WHAT WAS THE CHALLENGE, OPPORTUNITY OR ISSUE YOU WERE ADDRESSING?
The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (GLA) has been actively working to change the culture at the facility to become truly patient centered since 2006. In acknowledgement of their successful efforts, GLA was honored to be selected as one of the first 5 VA medical centers in the country to be designated as a Center of Innovation for Patient Centered Care, with emphasis on integrative health and healing. However, even with the extensive work in advancing patient centered care, the facility’s Veteran/Customer satisfaction scores as measured by the Survey of Healthcare Experience of Patients (SHEP) were not improving.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO ADDRESS IT?
In order to focus on enhancing the Veteran/Patient experience with healthcare at GLA, the executive leadership established the Office of the Patient Experience in February 2012. The office components included key players/units that were already invested in the Veteran experience improvement in their current roles such as patient advocates, congressional correspondence and Voluntary Service – individuals who were critical players in the implementation of patient-centered care.
GLA leadership wanted to ensure the “Voice of the Veteran” was taken into consideration with decisions at all levels within their organization. They established a new position, Voice of the Veteran Program Manager, whose responsibility was to actively engage Veterans in all activities. Veteran patients are responsible for the operation of three Patient Advisory Councils (one at each major site) and Veterans are members of medical center committees, councils and panels for employee selection. Veterans are now requested to be part of the primary care teamlets to provide insight to providers regarding patient centered care in outpatient areas.
In addition to creating the Office of the Patient Experience, timely Veteran insights provided through a partnership with TruthPoint, played a vital role in improving GLA’s Veteran experience scores by providing real-time Veteran satisfaction information directly to the frontline leaders and staff. Compared to the post-discharge SHEP scores, the TruthPoint assessment provided more timely, relevant and personalized feedback for the staff to develop, implement and manage performance improvement initiatives in their areas. The Veteran Experience Specialists (formerly known as Patient Advocates) became proactive rather than reactive when it came to managing Veteran feedback in both the inpatient and outpatient areas. They don’t wait for the Veterans to come to them; the Veteran Experience Specialists go to the Veterans themselves. Rounding with the TruthPoint assessment within the patient areas enabled immediate service recovery and helped to establish an entire Veteran Experience Team on the floor.
“Along with utilizing the TruthPoint assessment, having these Veteran Experience Teams is one of our major initiatives,” said Debby Lasker, Chief of the Office of the Patient Experience. “The concierge desk staff, Veteran Experience Specialist and unit customer service representative work together to improve the Veteran and family experience on that floor or in that clinic area.”
WHAT OUTCOMES WERE ACHIEVED?
The facility saw continual upward movement in TruthPoint scores within the first year of this new program. Overall inpatient satisfaction with care increased from 42% to 99%, which indicated Veterans perceived better care and services. In addition to our improved TruthPoint scores, 10 of the 11 inpatient SHEP (HCAHPS) domains of care improved significantly during this time. Another important achievement was improved employee engagement. Effective utilization of the TruthPoint data for performance improvement allowed individuals and teams to receive timely recognition for a job well done and allowed for team-based recognition when improvement targets were met. Utilization of the TruthPoint technology was also a critical factor for immediate service recovery. The “real-time” results allowed the frontline staff to determine quick resolutions to help their Veteran resolve issues immediately.
“Veteran experience is our number one priority,” said Debby Lasker. “When people have a choice, we want them to choose us. We know that the way in which we care for Veterans and their families is paramount when they come to our medical center. We need to ensure that their voice is always heard and that we do all that we can to provide compassionate, personalized, proactive and patient driven care.”
About the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is one of the largest, most complex healthcare system within the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is one component of the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (VISN22) offering services to Veterans residing in Southern California and Southern Nevada. GLA consists of three ambulatory care centers, a tertiary care facility and 10 community based outpatient clinics. GLA serves Veterans residing throughout five counties: Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. There are 1.4 million Veterans in the GLA service area. GLA is affiliated with both UCLA School of Medicine and USC School of Medicine, as well as more than 45 colleges, universities and vocational schools in 17 different medical, nursing, paramedical and administrative programs.
TruthPoint goes above and beyond mailed measurement surveys and questionnaires to provide a timely assessment that pinpoints where a healthcare system is succeeding and where it is coming up short. Then, using these detailed patient insights, TruthPoint provides the coaching and expert guidance to help clinicians and managers improve in areas of greatest need. The TruthPoint patient experience platform leads to better medical care, improved patient experience scores and a healthier bottom line.
Patient-centered care. It’s another reason why TruthPoint is the proven patient experience improvement platform. TruthPoint believes exceptional healthcare starts with, ends with and should be all about the patient. TruthPoint may work for healthcare systems, but they’re always working to improve the patient’s experience.