Creating a road map for patient experience excellence

VA shares lessons learned with Beryl Institute


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During Patient Experience Week (April 22-26, 2019), the Veterans Experience Office was invited to speak as the Beryl Institute’s Headline Webinar, offering insights and lessons learned while implementing patient experience  programs at all VA medical centers across the country. To watch the webinar, visit https://www.theberylinstitute.org/page/WEBPXvapxroadmap.

The Beryl Institute leads the top global community of practice dedicated to improving patient experience through collaboration and shared knowledge.

Red Coat Ambassador

Veteran Albert Summons gets help from Central Arkansas VA Red Coat Ambassador Kim Womack, a surgical nurse. (photo by Jeff Bowen)

During the webinar, the Veterans Patient Experience team reviewed the process to build, deploy, and mature patient experience across VA through orchestrated tools and touch points, and introduces the facility patient experience self-assessment, patient experience road map to excellence, and patient experience guidebook that has enabled VA to transform and improve on the delivery of exceptional patient experience to our Nation’s heroes.

The VA patient experience team is part of the Veterans Experience Office (VEO), established in January 2015 to enhance the way VA interacts with Veterans and their families. The VA patient experience team specifically focuses on the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), while other VEO teams work with the Veterans Benefit Administration, National Cemeteries Administration, Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and other VA program offices. This approach allows VEO to support individual and unique requirements, but also stay focused on the overall experience. Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors do not view VA as several entities, and VA’s working to deliver a seamless experience, regardless of the entry point.

In 2017, the patient experience team began building the framework of an exceptional patient experience, that could be implemented nationwide. The VA patient experience journey began by defining patient experience as:

“the sum of all interactions, shaped by the organization’s culture, that influence Veterans and their families’ perceptions along their healthcare journey.”

“the sum of all interactions, shaped by the organization’s culture, that influence Veterans and their families’ perceptions along their healthcare journey”

VA PX

VA patient experience training has been provided to all VA Medical Centers

Once patient experience was defined, the VA patient experience and VHA designed what patient experiences should look like at all VA health care systems. Executive Leadership Teams and employees across the Veterans Health Administration’s health care systems were engaged, as well as other external organizations such as the Beryl Institute, to determine what existing patient experience programs would be considered best practices. Based on this research and feedback, VA patient experience tools and programs were developed, such as the: Green Glove Initiative, “I Choose VA” Employee Badges, Own the Moment Veterans Customer Experience workshop, Red Coat Ambassador,  Standardized Phone Greeting, and WECARE Leadership Rounding program.

These programs were made into toolkits for easy adoption and in 2018, VA patient experience began deploying to VA health care systems across the nation in the form of a three-day implementation on-site, to employees and executive leadership teams on patient experience values, behaviors, service recovery, and the “Own the Moment” guiding principles.

“The way we treat Veterans today is the reason they will choose VA tomorrow.”

This year, patient experience self-assessments were created for VA health care systems throughout the country to weigh the outcomes of the implemented patient experience programs and identify opportunities for improvement. The VA patient experience team also created a patient experience road map to Excellence and a patient experience Guidebook to assist facility patient experience champions as they build the foundation to create an unrivaled patient experience, and become a highly reliable organization.

To watch the webinar, visit https://www.theberylinstitute.org/page/WEBPXvapxroadmap.

Author

Brett Robbins

Brett Robbins is an Army Veteran serving as a communications specialist detailed to Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Experience Office.