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Pursuing healthcare equity with
Real-time Feedback

With an eye toward equity in healthcare, leaders at the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s
Hospital of Chicago wanted to improve the care experience for Spanish-speaking patients
and their families. Because they lacked robust feedback data on this population, however,
leaders had only limited visibility into Spanish speakers’ unique needs.

That all changed with the help of NRC Health’s Real-time Feedback solution. Using
Real-time’s rapid response collection, Leaders at Lurie Children’s…

  • Saw a five-fold increase in response rates among Spanish-speaking families
  • Were able to isolate the most effective survey modality for Spanish speakers
  • Used the data to make meaningful changes to patient intake and documentation procedures
  • And more!

STRATEGIES UTILIZED

5X

INCREASE IN SPANISH-SPEAKING
FAMILIES
RESPONSE RATES

2X

OF SURVEYS COMPLETED
BY SPANISH-SPEAKING
FAMILIES

NRC Health

LEADERSHIP HAS DATA TO
MAKE BETTER STRATEGIC
DECISIONS

The Opportunity

Disparities in care quality are an unfortunate feature of the American healthcare system. Serving an equitable care experience to all populations has emerged as an urgent priority for health-organization leaders across the country. Attempts to pursue healthcare equity, however, frequently encounter a major hurdle: data disparity.

Due to language barriers, statistical underrepresentation, and other structural obstacles, many institutions simply do not have the data they need to make meaningful improvements to minority-group care. This was the case at Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (Lurie Children’s).

Because Lurie Children’s serves a sizeable cohort of Spanish-speaking patients, leaders there wanted to ensure that these patients experienced a quality of experience that was on par with their organizational standards. However, when they consulted family-feedback surveys, leaders found themselves hemmed-in by low response rates among Spanish speakers. Without robust feedback data, they were unsure where to focus their efforts.

To improve the experience for Spanish speakers, leaders needed to drive these response rates up. To do that, they turned to NRC Health’s Real-time Feedback solution.

“Awareness and visibility are key to mobilizing resources and making real change. Real-time gives our data that visibility, so that we can act on it and make good decisions.”

Barbara Burke, Senior Director Patient Family Experience, Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital

The Solution

Real-time is a patient-survey strategy that reaches 100% of patients within 48 hours of their care episodes. Compared with mailed-in paper surveys, which can take weeks to reach a patient’s mailbox, this immediacy gives leaders rapid insight into their consumers’ experiences.

Perhaps more importantly, the strategy also embraces a variety of modalities to better meet patients where they are. Real-time can reach patients using SMS, email, or interactive voice recognition (IVR) technology, giving leaders a suite of options to reach their customers.

Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago created visibility for their feedback data with internal data dashboards. Leaders and analysts stratified their results overall by race/ethnicity and language, then used these measures to identify significant gaps in experience for their families with limited English proficiency.

THE IMPACT
Leaders at Lurie Children’s saw rapid results after the implementation of Real-time. Within one year of its deployment, Real-time helped them lay the foundation for broader institutional change.

Hearing more voices

Perhaps the most pronounced effect was a dramatic uptick in response rates among Spanish-speaking patients. Across three different settings, the raw percentage of responses saw as much as a five-fold increase. The proportion of Spanish-speaking to English-speaking responses also increased, reflecting a more accurate representation of the Lurie Children’s patient population.

Understanding the data

With this new glut of data, leaders at Lurie Children’s were better able to assess the experience of Spanish-speaking patients and their families. One stand-out insight was about the feedback methodology itself. Spanish-speaking customers showed an overwhelming preference for IVR feedback surveys: 95% of their responses came via IVR, versus 72% in the general patient population.

Another important insight came from a granular look at patient responses. They showed that while Spanish-speaking customers tend to return very high global measures (e.g., Overall Rating and Likely to Recommend), they were less enthusiastic about the particulars (e.g., Nurse Courtesy/Respect and Time Spent with Care Provider)

From this breakdown of scores, Lurie Children’s leaders were able to reasonably conclude that, while Spanish speakers enjoyed a high quality of care at their organization, possible communication barriers were driving down interpersonal scores.

“The transition to Real-time was absolutely imperative for us to do all this. It dramatically increased our response rates, from groups that historically we had not been able to get a lot of feedback from.”

Cara Herbener, Director Patient Family Experience, Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital

Institutional improvement

The natural next step, therefore, was to do as much as possible to break those barriers down. Lurie Children’s leaders instituted a number of meaningful changes in their operations:

  • They partnered with their registration and intake staff to improve the accuracy of language documentation
  • They trained nursing staff on ways to access interpretation services, and on
    documenting language preferences in the EHR
  • They added iPads and special-purpose interpreter phones to every ED and PICU room

“A pitfall for many organizations is, we’re all interested in improving, but we don’t always make sure we have the data we need. The strength of Real-time is that it makes that data available quickly.”

Barbara Burke, Senior Director Patient Family Experience, Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital

Forward

These steps have already marked a profound difference for Spanish-speaking families at Lurie Children’s. But they’re just the beginning of the organization’s ambitions for equity.

Going forward, the system’s leaders will be commissioning a number of studies to better understand the needs of Spanish-speaking families, including a Latino/Latinx Advisory Council, interviews and focus groups and additional strategy and learning opportunities through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

And all the while, they plan to continue using Real-time’s data to support their analyses. They’ll explore new questions—like whether interpretation is living up to patients’ standards, and the possible correlation of interpreter availability and experience scores—to identify the drivers of interpersonal dissatisfaction.

Leaders at Lurie Children’s freely admit that the work of healthcare equity is far from finished. It may always be a work in progress. But so long as they pursue it in good faith—and with an eye toward human understanding—they will continue to move closer to a care experience that’s equitable for all. And that is a worthy goal for any institution.

“The experience data we got through Real-time was a huge catalyst for change. It started conversations and got us to plan and prepare our approach. For us, it’s been really great.”

Cara Herbener, Director Patient Family Experience, Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital


LEARN MORE
For more on NRC Health solutions,
call 800.388.4264 or visit nrchealth.com/demo.