Month: June 2017

two men graduating from college graphic from stamp & chase

Powerful Advice for True Patient Advocates: “Thou Shall Not Stand Idly By”

During this year’s graduation season, my alma mater Washington University in St. Louis published a brief but compelling article titled, “A decade of lasting lessons.” Recalling meaningful advice from commencement speakers and honorees over the past ten years, the article offered counsel from personalities ranging from retired Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa to “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert (who sadly passed away just one year after his speech to Washington U. graduates). While all of the quotes were powerful in different ways, the life advice of two courageous speakers struck me as especially important for those of us who profess to be patient advocates and say we are committed to improving the patient experience. From Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in 2011: My commandment is,

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Medical employee holding patients hand

The Ultimate Compliment for Healthcare Providers

It was almost nine o’clock in the evening when I finally arrived at my hotel in Indianapolis from a long day of meetings and travel in preparation for the full-day workshop I would lead the next day. I was tired, but I was also hungry. I asked the front-desk clerk as I checked in if there was a place nearby where I could still get a quick bite. She pointed across the lobby and said, “I think Joan over in the bar can still get you something to eat.” The bar at the suburban hotel where I was staying was not exactly a hot spot on a Monday night. There were only two other people at a small table talking when I walked in and

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spinning plates graphic from stamp & chase

In patient experience work, there’s no “Silver Bullet.” But are you trying to keep too many plates spinning?

In a recent blog post, I argued that the problem of searching for a single, easy-to-implement patient engagement tactic goes beyond the fact that one doesn’t exist. Believing that a simple silver bullet strategy is out there actually stymies continuous improvement, innovation and effective implementation. So if there is no single silver bullet, one might reasonably jump to the conclusion that a shotgun approach – implementing multiple solutions simultaneously – would produce better results. But that strategy has real flaws, as well. When I was working closely with the Experience Team at Ascension Health several years ago, we termed it “initiative fatigue.” In other words, teams were trying to launch and sustain so many different initiatives to improve care that they lost focus. It felt like

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medical staff in a team meeting with stamp & chase

Three Messages Your Staff Want and Need to Hear Most

Whether you are a senior executive, middle manager or frontline staff member, health care seems to get more complicated every day. Endless regulations, increasing financial challenges, pressures to guarantee quality and safety. And now, the uncertainty of health care reform. But while the issues become increasingly complex, the communication frontline health care professionals need most from managers arguably becomes more straightforward, focused and— perhaps counterintuitively— basic as times get more complicated. Think about frontline employees’ most fundamental concerns. Do you appreciate my work, especially in light of the stress I’m often under? Have you helped me understand important issues and our responses to them? Do you care about my feelings on subjects and circumstances that really matter to me? Staff members understand that times are

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