Earlier this month, 15 VA leaders came together at the Grand Junction VA Medical Center to plan out the VA patient experience transformation. Their mission: to promote a culture where every Veteran receives an exceptional experience when they visit or interact with VA.
This builds on the May 2019 event where VA codified customer experience into its core values, adding customer service into VA’s Code of Federal Regulations.
“The VA is about serving Veterans,” said Secretary Wilkie at last year’s American Legion 100th National Convention. “Our responsibility is to serve you well and honorably. My prime directive is customer service.”
The VA patient experience plan
- Organizational alignment.
- Engaged culture where people are focused on leaders and employees.
- Expectations for employees and Veterans.
- Welcoming and belonging environment.
- Veteran engagement and collaboration: hearing their voice.
- Continuous learning: improving, measuring and designing.
“In order to realize our vision – VA has to have the best patient experience anywhere. We will align our culture to one of service to Veterans as they are first in everything we do, say or think,” said Jennifer Purdy, VA’s Veterans Experience Office Director for Patient Experience.
VA facilities across the country have already implemented several patient experience programs. These programs ensure every employee is trained and focused to provide care in a consistently exceptional manner. A few of the programs VA health care systems have implemented include:
- Red Coat Ambassadors: These ambassadors welcome Veterans and their families at medical center entrances, then direct them to their destination.
- Own the Moment: This customer experience workshop encourages VA staff to guide Veterans through the moments that matter on their VA journey.
- WE-CARE Rounding: Medical Center Leaders and Administrators make “rounds,” speaking directly with staff and visitors about the care and services they received.
- Standard Phone Greeting: Creates a uniform way to greet callers, letting them know in a clear, friendly way who they have reached.
Assessing our performance
Earlier this year, we created patient experience self-assessments for VA health care systems throughout the country. The assessments weigh the outcomes of the implemented patient experience programs and identify opportunities for improvement. Then, the VA patient experience team created a patient experience “road map to excellence” and a patient experience guidebook. These resources assist facilities as they build the foundation for an unrivaled patient experience program. This allows employees and volunteers to show how VA has put Veterans and their families at the center of every process.