Doing Better: The Transparency Tactic

In a world swarming with millennials and linksters, service industries are changing, including healthcare.

Long gone are the days when business could shout with a megaphone who they say they are and think that anyone would believe them. Today, with the internet in our pockets and customer reviews available to anyone at anytime for practically any service,  companies are no longer who they say they are–they are who we, their consumers, say they are.

We listen not only to online reviews but also to our neighbors, our communities on Facebook and Twitter.  Marketing campaigns are only as successful as the truth that spills out all over the internet, available with a swipe of a finger.

Healthcare does not get to jump ship on this. As consumers, patients and those involved in their care have every right to seek out healthcare experiences where they not only get the quality of care they want but also are treated in a way where they feel valued as a human being. Their clinical care could have been absolutely solid, but if they felt ignored, not listened to, disrespected or treated poorly, caregivers do not get free pass.

Patients have a voice in a way they’ve never had before, and CAHPS is just a small part of it. Even without the five star ratings, patients are talking and  listening to each other in ways that weren’t possible even ten years ago.  Although healthcare is moving at a snail’s pace, it is moving nonetheless towards accepting and coming to terms with what all of this means.

Organizations like the University of Utah Health Care and Wake Forest Baptist Health are leading the way, grasping the opportunity to use the technology and values of these generations to drive improvement in ways-up until recently-were rarely talked about in healthcare.

One of the ways they are doing this is by going fully transparent with their patient experience data rating online. They aren’t just posting the good things-they are posting everything. Not only does this give patients and their loved ones information when it comes to choosing their healthcare providers, it also is getting the attention of providers in a big way.

In Beyond the Buzz: Transparency Drives Real Improvement, Dr. Thomas Lee, Chief Medical Officer at Press Ganey, says that stepping into full transparency should be done thoughtfully and considerately. He recommends three phases: “First, collect more [good] data and report it to clinicians. Next, share it openly within the organization. Finally, go public.” 

He thinks transparency will play a key role in driving positive change among clinicians:
“…I think the most powerful way to get clinicians to focus on improvement is to share data publicly. And the data that seem most compelling when shared are patient comments. Everyone can spend all day arguing about the methodology use to analyze date, but a comment is a comment–it’s a unit of data. Something good or something bad happened (and most comments are good). Even if the something bad is a rarity, that doesn’t change the fact that it happened.”

It only makes sense. No one wants a bad review. And when it’s out there for all the world, including your own colleagues and patients to see, it naturally drives the question, “How can I do better?”

And that’s a question we should always be asking.






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