How hospitals can enable lasting improvements in quality, safety and patient-centered care

"We're all looking to accomplish a lot," said Press Ganey's CEO at the HIMSS and Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit. "But without the right organization and understanding, we'll collapse under the weight of aspirations."
By Mike Miliard
10:47 AM
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Press Ganey CEO Joe Greskoviak speaks with Cleveland Clinic Chief Experience Officer Adrienne Boissy, MD

CLEVELAND – Healthcare is full of "mission-driven, passionate people" who work hard every day to ensure safe, high-quality care and optimal patient experience, said Joe Greskoviak on Monday at the HIMSS and Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit.

So why do some healthcare providers have better outcomes on those fronts than others?

While almost all health systems have mission-driven cultures and are staffed with committed leaders and caregivers, after all, there are still big disparities in performance among them, said Greskoviak, president and CEO of Press Ganey.

While some providers are able to innovate and achieve lasting performance improvements, others are losing ground or staying flat – which is tantamount to losing ground, since the bar for success in healthcare gets higher every year, he said.

"There's nothing more frustrating than working as hard as you can and not seeing it translate to tangible, sustainable results," said Greskoviak.

Most healthcare organizations understand that "we all have a responsibility to challenge the status quo," he said. And most also realize that "technology can be an incredible enabler."

But lasting innovation doesn't just come from the collection of more data, he explained. It's about how it's used to refine performance.

As health systems strive to delivere safe, high-quality, patient-centered care across the continuum, even the most "engaged and resilient care teams" will be challenged to build an improved experience without strategic help from leadership.

"We can't go it alone," said Greskoviak. "Healthcare is so complex, we're dependent on each other to continue to improve."

Health systems that want to succeed will work to position their caregivers and staff for success with new enterprise governance models, innovative operating frameworks, and forward-thinking project management, he said.

"Aspirationally, we're all looking to accomplish a lot," he explained. "But without the right organization and understanding, we'll collapse under the weight of aspirations."

Those providers finding the most sustained success are putting in place visionary leadership roles, such as Chief Transformation Officers – Press Ganey hired its first one in 2018 – and maximizing the chances for frontline caregivers to succeed.

What they're not doing is putting the onus on their clinical staff, with ad hoc projects that aren't backed by resources and strategic support,

Greskoviak mentioned one performance improvement initiative he'd heard about where nurses were assigned 38 distinct tasks to focus on each day – some ill-defined, some working at cross-purposes with each other – in addition to their normal routines.

"How much do you think we're going to actually accomplish with that approach?" he asked. "Our responsibility to our employees is to put a framework in place that allows them to succeed the way we're asking them to."

Whether it's HCAHPS scores, clinical benchmarks or operational efficiencies, health systems need to adopt holistic thinking about quality improvement, he said. "One-off activities are not going to get you where you need to go."

Digital Transformation in Healthcare

In May, we'll talk to experts and professionals on the front lines about what's really happening today with the digital transformation in healthcare and what hospital executives need to be doing right now.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.