For our most recent webinar Q-LEAPx (Leadership Excellence Across Patient Experience) virtual roundtable, Co-Founder and CEO, Edward Shin, MD talks about service recovery and clinical burnout. His guests are Dr. Charles Washington of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Rebecca Asmussen, CPXP of Mount Sinai Health System, and Gustavo Del Toro, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. Each guest has used the Q-Reviews® platform for years and continues to see the value added to their organizations.
Going the Extra Mile for Patient Satisfaction
Dr. Charles Washington, for instance, is all about ensuring patient and employee satisfaction. Memorial Sloan Kettering has been using Quality Reviews® since 2017, and according to Washington, “We’ve made some real impacts and gotten a lot of insights into the aspects of what our patients say and think about their experiences with us.”
Q-Reviews® provides his team the ability to quickly address patient needs, which they strive to do within 24 hours. They respond to all reviews that receive a rating of three stars or lower. With that prompt attention comes expectations from the patients and their families. He explains that many patients are actually “surprised” to hear from the team, and that the quick response time is the key to patient retention.
According to Rebecca Asmussen, Q-Reviews® has helped Mount Sinai’s goal of excellent patient experience through service recovery. She describes a recently opened practice in Long Island, New York, which was receiving satisfactory grades–not negative, but also not excellent reviews. That was just enough information for the staff to follow up with patients about their appointments.
Q-Reviews® has also allowed their teams to be “granular” with their follow up. For Washington, that means allowing the nursing staff to tend to nursing issues, and radiation therapy tending to radiation therapy issues.
Trying to Change the Culture of Mediocrity
Dr. Del Toro had the challenge of providing customer service at a “safety net hospital.” That means that his institution is forced to do more with less, including staff. However, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center has no desire to settle into a “culture of mediocrity” and instead strives for leadership excellence. Three years ago, the staff began using real-time feedback to change the hospital’s trajectory, reviewing the data from the day or weekend before to create action plans for service recovery.
Del Toro says, “it’s revolutionized our ability to capture the experience that patients undergo in our emergency department and in almost all of our ambulatory service areas.” He refers to it as an “invaluable mechanism” for keeping tabs on productivity and challenges from day to day. He expressed that even the CEO frequently quotes Q-Reviews® and attributes changes within the system to its findings.
Wyckoff’s utilization of Q-Reviews® shows that no hospital system–no matter the type of funding, is exempt from listening to the unique needs of patients, as well as staff.
Combatting Staff Burnout
As the Chief Medical Officer at Wyckoff, which is in Brooklyn, Del Toro saw the worst of the pandemic. New York City suffered greatly in the first and second waves. During the third wave, his hospital lost five employees. “When we were overburdened with chronically ill patients, and they were dropping dead.” Not only were they overwhelmed, but they were at max capacity with nowhere to send the patients.
Del Toro explains that they did what they could, but that it didn’t feel like it was enough. “We lost so many lives. And during that time, I saw my colleagues behaving, and probably myself, under the greatest pressure that healthcare has been under, in at least a century. It was sobering.”
It is no wonder that staff is burned out and quitting at unprecedented numbers. However, it is up to their places of employment to identify and alleviate signs of burnout.
Washington describes how his hospital has formed a faculty burnout committee, “The efforts look at the quality of the engagements that the faculty member has, and what are the dynamics that may challenge them along the way?” It is also important to get the staff perspective on the patient experience, as well as daily operations.
The team has also worked to identify the signs of burnout and on methods for keeping staff motivated and engaged. He says at the heart of that is emotional intelligence, credibility, and learning to be reflective thinkers. “These are the kinds of practices that we continue to engage our staff across the institution.”
Asmussen describes how Covid-19 created the need for virtual options. Mount Sinai already had a center for stress management, but with offices being so spread out, employees were having difficulty accessing yoga, or meditation. “It’s really been a benefit to us with things moving into a more virtual and electronic space, because it’s given us a lot of access to those offerings that the health system has had.” Virtual options, plus employee recognition and occasionally office lunch, have helped to keep frontline staff engaged. She explains that these practices were happening prior to the pandemic, but it has increased the need for protecting the employee experience.
Covid-19 has been a learning experience for hospital systems, and Q-Reviews® has been the means of teaching. Washington says, “I’ve learned that people are more resilient than we may have initially appreciated and that people who get backed into a corner will find ways to get the job done.”