What do patients feel in the moments just before they receive the results of a diagnostic? How do they experience isolation during hospitalization? What uncomfortable situations do they have to deal with during health services? What importance is given to family members during a patient’s treatment? In March 2018, more than 60 healthcare players tried to answers these questions and many more during a workshop organized by the French Institute for Patient Experience and Grenoble Ecole de Management.
The primary goal of the workshop was to explore how to integrate a patient’s experience in the overall treatment process in order to encourage a positive dynamic in hospitals. In other words, how to improve the “care” in healthcare. How can listening and caring be offered to the patient? What impact does this have on the cure? The answer is without a doubt: Yes it has an impact!
“In business we have long asked for client feedback to improve the quality of services. Why not do this in healthcare? Patients know much more than we imagine and they can help improve the system. That’s the whole point of including their experience,” highlights Amah Kouevi, founder and director of the French Institute for Client Experience in Paris.
The building blocks for a patient-oriented culture
The workshop was the first of its kind in France due to the diversity of its participants and the size of the event. "The workshop is the result of a partnership between the French Institute for Client Experience and Grenoble Ecole de Management, a school that has earned the recognition of the healthcare world on this particular topic," explains Benoît Meyronin, a researcher and professor of marketing at GEM and an expert on customer experience who has been supporting hospitals on this subject for the past ten years.
The primary participants included hospitals, training centers, the governmental authority for healthcare, pharmaceutical companies, the healthcare ecosystem, paramedical actors, administrative actors, and of course, patients.
“The ambition behind this ‘patient-oriented’ approach is to go beyond regulatory guidelines in terms of the information provided to patients and quality control,” underlines Benoît, who is also a member of the advisory board at the French Institute for Patient Experience. “The goal is to create a fundamental change in culture by ensuring patients are at the center of healthcare. It starts with a 360° vision of his or her needs and not simply a vision of medical treatment. As a result, patient experiences can be a powerful catalyst for medical teams to find meaning in their daily activities. It brings their attention back to their fundamental motivation: helping the patient.”
Building the community
There are already several French institutions that are pioneers in this field: several entities of the APHP in Paris, the Brest Hospital, the Lilleou Hospital, the Northwestern Hospital Center, the Saint-Joseph Hospital Foundation in Paris, the Lyon Hospital… “All of these actors are convinced that increasing management’s attention towards patients and medical teams is a determining factor is the quality of healthcare and healing,” adds Benoît.
As a result, this new partnership aims to unite French pioneers in the field of patient-oriented healthcare experiences in order to promote positive initiatives, develop training programs that integrate patient experience, and finally, raise awareness throughout the healthcare ecosystem. To do so, a web portal has also been created to publicize events and information concerning patient experience as well as connect various initiatives and actors both in France and abroad.
Patient experience: the new key to healthcare?
Renewed interest in the patient's experience signals a positive dynamic in hospitals. What are the major levers to encourage this virtuous path?
- Developing awareness (what is the “patient experience”?) and methods based on those that have been successful in business (working on the patient experience, creating a framework with concrete indicators and rituals, demonstrating the added value of a positive patient experience…)
- Going beyond treatment to take into consideration the need for recognition that is voiced by patients and medical teams. This will benefit the entire system.
- Create an approach that enables the patient to be more involved and thereby play an active role in his or her healthcare.
- Rely on patient feedback to adjust and improve healthcare practices.
- Promote patient-oriented initiatives and facilitate the sharing of experiences in order to encourage the spread of best practices from one institution to another.