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How World-Class Healthcare Systems Improve the Patient Experience

How World-Class Healthcare Systems Improve the Patient Experience

by Katie Bell

The rising cost of healthcare in the United States coupled with the absence of return on investment for Americans' health is an important concern for many leaders across the country. And as many health systems adopt new strategies to reduce patient readmission rates and improve Hospital Consumer Assessments of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores, clear measurement of patient outcomes and performance indicators have never been more essential.

At the 2012 Gallup Healthcare Summit held earlier this month, experts from some of the world's most pre-eminent healthcare systems discussed successful, evidence-based leadership practices and innovative strategies for improving care and the patient experience. These healthcare leaders adopted behavioral economic indicators that predicted outcomes for their healthcare systems, improved their operating margins, and engaged their employees.

Healthcare leaders from innovative institutions such as Cleveland Clinic, Bon Secours, University of Pennsylvania Health System, and MultiCare Health System shared best practices that healthcare systems can use to offer the best care available, while running efficiently and profitably.

  • Look internally for innovation: Healthcare executives must make tough decisions regarding how to improve the patient experience, while paying attention to increasing healthcare costs. While it is important to look externally for innovative ideas for delivery of patient care and cost savings to stay ahead of the curve, some of the best innovative capital comes from employees within the organization.
  • Care for the caregiver: World-class healthcare systems like the Cleveland Clinic have leadership teams who are committed to building a culture that focuses on the patient experience. Managers provide ongoing recognition and rewards for engaged work teams who provide exceptional patient care.
  • Develop leadership academies that work: Traditionally, healthcare leaders -- who are trained clinicians -- lack the tools, skills, and training to manage people. World-class hospitals identify their employees' leadership potential and then put them through a year-long leadership academy. A class of high-potential leaders graduates each year. These hospitals have metrics and rigor around leadership, which is beneficial for succession planning.
  • Develop a specific plan to reduce readmission rates: Gallup research has identified predictive survey items that allow hospital care teams to take action with a patient before discharge in an effort to reduce the likelihood a patient will be readmitted within 30 days.

For more information on how healthcare leaders can deliver higher quality care, while achieving greater financial success, visit the Gallup Healthcare Knowledge Center.

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