Why is Patient Experience Week important?
Patient Experience Week is an opportunity to showcase all the work that has been going on throughout the year to understand and improve the experience of our patients and their families/whanau, and to also encourage engagement with our community. This helps us to set the scene for the rest of the year and keeps the focus on our Board priorities of improving health outcomes and patient experience.
Patient Experience Week is also a good opportunity for the three DHBs in Auckland to work together to make sure that people have a similarly positive health experience wherever they are in the region. This year our collective focus was on "communication" because patients tell us that good communication is vital to a positive experience, and it is an area where we have room for improvement.
What have we done?
We wanted to make sure that all the activities were really meaningful to our different populations and services, and things that they could get involved in – more ‘local’ activity rather than formal, corporate lectures and events.
[View a full report on our Patient Experience Week for 2015]
Patient story artwork
We have been collecting patient stories on film for two years and now have a library of around 40 short films with patients telling us what matters most to them, what is working well, and what they think we should change [view our latest patient experience stories].
For Patient Experience Week we arranged to have still-shots of the videos printed on canvas and hung as permanent art pieces around our main sites including North Shore and Waitakere hospitals and also some of our community sites. The artworks are a way to advertise our story library and encourage people to access the videos.
More importantly, they are a reminder that people’s stories matter – that we have a responsibility to listen to the people we care for, and in fact, they are the best way for us to really understand what is working or not. The people in our videos have appreciated making them with us, and the staff love having the display on their walls, especially when they include faces of people they have cared for.
[View our latest patient experience stories]
"Faces" - Mental health photo book
One of our consumer advisers for adult mental health services created a photographic booklet with images and brief stories from a range of people who use our mental health services. The booklet makes a statement against stigma and discrimination by showing that mental health problems can affect anyone. It is a reminder to treat people with compassion. Copies of the booklet were provided to all the participants and several are now available within our mental health services. Following Patient Experience Week copies were requested for purchase and are now available to the general public.
"My first reaction was relief, that there was help and that I'm not the only one going through this. At the beginning we weren't on the same side of the fence... then I started to realise that the staff, one care worker in particular, do care." - Christian
'You Said - We Did' campaign
Using feedback from our communities is the best way to make changes that are meaningful and have a positive impact on patient experience. We developed a campaign that would signify to staff, patients and their families that we listen to them and use their feedback to improve the services we provide. We also wanted staff to understand that not all change needs to be big to make a meaningful difference - that small actions create positive outcomes too.
The 'You Said - We Did' campaign required teams to identify at least two examples of feedback and record what they were doing in response. We developed posters so that we could publicly display all the work that was being done throughout the organisation in response to people’s comments. Initially we intended the campaign to be just within our inpatient areas, where we use our electronic survey. The response from staff was so overwhelming, however, that we ended up with over 60 different areas asking for posters so that they could display to their patients, visitors, and colleagues all the work they were doing to improve patient experience.
The members of our executive and senior management teams went out and visited every poster between them. They spoke to staff about the feedback they receive, and what they are doing in response. It was also an opportunity for them to talk directly to patients and visitors about their experience.
At the end of Patient Experience Week there was unanimous agreement that the poster campaign should be run twice each year to continue to build the relationship between senior leaders and other staff, and to continue to show colleagues and our communities how we are listening and acting on their feedback.
Our ‘selfie’ photo campaign was designed as a fun way to get people thinking about what really matters in healthcare. We had chalk boards and a photo booth moving around our different sites and people were simply asked to finish this statement: “when I need healthcare it matters to me that...” The statement was an intentional effort to ask something relevant to everyone, irrespective of whether they were a patient, visitor, or staff.
The areas visited included mental health (including 3 areas in our forensic psychiatric service – the Mason Clinic), Community Alcohol and Drug Services (CADS), medical and surgical wards, community and inpatient child health services, Wilson Home, maternity, hospital operations teams (cleaners, orderlies etc.), community dialysis, allied health teams and Radiology.
Over the week we took 268 photos; 49% were from patients and 51% from staff. All of the feedback was analysed so that we could see the key themes. What mattered most to people was that:
- We provide the very best clinical care and show evidence of how we are improving
- We treat people as individuals
- We are welcoming
- We take the time to listen and speak to people in an appropriate way for them
- We show warmth and compassion in everything we do
Patient entertainment systems
In 2015 we asked patients what one change we could make to the physical environment to improve their experience. Feedback was clear that access to the internet was most important, followed by entertainment options to relieve boredom in hospital. We now have 24/7 free WiFi access and, in a first of its kind for the country, partnered with Vodafone to trial bedside iPads in one of the wards at North Shore Hospital.
[View more about our patient entertainment systems]
This innovation is allowing patients to keep in touch with family and friends, manage their lives from their hospital beds, enjoy a range of entertainment options (such as music, TV and movies, games, books and news). We have also included important health information such as the ward orientation leaflet and a pain management guide [view more about our patient entertainment systems].
One exciting benefit that we did not realise until we put the iPads in place was that staff could use them to communicate with people who do not speak English. We now have a translation app that allows staff to communicate in a range of different languages.
Regional consumer rep forum
Following the success of our first consumer rep forum in November 2015, it was agreed that Patient Experience Week 2016 would include a regional consumer rep forum. Consumer reps are key to making sure that the voice of our community is central when we plan, deliver, and work to improve our services. The intention of the forum was to bring consumer reps together from across the Auckland region so that they could share their experiences, gain new knowledge and skills, and provide feedback to the DHBs on how to best support consumer engagement. Dr Chris Walsh, the HQSC Director for Partner’s in Care attended and gave a keynote address.
A diverse range of people attended and discussed topic such as:
- Understanding the health and disability system in NZ
- Building confidence and making sure you are heard
- Improving communication with and between consumer representatives
- What is the future of consumer engagement and how do we get there?
Where to from here?
Patient Experience Week was a great success. It was a way to maintain enthusiasm among our staff, get people really focused on patient experience, and encourage ongoing engagement with our community. Our next annual Patient Experience Week will be held in March 2017.