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Massini: Goal is to improve patient experience

Penn State Health CEO Steve Massini on Thursday sent the following email to Penn State Health employees:

Dear Colleagues,

I appreciate the terrific feedback to last week’s message about the first of our FY 2020 organizational goals — enhancing quality and safety. Some of you shared thoughts about new technologies or research that may improve patient outcomes, while others shared personal experiences with our health system so that we can do better. Every response was thoughtful and appreciated. Thank you.

This week I want to introduce our second goal: patient experience. Specifically, our goal is to improve patient experience across the health system by 2%.

Patient experience is someone’s entire experience with us – from the moment they call to schedule an appointment to payment of their final bill. It includes:

  • How they are treated in person and on the phone
  • How easily they obtained an appointment, followed by how easily they parked, found their location and checked in
  • How well we communicated and partnered with them on decisions about their care
  • How clean our buildings are, and what they thought of our food
  • How thoroughly we explained their aftercare and followed up with them
  • How easily they accessed their patient record and understood their bill

Every interaction – with a person or a technology – affects the way they view our health system.

Patient experience is an important indicator for measuring quality in health care, as research shows it affects clinical outcomes. Patient experience affects patient retention and our reputation among our peers. But more important than all of that – our patient satisfaction scores reflect how well we care for the people in our community who have entrusted us with their health.

Organizationally, we are addressing system-wide challenges. We are working on plans to upgrade our phone system and other technologies that frequently cause frustration for patients. Our newest outpatient practices at Lime Spring and Mechanicsburg are designed to enhance patient flow and care coordination. We continue to optimize CareConnect, expand access to care and improve our directions and parking.

Recognizing that each of us is the face of Penn State Health, and small actions can have a big impact, I asked a few colleagues for examples of things we can all do – beyond providing excellent health care – that can enhance our patients’ experience. Here are a few:

  • Smile and greet patients
  • Escort visitors to a location, rather than pointing them toward it
  • Put away phones in the halls so that you can make eye contact
  • Assist patients with elevators
  • Call a shuttle for a patient rather than hand them the phone number
  • When a patient is running late because of arriving at the wrong location, call the appointment location to let them know
  • Report spills, overflowing trash cans and bathrooms that need attention
  • Say “I’ll find out” – and then do it – rather than say “I don’t know”
  • Have a friendly conversation with someone in a waiting area – just because
  • Say “Thank you” and don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” when we don’t meet expectations

Got more ideas? Please send them my way by replying to this email. Next week, I’ll highlight our employee satisfaction goal and some of the endeavors underway to address the challenges raised in the recent employee engagement survey.

Have a great rest of the week.

Steve Massini

Chief Executive Officer

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