What Matters to You? Looking Back on the Celebration of an International Movement

While asking "What Matters to You?" (WMTY) to patients and staff should be an “always event”, June 9th is marked as the annual celebration. This year, organizations worldwide joined in the celebration of a simple question-- "What matters to you?"-- and how asking it flips the conversation, and subsequent action, to be more person-centered. In 2020, National Health Service (NHS) Royal Free London Hospital, a global leader of the movement, piloted a learning tool to quantify the impact of having more person-centered conversations with patients in their hospital. The results were astounding.

  • 67% of staff reported asking “What matters to you?” changed the intervention that they delivered.
  • 80% of staff shared the information that they learned from patients with other health care professionals.
  • 90% of staff reported that asking the question enhanced their conversations with patients and families. 

As organizations around the world look to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, knowing what matters most to patients and staff is critically important. In 2021, an international group, including NHS Royal Free London, collaborated to create a WMTY Toolkit and Implementation Guide.  In an effort to learn more about what matters most to patients and staff, the international group created the WMTY Learning and Debrief Toolkit.  Learn more about the toolkit and WMTY Movement below.

What Matters To You Movement

Asking patients “What matters to you (WMTY)?” is often seen as a soft, non-clinical tool.  However, its origins as a shared-decision making tool focus on how to partner with patients to deliver more personalized care. In this model, patients become active participants in their care with providers as their voices and priorities are heard, resulting in increased patient satisfaction and improved outcomes. These untapped insights and themes that emerge from conversations with patients also give providers a better understanding of how to create more efficient practices and identify pain points using patient voices.  When used to co-design care and pathways, WMTY is proven to enhance patient outcomes and staff wellbeing. For example, process changes made from listening and acting on WMTY-reported themes from patients and staff relate to patient education, care coordination, and communication across care silos. 

WMTY Toolkit

Countries worldwide participate in the WMTY movement to increase the spread of person-centered care and workforce wellbeing in any setting. To support the growth  and resulting learning of WMTY, the Learning and DebriefToolkit contains resources to guide participants on how to have a “What Matters?” conversation and to reflect on resulting learning. 

  • Watch a short video on how to use the Debrief and Learning toolkit and to prepare to have a “What Matters?” conversation.
  • Tool 1A is distributed to staff. Staff will meet with as many patients as possible and fill out the back side of Tool 1A with the insights gathered. 
  • To maximize learning, staff should prepare for the What Matters conversation by understanding that the content being told is deeply personal and being able to show the patient they are listening. The smallest actions can go a long way. 
  • Staff should also keep note of common themes and determine if any immediate action can be taken. 
  • A key piece to completing Tool 1A is fulfilling the reflection section so staff can share their insights on their interactions with patients. 
  • Once insights are gathered, a team or unit leader will complete section 1B with all of the staff conversations and identify next steps. 
  • Team and leaders have the option to share their learning with the WMTY world team and in return receive a report reflecting the impact of asking “What Matters?” at their organization and key themes noted by staff. 

Key findings from NHS Royal Free London’s 2020 pilot reveal the positive impact the WMTY Toolkit can have on organizations internationally. The WMTY Toolkit starts a conversation that is oftentimes overlooked in today’s fast paced environment. Patients feel heard and in charge of their care, while providers are able to make positive changes for their patients and improve outcomes. Sharing this information with colleagues will only quicken the improvements being made. The future of healthcare is asking “What matters to you?”.


Posted on

November 19, 2021

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