR OUTPATIENT SURGERY: Ease of scheduling and performing outpatient surgical procedures with minimum inconvenience and delay for physicians

52.9%

SCHEDULING FOR INPATIENT SURGERY:  Ease of scheduling and performing inpatient surgical procedures with minimum inconvenience and delay for physicians

52.1%

MANAGE EMERGENCIES: Availability of well-trained nursing staff to manage emergencies

44.4%

DIAGNOSTIC TESTS: Ease of scheduling and performing diagnostic tests with minimum inconvenience and delay for patients and physicians

43.0%

TREATMENTOF FAMILY:  How effectively and sensitively families of inpatients are handled throughout their interaction with the hospital

42.0%

TEAMWORK:  How well the nurses, doctors and other staff work together as a team

40.9%

CONDITION OF THE HOSPITAL:  Upkeep of the facility, including cleanliness and maintenance

40.1%

SAFE CARE:  Efforts to provide safe and error-free care to patients

40.1%

This article also includes:

  • What ED Physicians are most concerned about
  • How ED Physicians Are More Satisfied than Other Physicians
  • 10 Key Drivers of Overall Satisfaction for Emergency Department Physicians

Read the entire article here.

Subscribe to PX Alert.

Learn more about BLG's Patient Experience Symposium and Physician Engagement Workshop, occurring July 28-30, in Philadelphia.

 

 

Words that Work Can Create Positive Results, Especially on HCAHPS

  
  
  

This blog post continues our series of patient experience Best Practices from Baptist Leadership Group, a HealthStream Company. Every week we will share information from BLG that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions BLG has identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

Words that Work can also directly correlate to a patient experience survey question. For example, you might decide to add a key phrase to your exit statement such as, “We want to be sure you experience excellent patient service from our hospital.”

The subsequent patient satisfaction survey could ask,“Did you experience excellent patient service?” If all staff have done their jobs and delivered a consistent message, the patient will respond positively.

HealthStream HCAHPS Surveys and CoachingWords that Work and HCAHPS

The purpose behind the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is to uniformly measure and publicly report patients’ perspectives on their inpatient care. What is the difference between HCAHPS and other surveys such as the one that we use to measure patient satisfaction? HCAHPS is designed to report data to consumers by publishing it for public viewing (referred to as transparency); on the other hand, patient satisfaction surveys
report information for our internal use and comparison with competitors.

The HCAHPS survey currently consists of 27 questions. Discharged patients are requested to rate their care based on seven key topics: communication with doctors, communication with
nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, cleanliness and quietness of hospital environment,
pain management, communication about medicines, and discharge information.

It asks such questions as “During this hospital stay, how often did nurses explain things in a way you could understand? How often was the area around your room quiet at night? How often did nurses listen carefully to you?” In response to most of the survey questions, patients are asked to choose one of the following four answers: never, sometimes, usually, always.

Examples of Words That Work

Just as Words that Work can be utilized to directly correlate to a patient satisfaction survey
question, it can also be used to correspond to HCAHPS wording. Some examples are:

  • “Our goal is to make sure you receive excellent care and that our entire team treats you with care and compassion.”
  • “I see that Dr. Jones will be your physician. He has been on our team for the past 5 years. Dr.
    Jones is a hospitalist and specializes in ensuring our patients receive the highest quality of care while they stay with us. He is an excellent communicator.”
  • “Many patients have questions ... I want to make sure I explain the procedure in a way you can understand. Do you have any questions?”
  • “We are committed to making sure that we have a quiet environment for you at night. Please let us know if at any point you are not able to rest at night.”
  • “Our goal is to provide you with very good care every time. We want you to think of us as your hospital of choice.” 
Moments of TruthTM

Moments of Truth is especially valuable in handling certain situations that can be described as “moments of truth” – when a customer comes in contact with our organization and forms an impression, either positive or negative. One moment of truth can irrevocably impact how an
individual perceives his or her entire healthcare experience. Words that Work helps ensure that all customer contacts are good ones.

Identifying potential moments of truth is best achieved through the process of “service mapping.” Every service that we provide has a pathway that patients and their families
follow. There are critical junctures along that pathway where our words and behavior are especially important. These are “touch points” that we can positively influence with Words that Work.

Examples of touch points are: registration, clinical procedures, explaining delays, interdepartmental transfers, and a send-off or good-bye. The use of Words that Work during moments of truth means that we are sending a positive and consistent message; it is thoughtful, planned communication.

Note: Baptist Leadership Group provides Moments of Truth motivational sessions to achieve staff, physician, and leader engagement in patient centered excellence.

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.

Learn more about BLG's Patient Experience Symposium and Physician Engagement Workshop, occurring July 28-30, in Philadelphia.




The Power of Rounding in the Emergency Department

  
  
  

This blog post excerpts an article by Eric W. Heckerson EdD, RN, FACHE; Patient Experience Coach, BLG, in the most recent issue of HealthStream's PX Alert, our quarterly e-newsletter featuring patient experience news, best practices, and learning opportunities.

Leaders often ask which tool is most effective for improving the patient experience in the emergency department. If they were to select and implement just one item with the most impact for enhancing service in the ED, what would it be? The answer to that question is simple. By far, the most powerful tactic that high-performing leaders can employ to create a patient-centered service culture is rounding. While simple in its premise, the implications and effects of purposeful rounding are remarkably effective. Every leader, staff member, and physician in the ED can use rounding in their practice and should consider how the various types of rounding might work for them in their departments.

Patient Experience Coaching for the ED

Rounding Defined

Rounding can take on many forms and functions in a hospital; to optimize its effects and ensure the activity is meaningful, rounding should be conducted with a clear purpose in mind. Purposeful rounding is connecting with another person (either staff or patient) with a specific reason or outcome in mind. Leaders can use rounding as the platform for communicating messages and eliciting feedback from others, depending on the type. Information gathered from rounding should be used to improve the department and its operation.

While having an insight into the definition of rounding is helpful, it is also important for leaders to understand what rounding is not. Rounding is not “management by walking around” or a casual stroll through the department greeting folks as they pass. It is not simply asking, “How are you doing?” in the elevator, saying hello to a patient, or sitting down to have lunch with a direct report in the cafeteria. While such activities are appropriate and generally helpful, purposeful rounding on staff and rounding on patients are much more focused, intentional, and subsequently more effective in changing behavior and achieving desired outcomes.

Types of Rounding in the Emergency Department

Four types of rounding are particularly effective in the emergency department setting:

  1. Leader rounding on staff (to build a relationship with and communicate with staff).
  2. Leader rounding on patients (to validate performance & behaviors).
  3. Leader rounding in the ED lobby (waiting room).
  4. Staff rounding on patients (to keep patients informed and to proactively interact).

Regardless of the type of rounding, there are five steps leaders should follow and apply to the process. The first is to build a relationship (with staff or patient). The second is to set expectations with the person being rounded on, so he or she understands the goal and purpose of the process. The third step requires focusing the inquiry, which allows the leader to adapt questions to focus on a particular topic or purpose. The fourth step is to close the encounter by thanking the person and outlining what you intend to do with the information shared. Finally, the fifth (and arguably most important) step is to act on the information appropriately. These five actions can guide the interaction, but leaders should keep the process natural and relaxed. The hurried and hectic world of healthcare can tempt leaders into simply “checking the box” and going through the motions; resist that temptation and take the time to really get to know the other person. Also allow time for him/her to get to know you.

This article also discusses:

  • Leader Rounding on Staff
  • ED Leader Rounding on Patients
  • Leader Rounding in the ED Lobby
  • Rounding on Patients by Staff
  • Benefits of a Simple Tactic
  • Common Barriers to Rounding in the Emergency Department
  • Coaching Leaders to Round
  • The Impact of Rounding on the Patient Experience

Read the Entire Article.

Subscribe to PX Alert. 

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.

Use Words that Work for Patient Experience Results

  
  
  

This blog post continues our series of patient experience Best Practices from Baptist Leadership Group, a HealthStream Company. Every week we will share information from BLG that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions BLG has identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

Words that Work can--and in fact should--be developed with specific results in mind. Let patient satisfaction surveys be your guide. As you read, learn and investigate, the key words
that are the most meaningful in creating Words that Work will present themselves. Using these phrases and terms of speech will enable you to develop meaningful phrases resulting in improvements where they are most needed. 

Improve the Patient Experience with HealthStreamSome Situations That Benefit from Words that Work

Words that Work are a wonderful tool to help set patient and family expectations for their experience at your organization, which reduces anxiety and supports a culture of patient-centered excellence. Additionally it provides a framework for employees to narrate their care or work.

In dealing with a challenging patient or family member, it is easy to become flustered, defensive, and say the wrong thing. But when we have key words and phrases to fall back on, it is much easier to handle a customer’s comments or challenging behavior. We have the words that will defuse the situation and send the right message.

Words that Work can also be invaluable when conducting service recovery. If a customer experiences a lapse in service, how we handle the situation can make or break the loyalty factor. Research tells us that when we use Words that Work to overcome a negative experience, that person’s perception of us will be positive. And did you know that a
“recovered” customer is actually more loyal than one who did not encounter any problems at all?

Finally, the right words can be critical in changing a negative attitude. Take, for example, the unavoidable inconvenience of waiting that is a part of the healthcare experience. No one likes to wait for an appointment, a test, or a treatment. But when we use key words to acknowledge,
apologize and explain the delay, it can make a huge difference in how the customer feels about
our service. In line with the mission and vision of your healthcare organization, a key phrase might be created that says, “I realize it may take a while for the doctor to see you. I am sorry. Is there anything I can do to help with the inconvenience?”

When Is Words that Work Most Useful? 
  • During the first contact with a patient/customer
  • During a goodbye or transition
  • When telling customers what to expect
  • When apologizing for inconvenience
  • When explaining delays
  • During service recovery
  • When checking for understanding
  • When dealing with irate family members
  • When involved in an emotion-laden situation
  • During a patient hand-off from one staff member to another
  • When communicating crucial information that the customer may not want to hear
  • During clinical procedures
  • During telephone conversations
  • When rounding
  • Orienting patient to unit, department, etc.
  • Managing up a colleague or physician

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.

Top Six Goal-Setting Practices for Healthcare Organizations

  
  
  

Are your employees aware of your healthcare organization’s vision and top objectives? If your organization is like most hospitals and healthcare organizations, employees do not have any insight into your key objectives. While there’s a lot of talk in healthcare about the importance of setting and measuring goals, many hospital objectives don’t make it past the C-suite for myriad reasons, including lack of clarity, relevance, and follow-through.

Our recent white paper, Making Goals Matter: The Power of Cascading Goals in Healthcare,
by Dorothy Duncan, Product Manager, HealthStream, featured the following guidelines for setting organizational goals. 

  1. HealthStream Performance Center, feturing Cascading GoalsLess Is Always Better. Limit the number of organizational goals to no more than five. Having too many goals creates competing priorities and lack of clarity. The more goals that are set, the number of goals actually achieved will fall. Limiting the amount of goals set ensures the goals selected are of higher importance and higher quality, and there will be more time and energy to complete them successfully.
  2. Focus on the Rollout. Cascading systems start at the top but are achieved from the bottom up. Start with a clear communications strategy around goals. Often, organizations have goals that are imposed, where staff members have to achieve something they can’t do or something they don’t understand. In successful organizations, leaders get input from staff on how the organization is doing before goals are established. For example, if a department’s HCAHPS scores are at the 20th percentile and the executives set a goal for employees to "increase HCAHPS score to the 75th percentile," staff will become frustrated or even worse, ignore the goal all together. Any new system requires strong communication and buy-in from other leaders before it will be a success with staff.
  3. Identify Key Stakeholders. These are the individuals who are going to take the data and influence others. For example, when creating finance goals, the finance leader needs to be in the discussion and become a stakeholder and cheerleader. In addition to finance, typical stakeholders are leaders in nursing, HR, physician management, quality, and environmental services. These key stakeholders in turn set the tone for their employees as to whether this new system is something that is beneficial and whether they should all get on board.
  4. Have Clear Goals, Measurements, and Desired Outcomes. Know your target outcomes before you establish and communicate goals. Problems occur from the moment a goal is written down if it is not specific enough. Don’t leave it up to staff to guess what you mean. Also, develop a consistent rating scale that tells staff what targets they are trying to achieve. For example, explain to them what equates to a 1, 2, 3, or 4 on the evaluation scale. Or, share what equates to meeting or exceeding expectations. It is not enough to say, "We want to improve."
  5. Tailor Goals to Departments and Individuals. Present oals that are in line with departmental and employee responsibilities. As gals are cascaded down to employees, they should be job-specific, not overarching to the extent that a person feels like he/she cannot contribute. or example, if a hospital has an organizational goal of reducing expenses by 5 ercent, strategize how this will filter down. One goal may be for departments t find a new vendor for a specific piece of equipment. This makes the goal ealistic and practical for people. Or, if one department has the same three eople for 20 years, don’t force them to address a corporate goal of reducing
    employee turnover. Instead differentiate on what they are responsible for and how they have performed in the past.
  6. Be Honest During Evaluations and Hold Staff Accountable. Transparency is critical. It is common for managers to provide evaluations that are not actually based on whether or not the goal was met. If a department fails to reach a specific score, do not give the employees a positive mark for trying, even though lenience is tempting. This will only serve to erode accountability. 

With so much change and uncertainty occurring in healthcare, having a strong goal system enables organizations and their employees to connect in meaningful ways. It motivates individuals to create and participate in a strong culture of performance. Cascading goal systems ensure that when a goal leaves the executive suite, it is tied to people and processes all the way down the line. It is in this setting that staff begin to understand the difference their work makes outside of their daily domains. Organizations that become skilled at administering results-focused goal systems also gain a clearer vision of their strengths and weaknesses. 

In addition to this list, the white paper includes:

  • Understanding and Addressing Goal-Setting Challenges in Healthcare
  • Aligning Goals to Key Employee Groups
  • HealthStream’s Cascading Goal Management and Consulting Services

Complete this form to download the white paper.

 

Improved CE Management: A HealthStream Customer-Guided Success

  
  
  

A conversation with Pat Fragala, MN, RN, Education Coordinator and HealthStream Learning Center (HLC) System Administrator, Organizational Development, Corporate HR, Emory Healthcare

Passion for Continuing Education

Emory Healthcare is a six-hospital system with multiple physician offices in and around Atlanta, Georgia. As the HealthStream Learning Center System Administrator, Pat understands the value of continuing education. She is passionate about helping Emory staff get the credits they need to keep doing what they love doing. Many of those credits come from courses authored by internal subject matter experts at Emory. Thus, part of Pat’s job is adding and monitoring continuing education (CE) from the Georgia Nurses Association (GNA) and the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) This includes getting staff the certificates they need, the organization the documentation it needs, as well as ensuring all deadlines are met to keep CEs current on these courses. Pat is dedicated to keeping course accreditations current so that staff members aren’t taking the time to complete a course for which they can’t receive credit.

HealthStream CE CenterProactive CE Credit Management

The HealthStream Learning Center has always awarded Emory staff the right CE, but, as a provider, Pat wondered if there was an easy way to manage the CE of authored courses. She wanted to be able to quickly provide her colleagues with a list of courses with CE that staff could take, but, more importantly, to proactively monitor courses with expiring CE to get ahead of deadlines.

HealthStream and Customers Collaborate to Innovate

HealthStream’s Online Community allows customers to share ideas, ask questions, and learn from one another. A HealthStream Learning Center System Administrator at another HealthStream customer site submitted an official idea in the Ideas section of the Community for a CE Credit Report—a dynamic report, filterable by Accrediting Body and course expiration date or course creation date, that aggregates all vital course details in one view. Pat noticed this idea that supported her desire for easier CE credit management, up-voted it, and added her own color commentary. In fact, this idea had 78 votes by members of the HealthStream Community, the third highest rated idea in the ideas section. When Tom Noser, Associate Vice President of Learning and Authoring at HealthStream, noticed the popularity this idea was receiving during a routine review of Community activity, he had his team reach out to Pat directly for guidance and feedback about what she’d like to see on this new report and how she’d prefer to use this reporting functionality. Discussions on this idea began in January 2014 and the new report tool was released in April 2014. 

Impact: Easier CE Credit Management

We have customers like Emory Healthcare to thank for bringing the CE Credit Report to life. Pat tells us that now more than ever, the ability to quickly identify which courses offer CE is vitally important, as the Georgia Nurses Association has mandated this year that nurses must complete at least 30 hours of CE biennially to maintain their licensure. She excitedly announced that she can now breathe easier, having all the information she needs at her fingertips to fulfill colleague requests and manage the CE process for courses created by Emory Healthcare. She assures us that the CE Credit Report will be an invaluable tool in helping Emory Healthcare stay on top of CE expiration dates and allow department heads to disseminate course information to staff eager for CE credit.

“The CE Credit Report is a valuable tool in helping Emory Healthcare stay on top of CE expiration dates. Everyone can use a helpful reminder. Working with HealthStream to develop this tool was a painless, easy process.”

Pat Fragala, MN, RN, Education Coordinator and HLC System Administrator, Organizational Development, Corporate HR, Emory Healthcare 

The CE Credit Report is now live in the HealthStream Learning Center administrator site. If you are a current HealthStream customer, explore the HealthStream Community and consider submitting an idea of your own!

If you’d like to speak to a HealthStream Representative about implementing the HealthStream Learning Center at your organization, click here.

Words That Work and Their Benefits for the Patient Experience

  
  
  

This blog post continues our series of patient experience Best Practices from Baptist Leadership Group, a HealthStream Company. Every week we will share information from BLG that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions BLG has identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

What are Words That Work?

Improve Patient Experience with Words That WorkWords that Work is a system for meaningful healthcare communications. It involves the use of specific phrases, behaviors and body language to help us deliver the service that enhances care experiences and builds customer loyalty. This practice is a next generation approach to scripting” that is designed to connect emotionally with patients, family members, and fellow staff. It is planned communication that reflects and supports the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Using Words that Work helps us meet the challenge of choosing the right words at the right time. Plus, it serves as a guide to what to say and how to handle any given situations, including sometimes difficult encounters. 

While the words used are important, the actions that accompany them are just as significant. Words that Work includes positive body language, maintaining eye contact, smiling, and giving full attention. It is not a matter of being mechanical or phony-sounding while interacting with customers. And it isn’t a system for restricting staff in what they say, nor is it meant to make employees sound like robots. 

Instead, Words that Work ensures that our customers hear the words and experience the behaviors that mean the most to them. It makes certain that everyone communicates the same, consistent messages of care, concern, and willingness to help. We need to provide this consistency because it reassures our customers that they will receive very good care.  

In addition, the process embodied in Words that Work helps to ensure that customers’ perception of their healthcare experience overall is a positive one. It achieves this by putting the individual’s emotional experience and human interactions at the heart of the healing process.

What are Words That Work?

Words That Work are:

  • Saying the right thing
  • Good, positive body language
  • Eye contact
  • Smiling
  • Giving full attention
  • Sending a uniform, positive
    message

Benefits of Words That Work

Words that Work is a valuable tool. It is a form of consistent communication that helps us handle certain scenarios, meet people’s expectations, and form positive first impressions. Our healthcare environment is one wherein our customers often are not comfortable. They are apprehensive about what will happen to them, they don’t understand our “language”, and they
struggle to reach a comfort level. When we use Words that Work, our language is caring and creates a safe, comfortable environment for them. Thus we help patients and their family members overcome their fears and reassure them--we connect with them emotionally as human beings.

We demonstrate that we, as their caregivers, understand and are responsive to their needs; we respect their values and preferences. Finally, Words that Work sets the stage for customer loyalty.

Words that Work Helps Us Do Five Things

  1. Deliver a positive message in a consistent way to our customers.
  2. Assure a high level of service performance.
  3. Have the “right words at the right time” for challenging situations.
  4. Ensure that the people we are serving feel important and valued.
  5. Connect emotionally with our customers.

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.

The Importance of Patient-Centered Communication in the ED

  
  
  

This blog post excerpts an article by Katie Owens, Vice President, HealthStream, and Practice Leader, BLG, in the most recent issue of HealthStream's PX Alert, our quarterly e-newsletter featuring patient experience news, best practices, and learning opportunities. 

BLG Coaching for the EDFor 100% of the patients who seek treatment in your Emergency Departments each day, month, and year there is one important common attribute—they are all seeking care for their own personal emergencies. They were not planning to be a patient, may have experienced an abrupt symptom, illness, or accident, and deemed the safest place was your hospital’s emergency department. Given the emergency necessitating the visit, what are their clinical and emotional needs? At HealthStream, through patient insights, we use the voice of the patients who are seeking emergency department care as a means of coaching healthcare organizations towards improvement. Each year we listen to over 320,000 voices of emergency department patients and use them to coach America’s Emergency Departments on achieving patient centered excellence and improving outcomes.

Among the patients who shared their feedback, the following are “key drivers” of their emergency department experience.

HealthStream PX Alert

While we all recognize the Emergency Department is a dynamic environment, working in it as a leader, employee, or physician can be very familiar—the sights, sounds, urgencies, and dynamics. Until you step into the gown, slippers, and shoes of your ED patients, you are missing a vital awareness of the impact your communication has on their experience and quality of care. How we communicate matters. If you ever question this, reflect on a time that you felt more comfortable after the pilot of your airplane explained the reason for turbulence during a rocky flight. Likely the communication was reassuring to you (although turbulence is commonplace for pilots).

Unlike many challenges that plague Emergency Departments (throughput, flow, holding, diversion, etc.), patient-centered communication immediately affects patient experience and only requires development and validation of this skill among team members. While not always simple, it is a “learning muscle” that can be built and honed over time

While it is widely recognized that communication is one of the most important aspects of both care and experience, we also know that communication is one of healthcare’s biggest challenges.

This article features:

  • Engage Your Team: The Patient Experience Begins in the Emergency Department
  • Defining Patient-Centered Communication
  • Impacting the Emergency Department Experience with Patient-Centered Communication
  • Using Words that Work to Impact the Patient Experience in the ED
  • Steps to Creating and Introducing Words that Work in the Emergency Department

Link here to the entire article.

Subscribe to PX Alert.

 

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.

Communicating for Hourly Rounding: Patient Experience Best Practices

  
  
  

This blog post continues our series of patient experience Best Practices from Baptist Leadership Group, a HealthStream Company. Every week we will share information from BLG that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions BLG has identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

BLG Hourly Rounding Training and CoachingAs discussed, it is critical for leaders to role model a commitment to rounding, to evaluating staff’s effectiveness and to giving both praise and coaching for improvement. If leaders are not rounding on patients, then there is no way to ensure every patient is being rounded on hourly.

Leaders should be prepared to manage up hourly rounding to patients upon admission and validate its occurrence through purposeful rounding.

Two resources that will also support validation of hourly rounding are updating the Hourly Rounding Log and the patient’s communication or white board.

How Leaders Can Start Hourly Rounding

Getting Started with Leader Rounding on Patients:

    • Round on one patient per one nurse/caregiver/staff member daily
    • Validate whether actions are occurring consistently
    • Provide feedback when not consistent
    • Seek recognition for staff and Share, Share, Share success stories
    • Document all on your rounding log

Communication Suggestions for Hourly Rounding

Hourly Rounding is not simply the mechanics of the 5 P’s but rather an integral way we demonstrate our commitment to excellent care. It requires two-way communication with patients, managing up the process and compelling staff to narrate their care. Below are some example Words that Work™ to support Hourly Rounding:

Upon Admission: "Welcome to 4 North; my name is Anne. I am your nurse/PCA, and our goal is for every patient to receive excellent care. Let me tell you what excellent care looks like on our unit and what you can expect…"

Opening Words that Work: "One of our commitments to provide excellent care to every patient is we will round on you every hour during the day and every two hours at night. We will be checking to make sure you are comfortable, you have your personal needs met and you are receiving the best quality."

Comfort: "I am here to do my hourly rounds for your comfort. Can you tell me your level of pain now that you have received your pain medication?"

Perform Scheduled Task: "Mr. Jones, your goal today is to get out of bed and walk to the nurses’ station twice. I am going to update your communication board. Gaining strength is important for you to be able to go home Friday."

Restroom/Potty: "Can I help you to the bathroom?"

Environmental Assessment: "Every time we round, we are going to check to make sure your bedside table and everything else you need, like the call light, TV and bed control, and garbage can are within your reach. It is important for you to be able to reach your call bell if you need help. Is there anything else I can do for you? I have the time."

Closing: "We will be back to round on you again in one hour."

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.

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