Engagement Beyond the Office Walls

Patient engagement through co-design is exactly what our healthcare delivery system is calling for, but providers struggle to find time and methods to achieve this goal.

Something to consider is looking for areas outside of the traditional office setting to engage patients and staff. When a patient comes in for a visit there always seems to be an excessive amount of paperwork for them to complete, so speaking to patients prior to being seen by the physician can be difficult due to time constraints. As a result, many providers collect surveys about the patient’s experience after the appointment, though these are typically quantifiable surveys. While there is value in collecting these types of surveys, quickly assessing levels of satisfaction and experience rating, for instance—understanding why a patient-rated a 3 out of 5 instead of 4 out of 5 is the value gained from qualitative surveys like “What Matters to You?”

Qualitative surveying can yield incredible results—giving a greater understanding of both patient and staff needs and what they care about most. So how do you get someone to complete this type of survey when all they want to do is get out of the office? Ask outside of the office!

Benefits of Asking Outside the Office:

  • Patients have time to reflect on their experience; objectivity comes with space and time.
  • Patients can articulate positive aspects of an experience, not just focus on the negative
  • Staff feels more comfortable expressing authentic feelings outside of their workplace. 
  • Patients provide more generalized wants and needs, rather than getting stuck on small nuances from a very specific visit—providing a “bigger picture” outlook of what matters to patients in healthcare, ideas for how to improve, and to highlight what goes well.

Recently, our team implemented the What Matters To You survey (WMTY) at a free educational program for potential and former total joint replacement patients and providers. The event was centered around bone and joint health and wellness. Educational programs are ideal venues for collecting qualitative data. With an engaged population, it is much easier to convey the value of knowing patient and staff viewpoints to understand what truly matters to them. With the actionable information gathered in these collaborative settings, providers were able to involve the proper stakeholders in the improvement and delivery of better healthcare and better experiences.

For providers, giving feedback outside the workplace allowed for authentic and candid answers about care delivery through their eyes. Surveyed providers ranged from Nurse Anesthetists to Surgical Chiefs. Despite the wide range of those surveyed, clear commonalities emerged in both patient and provider feedback. Finding unexpected themes in the responses allowed for rapid solutions and action plans that were tailored to meet the needs identified in the surveys.

Key findings from the Bone and Joint Health Series:

Patient results

  • Patients identified a need for more education on surgical alternatives.
  • Patients want to hear from peers, former patients and others who have gone through a total joint replacement
  • Patients said that they would like to have more access to exercises and health tips to maintain healthier joints.
  • It matters to patients that they have a full understanding of same-day surgery, what the expectations are and how to prepare their home prior to their operation. 
  • Pain management was a common theme. Patients identified the need for comprehensive education on pain management after surgery.

Provider results

  • Providers say that it matters to them to have a full understanding of best practices and education around how best to share the best practices throughout the healthcare system.
  • It is important for providers to feel as though they are effectively managing patient expectations around their surgical journey. 

We are always looking for new ways to connect with patients and staff. If you have ideas or would like to share how you have activated your patient engagement process, please reach out to me! I would love to hear your story andrew@goshadow.com.

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