"Confessions of the Undercover Patient"- Empowering Employees to Reinvent the Patient Experience.
In today’s challenging healthcare industry where every team member is relied upon to deliver an exceptional patient experience each and every day, workforce engagement is pivotal to success. Empowering employees to transform care is vital to any patient care-centered organization and is key to North Shore-LIJ’s core values and mission. As one of the nation’s largest health systems with over 42,000 dedicated employees across metropolitan New York, North Shore-LIJ operates 15 hospitals, dozens of outpatient centers, a renowned Research Institute and hundreds of physician practices, all responsible for delivering care to more than 6 million community members. The 2010 winner of the National Quality Forum’s Healthcare Quality Award, North Shore-LIJ has been recognized for a demonstrated commitment to quality and transparency and to that end relies on its entire workforce to provide the highest quality care to patients, families and visitors. With the recent shift of Medicare reimbursement being given to hospitals based on patient satisfaction culled through public surveys and quality of care, an urgent emphasis is being made on employee empowerment—ensuring that every individual who works for North Shore-LIJ is engaged, inspired and ready to deliver on the organization’s mission of providing an exceptional patient experience. While the organization has made huge strides over the years to enhance employee engagement around patient outcomes, and has achieved significant quality improvements, there is still work to be done with regards to motivating employees to be change agents.
Almost anyone who has been a patient or who has seen a loved one as a patient in a traditional healthcare environment can attest to the emotional rollercoaster one faces during a hospitalization. As employees go about their daily work, a reminder of how it feels to be a patient would be an eye-opener as to how each team member’s interactions—no matter how large or small—truly impact the patient experience.
“Confessions of the Undercover Patient” will be a system-wide campaign to uncover the real experiences and observations faced by patients in our health system through the experiences of our employees. Using social media tools such as blogs and Facebook, the undercover employees will serve as the eyes and ears of a patient, journaling what it’s like to come in contact with hundreds of team members throughout the course of their patient experience. As they encounter both positive and negative experiences, the undercover employee patients will “share” the information real-time on public channels that will be promoted internally, to spark positive change in the health system. Ultimately the goal is to inspire employees with real-life stories to ignite change in the name of patient care, and to reinforce the amazing work thousands of our team members are already doing on a daily basis which can serve as a benchmark for future employee performance.
- Engage our workforce
- Capture the best (and worst) through observing real-life frontline operations
- Increase morale
- Utilize social media to intimately capture how our team members best serve our customers and highlight the areas of improvement
- Leadership and middle management sometimes isolated from direct patient care experiences
- Not enough recognition of change agents in workforce
- Lack of passion among some team members, particularly those who don’t actually “touch” patients on a daily basis
- Lack of enthusiasm for system-wide change
The campaign rationale for “Confessions of the Undercover Patient” is that our senior leadership can see how well (or not) team member interactions impact the patient experience and institute positive change that can be replicated across the organization.
- Enlist members of various talent pools including senior management to blog their experiences as they become undercover patients in disguise.
- When the blogged experiences are revealed, the senior leadership team will highlight jobs well-done (regarding exceptional patient care) and what areas are causes for concern requiring immediate action.
- Our senior leadership team will get to know more of our team members personally.
- Findings will be debuted at a grand rally hosted by our CEO to recognize the all-star players and will be telecast throughout the health system.
- Improved patient care
- Increased team member engagement
- Recognition of all-star performers, inspiring others to perform better
- Set up dedicated blog
- Set timeframe to execute
- Select target departments and talent pools for participation; prepare volunteers for going undercover