Transforming the patient experience

September 25, 2017 | by Mary Lou Mastro

We’ve got a mantra here at Edward-Elmhurst Health: safe, seamless, personal.

We want our patients to have secure, easy-to-manage, meaningful experiences every time they’re in our care. We’re working hard to make this reality through our Transformation PX™ initiative.

We’re training our entire system staff, including non-clinical folks, on safety. We’re paying close attention to our compassionate caregiving. And we’re working the kinks out of the logistics of receiving care.

To that last point, we followed our patients’ experiences from start to finish. What happens when a patient attempts to schedule an appointment? How long does she sit in the waiting room? How many phone calls does it take to schedule needed tests and follow-up appointments?

Our senior staff partnered with actual patients who were in treatment at Edward-Elmhurst. They saw and documented everything the patient went through for an entire year.

We’ve made a huge commitment to TransformationPX™ -- safe, seamless personal. We want to address all the fragmentation and friction that can occur over the course of a patient’s care.

I found this project so fascinating because we tapped into the patients to tell us exactly what happens. For so long we’ve relied on our own insight as to what we think the patient experience is. The problem is, none of us as caregivers have traveled the patient journey. We don’t see what they go through.

A physician may be familiar with what happens in her office, but that physician doesn’t see what patients have to go through to schedule appointments or get tests and lab work done.

In this project, we focused on cardiology with the intent of using what we learn in all of our departments. We talked to physician office staff, rehabilitation, diagnostics, surgery and cardiologists to map out the patient experience from their perspective.

The panel of patients and their family members detailed their experiences. For 12 months, the patients used tablets or journals to log their experiences at Edward-Elmhurst, and senior staff shadowed them on appointments.

The project highlighted how we need to streamline our system. Now, we're working to determine the next steps to meet our goal: safe, seamless, personal care for every patient.

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