The Patient Voice in a Learning Community
The goal of the Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Children’s (PPOC) is to make a difference in the lives of children.
“One way to do this is to improve the experience of our patients which can have life-changing impacts on the families that we serve. To improve care we need to understand the unique needs of our patients. The Patient Experience Survey (PES) is an important way that we bring the voices of patients and families into how our practices provide clinical care and meet our patient’s needs,” Dr. Glenn Focht, Chief Medical Officer of PPOC, explained.
In 2012, PPOC launched a number of different learning communities. These 9-month long longitudinal educational programs were developed by PPOC staff and content experts to proactively improve practices’ processes and in turn improve performance in multiple contract measures of clinical quality. One of the learning community offerings focused on optimizing patient experience anchored by data from MHQP’s PES. Member practices could pick from a set of domains that they wanted to improve upon such as communication, knowledge of patient, and integration of care.
After the PES results came out in October 2013, PPOC reconvened all the practices who participated in the 2012 learning community to talk about their improvements and share their experiences. The data showed that some practices had dramatic improvement, some practices had incremental improvement and some practices were still working to make progress.
“In our second cycle of running the program in 2014, we focused on developing the practice’s mission, vision, values and improving staff satisfaction because we believe that happy staff translates into happier patients,” said Katherine LaChance, MS, Senior Quality Improvement Consultant with PPOC, and course director of the Patient Experience Learning Community.
The learning communities were not without their challenges. As Dr. Focht detailed, “some of this material can be dry or difficult for people to hear. Our goal was to help our physicians and office staff learn from their colleagues in other practices about how to improve patient experience and to make these sessions pragmatic and real.”
But as Dr. Focht described, this is all part of the process of investing time and resources into continuously improving the patient experience. “One practice came back for the second cycle of the program. It turned out that they needed to create a common vision for improving patient experience across the entire practice. They worked on that vision and they used the tools from the learning community to help them get there. They are eager to see their results from the 2015 PES. It has been both exciting and humbling for us to understand what we need to do to support our practices in understanding how this important work is critical to our goal of improving the lives of children and families.”