MGMA19 Session Spotlight: The “drip, drip, drip method” and patient experience

Insight Article

Patient Engagement

Christian Green MA

An ACMPE Fellow explores how creating and sustaining success don’t happen overnight

Transforming an organization takes a lot of work, particularly when integrating patient experience strategies into the existing culture. These initiatives often begin with a big splash but lose momentum over time due to the inability to simultaneously address culture and strategy when attempting to improve patient experience.

However, as Christine Schon, MPA, MHCDS, FACMPE, chief operating officer, Cheshire Medical Center, Keene, N.H., notes, this is one initiative that can’t be undervalued: “Improving the patient experience is a critical component in healthcare delivery and healthcare outcome,” she says.

This integration can be more difficult than expected and organizations often resort to extravagant full-day offsite meetings to launch big initiatives. But as Jason Vallee, MA, MAOM, CPDC, PhD, vice president of patient experience, Cheshire Medical Center, emphasizes, initiatives don’t happen overnight and are more effectively carried out over a longer period of time.

“We call it the ‘drip, drip, drip method,’” Vallee says. “We add one behavioral or cultural change at a time and then we have a two- or three-year look back and we’ve come so far.”

Vallee refers to this as a “trojan horse strategy” in which organizations develop an initiative that becomes an “un-initiative” and can ultimately lead to greater organizational success due to the continuous integration of meaningful, measurable and achievable goals.

As Vallee stresses, it’s a myth that organizations must develop an elaborate launch to kick off an organizational program; rather there are proven methods and tools — such as peer-to-peer coaching and patient journey mapping — they can employ over time to accomplish their goals.

From the patient experience perspective, Vallee contends that it’s important to “keep a relentless focus on developing innovative ways to meet those patient needs as diverse as they are.”

One way to do so is to create what Vallee calls “provider pearls,” which are one-minute snippets sent to providers’ smart devices. Rather than asking physicians to come together in a classroom setting for an hour, Vallee can furnish these content nuggets that they can review, react to and then discuss in their departmental meetings.

About the Author

Christian Green
Christian Green MA
MGMA Writer/Editor MGMA


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