Focusing on Outpatient Services to Improve the Patient Experience: Holy Redeemer Health System (Part 2 of 2)

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HRHS-thumb1On Wednesday, we looked at how Holy Redeemer Health System was focusing more attention on its outpatient services as a means of improving the patient experience. We also looked at how the Holy Redeemer team has adopted a more imaginative, less scores-oriented approach to the patient experience.

After defining what it meant by patient experience and setting in place the ideal structure for the patient experience, Holy Redeemer then moved to what it called its “brand promise,” which, simply put, is the motto, “Caring for you and about you,” Jacqueline Fellows of HealthLeaders Media writes.

Holy Redeemer’s first mission was to educate employees on what patient interaction really means. The team did this by developing “five categories of behavior types…tied to the system’s brand promise.” The categories included healing presence and expert care and focused on behavior and communication in those patient interactions.

Then, there was the concept of dreamscaping: “Patient experience can’t be just about building new environments,” Chris Holt, chief experience officer and vice president of marketing and public affairs, said. “The dreamscaping isn’t just about the space; it’s about what happens in the space.”

Fellows writes, “The culmination of dreamscaping and storytelling was built out in Holy Redeemer HealthCare at Bensalem, a 22,000-square-foot outpatient clinic devoted to delivering the ultimate patient experience. The facility opened in October 2012 and includes primary care, obstetrics and gynecology, and breast surgeons, as well as lab and imaging services.”

Dreamscaping involves a great deal of make-believe, what Holt calls “a story structure, which is meant to prompt patients to think about their own health story.” This includes dubbing hallways boulevards, waiting rooms living rooms, and giving the interior design a nature-oriented theme.

The organization has received anecdotal evidence that this dreamscaped environment is working, Holt told Fellows, and a mystery shopper company hired by Holy Redeemer gave a 98-percent satisfaction rating to Bensalem, while other facilities received a 76 percent rating. In the next 18 months, Holy Redeemer will find out how dreamscaping is really working when HCAHPS scores, patient volumes, and brand awareness are able to be more thoroughly measured.

Then, there’s Holy Redeemer University, which is designed, Fellows writes, “to maintain the momentum for the system’s ambitious patient-experience trajectory.” This “training program…will eventually educate all 4,000 employees over the next couple of years.”

Holt said, “Holy Redeemer University is really about aligning everyone’s thinking and their work, i.e., giving them that foundation in what we expect them to do, what we want them to deliver on.”

Whether all of these efforts will change Holy Redeemer’s culture remains to be seen. It’s a “grand experiment” to be sure, but Holt is optimistic: “For me, the brand lived on a page or brand was a concept. To actually be able to help people act on it has been very fulfilling. It’s really changed the way I approach my work, and also understanding more about who we are and connecting to that on an everyday basis.”

As healthcare executives, does the approach  Holy Redeemer is taking strike a chord with you? What experiments have you tried in improving the patient experience at your organization? Have you incorporated more of a “story structure” into your continuum of care? What are the merits to dreamscaping that you can see, and what is your organization’s brand promise?

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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