In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, improving the patient experience is one of the top priorities for healthcare leaders – and the secret to achieving this may lie in prioritizing staff wellbeing.
In a recent Becker’s Hospital Review webinar, leaders from healthcare, health systems, and hospitals came together to discuss the profound impact of internal culture on patient experience, with a keen focus on staff wellbeing.
Contributing healthcare leaders:
- Dr. Jeffery Jacques, chief medical officer, Virgin Pulse
- Thomas S. Ivester, MD, MPH, chief quality officer, UNC Hospitals
- Tyler Hill, chief medical officer, Sierra Nevada Memorial Health
- Rachel Thompson, chief medical officer, Snoqualmie Valley Health
- Eric D. Katz, MD, MBA, physician executive – medical specialties and graduate medical education, Banner Medical Group
Three key ideas emerged during this conversation:
The Intersection of Trust, Transparency, and Tech
Throughout the conversation, a recurrent theme was cultivating trust, transparency, and curiosity to foster a healthy staff culture. Dr. Ivester emphasized trust as the fundamental building block in any relationship within the healthcare arena, encouraging transparency and candid conversations with frontline staff. Echoing his insights, Dr. Thompson highlighted how leaders need to instill a sense of curiosity and enjoyment within teams.
Dr. Hill further expanded on the role of leadership in fostering a healthy culture. He stressed the importance of being a consistent leader, setting the direction for the organization, and creating meaningful connections with staff members. He said, “Culture is everything. No matter if we’re playing baseball and winning World Series or rec league sports, or in healthcare leadership or no matter what we do, culture is everything.”
The Role of Technology in the Care Delivery System
With the rise of digital health, technology’s impact on enhancing staff engagement and patient care was a focal point during the discussion. However, they also highlighted the need for thoughtful technology implementation, recognizing the profound impact of the right tech to drive engagement, culture, and wellbeing across diverse patient and staff needs, clinic footprints, campuses, and roles.
Dr. Jacques exemplified this via Virgin Pulse’s use of machine learning to identify and engage with individuals seamlessly. For patient engagement, Virgin Pulse supports healthcare systems with consumer-level propensity models and multi-modal communications that enable patient acquisition at care delivery sites set up for specific patient profiles to improve outcomes and support community health. For staff wellbeing and engagement, Virgin Pulse is known for consolidating and simplifying health, wellbeing, and benefits. Culture can feel abstract, wellbeing initiatives fall flat without engagement, and leveraging benefits such as mental or financial health or even getting proactive care can be difficult due to the inherent complexity of disparate systems. So, we take what healthcare systems need and have today for their staff and change how they interact and engage with their health, wellbeing, and benefits so that everyone derives benefits.
Dr. Investor said regarding technology for job satisfaction, “I think we’ve lost some of that relational capability and space to do that, and so many of our relationships have moved into the transactional space, and that’s not what drove most people into healthcare.”
Dr. Thompson mentioned how AI technology has helped doctors in her hospital reduce the time spent on writing notes, allowing them to spend more time with patients. She said, “Just imagine the day we interact with that EHR as providers. And that, I think, will change. Well, it takes away the last 20 years of pain, makes the EHR our friend and colleague, and helps us get through our day.”
The Indivisibility of Staff Wellbeing and Patient Experience
A unified sentiment amongst the panelists was the inextricable link between staff wellbeing and patient experience. As such, healthcare organizations must invest in both realms holistically to secure an improvement in overall patient outcomes.
Dr. Hill shared his hospital’s experience achieving remarkable physician engagement scores through relationship building and creating an environment for staff to enjoy their work genuinely. Echoing this sentiment, Dr. Katz expounded on the interconnection between being a great place to work and becoming a great place to receive care. He said, “We’re not in front of them having that conversation and asking the question. We’re not going to get back the information. We must deliver something product, service, schedule, whatever it is to their benefit and do it correctly.”
Together, these insights underline the importance of prioritizing staff wellbeing to enhance patient care and the transformative role that technology can play in shaping this process.
As the key learnings suggest, carving out a positive staff culture leveraging technology, trust, and transparency can catalyze significant patient experience enhancements. This session is brimming with actionable insights that can guide healthcare organizations toward achieving better patient outcomes and staff wellbeing.
Hear more about successful tactics and strategies by watching webinar replay to dive deeper into the details of the discussion.