What It Really Takes to Listen to Patients

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

Medical science has enabled our health care system to deliver outcomes that would have been impossible a generation ago, and advances in fields such as genomics and stem-cell therapy offer immense promise to further accelerate medical innovation.

One promising trend in improving overall care is the growing emphasis on incorporating voices of patients, consumers, and caregivers into the design of programs and policies. Health care is at the beginning of a dialogue with the world on evidence, outcomes, and patient well-being that will transform care.

As extraordinary as insights from the laboratory often are, better understanding the experiences of patients and health care providers can provide a roadmap for the critical last mile of medical care, where all policies, procedures, and practice converge into action.

Below, I offer some approaches drawn from my experiences working in health-care-delivery organizations, government, and industry. The principles I propose are my own and do…

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Reduce self-criticism with Loving-Kindness Meditation

Originally posted on Benefits of mindfulness and meditation:

Shahar, B., et al. (2014). A Wait‐List Randomized Controlled Trial of Loving‐Kindness Meditation Programme for Self‐Criticism. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy Published online prior to inclusion in an issue.


  • Self-criticism plays a major role in many psychological disorders and predicts poor response to brief psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression.
  • The current study shows that loving-kindness meditation, designed to foster self-compassion, is efficacious in helping self-critical individuals become less self-critical and more self-compassionate.
  • The study also suggests that practising loving-kindness may reduce depressive symptoms and increase positive emotions.


Self-criticism is a vulnerability risk factor for a number of psychological disorders, and it predicts poor response to psychological and pharmacological treatments. In the current study, we evaluated the efficacy of a loving-kindness meditation (LKM) programme designed to increase self-compassion in a sample of self-critical individuals.

Thirty-eight individuals with high scores on the self-critical perfectionism subscale of the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale…

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People-Centric Experience Design Principle #3: Design for Memories

Originally posted on Customer Experience Matters:

I recently introduced a concept for enlisting the support of employees that uncovers and fulfills the needs of customers that we call People-Centric Experience Design (PCxD) , defined as:

Fostering an environment that creates positive, memorable human encounters


Principle #3: Design for Memories

When it comes to loyalty, customer experience isn’t the driving factor. That’s right, customer experience is not the key driver. What is important? Memories. People make decisions based on how they remember experiences, not on how they actually experienced them. This distinction is important because people don’t remember experiences the way they actually occur. Rather, people construct memories as stories in their mind based on the fragments of their actual experiences. An improved understanding of how people truly remember things helps you focus on designing the most important movements better. When examining the emotional reactions of people throughout an experience, it becomes apparent that five elements disproportionately drive…

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10 Behaviors That Distinguish Purposeful Leaders

Originally posted on Customer Experience Matters:

To better understand the behaviors that are most indicative of successful leaders, we asked 5,334 U.S. consumers who are currently employed to answer some questions about their direct managers. We asked them to rate the success of their manager as a leader within the organization and to describe how often those managers demonstrate 41 leadership behaviors that we tested (click to download full list of behaviors  (.pdf)).

We compared the frequency with which very successful leaders demonstrated the behaviors with the frequency demonstrated by other managers. The behaviors with the largest gaps represent the most distinguishing characteristics of purposeful leaders. It turns out that these very successful leaders are much more likely to:

  1. Motivate other people to deliver their best work
  2. Help people understand complex situations by describing things in simple terms
  3. Help people make decisions by presenting clear options
  4. Motivate other people to work together to achieve a common…

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Finding innovation, using lean integration improves patient experience

Originally posted on Virginia Mason Medical Center Blog:

Implementing learnings from conferences, literature key to improvement

The process of identifying innovative ways of improving the patient experience, then using lean methods to integrate those findings into our daily work is an important part of Virginia Mason’s vision of being a learning organization.

In health care, complacency too often stalls progress. Organizations focused within their own silos remain clueless about innovations elsewhere that could improve the quality and safety of care. Unfortunately, this sort of complacency is far from uncommon.

In contrast, providers that consider themselves learning organizations continuously search outside their own walls for ideas that can improve care for patients. In the complex, often turbulent world of health care, an insatiable sense of curiosity is no longer optional – it is essential. 

This installment takes a closer look at Virginia Mason team members who have taken innovative approaches learned outside the organization and integrated those learnings as…

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Customer Experience Leadership Requires Engaged Employees

Originally posted on Customer Experience Matters:

One of the Six Laws of Customer Experience  is “Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.” That’s why  Employee Engagement is one of Temkin Group’s four customer experience core competencies . To help make this point very clear, I tapped into the data from our upcoming report, Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2014 (see last year’s report ).

As you can see in the following chart with data from more than 5,000 full time employees in the U.S., customer experience leaders have significantly more engaged employees than do customer experience laggards. When compared with companies that have CX worse than their competitors, companies with significantly better CX have 3.5 times as many highly engaged employees and less than 1/4 as many disengaged employees.

1402_CXvsEEThe bottom line: To sustain great CX, you must have engaged employees.

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Understanding Patient Experience

Originally posted on Engaging The Patient:

We’ve discussed the importance of patient satisfaction – that when people are more satisfied with their care, outcomes and perception of the organization are likely to improve.

However, a recent article in Group Practice Journal, highlighted an important distinction pioneered by Cleveland Clinic – patient satisfaction, while relative, is not synonymous with patient experience. After four years of hosting the Patient Experience: Empathy & Innovation Summit, Cleveland Clinic outlined and implemented a strategy to transform its patient experience for the better.

After seeing measurable success, James Merlino, MD, Chief Experience Officer at Cleveland Clinic and Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer shared their “Top 10 List” for improving patient experience with Group Practice Journal. It includes:

  1. Patients First – Light the North Star
  2. Throw gasoline on the burning platform
  3. Make it personal and talk about empathy
  4. Lead, be visible and make it a strategic priority

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