Speaker Interview

Chris Thrash, President,CEO, Chris Thrash & Associates, USA

Q-1 If you could redesign health care delivery – what key things would you change to transform patient view of the service experience?

How patients view the service experience can differ in various locations and healthcare organizations. Successful organizations manage patients’ perceptions by setting expectations for the patient instead of leaving the patient with setting their own expectations. One key tool is to under promise and over deliver. If we know a patient’s meal tray should arrive to their room around 11:30 AM, we set ourselves up for success by saying, “Your tray will be arriving by 11:45 AM.” If the tray arrives at 11:30 AM, the patient is happy. If it arrives at 11:45 AM, you have still met their expectations. This is one simple example, but managing patients’ perceptions of service is vital for success

Q-2 Patient Centered Care delivery is focus of health care providers worldwide. The quest has been to engage and empower patients to take greater responsibility for their health. We have had mixed success. Is it possible to truly engage patients and their families in their care? If so, why is it so challenging in today’s health care delivery model?

Healthcare organizations that are consistently performing well in patient experience and are building reliability and sustainability are fiercely focused on the human connection and relationships. The right strategies and tactics will build better ways to have open, honest dialogue about what really matters to patients and family members. We create healing relationships with patients and families through partnership and trusted care that is compassionate and responsive. We say to those we serve, “If it matters to you, it is important to us.” In today’s hectic healthcare schedule, many times staff members may think it will take too much time to orient patients and families in how to be engaged in their care. However, those organizations that make this an important part of the patient experience will enjoy great success.

Q-3 What role does active patient engagement have in fostering a better service experience and heighten patient satisfaction? Why do you think that?

Many years ago, I partnered with a hospital in the U.S. along with the Disney Institute to produce a training film called “PRIDE: What Does Exceptional Service Look and Sound Like?” In the training, we focused on the five major needs of patients – Privacy, Respect, Involvement, Dignity and Empathy. (The acronym was P.R.I.D.E.) We defined for each of these major needs what they looked and sounded like. For example, if we are wanting patients and families to feel more involved in their care, we find ways to give them choices that are within their scope of care. Even simple things like allowing them to choose various meals within their diet, finding out what the most important thing we can do them for that day, and even asking if they want their door closed or shut, etc. All of these things can greatly impact patient involvement and engagement.

Q-4 What impact should health care providers expect from a concentrated focus on patient experience?

Research over the years has shown that high employee engagement usually leads to high patient satisfaction. However, many times, however, we forget to recognize that providing a great patient experience greatly increases employee engagement as well. Happier patients are less often to complain or be in need of service recovery. Dissatisfied patients take up a tremendous amount of staff member’s time and distract them from the care they need to provide to other patients and families. Focusing on the patient experience also allows leaders to develop meaningful reward and recognition programs that give a true sense of appreciation for their hard work and focus on giving great care. These organizations enjoy dramatically improved patient and employee satisfaction, increases to the financial bottom-line, better positioning in a competitive market, and increased employee retention.

Q-5 How do you think this congress will impact healthcare providers in their aim to achieve px excellence and drive towards ‘patient centricity’, and why is such a platform important for the healthcare sector in the region?

“The Patient Experience Excellence Congress will be a top learning opportunity for those seeking to better understand the patient experience and the many components associated with creating a culture of service excellence. In reviewing the speaker panel and topics, I am impressed with the knowledge base that will be gathered in many various areas. Participants will understand the ROI in the patient experience which encompasses not only financial increases, but also many benefits for patients, families and hospital staff members. One area many organizations will sometimes struggle in is achieving results, but then an inability to sustain the change. This will be discussed. There will also be many great sessions on patient engagement, the power of strong employee engagement, and mastering the utilization of patient experience measurement to drive change in areas identified. All healthcare organizations struggle with silos in many different ways. The Patient Experience Excellence Congress will be a great opportunity to learn about these divisions and how we can successfully tear them down. If you want to truly understand how to build a culture of service excellence based on the patient experience, you won’t want to miss The Patient Experience Excellence Congress. Look forward to seeing you there!”