(US) 1.800.388.4264 | (CANADA) 1.866.771.8231

Not just the numbers: Enriched insights
through Real-time Feedback

University of Missouri Health Care (MU Health), a five-hospital health system with 602 beds and more than 200,000 patients every year, used the NRC Health Real-time feedback solution with rich patient experience data to make a compelling case for change among clinicians. By using NRC Health’s consumer intelligence, MU Health’s experience team was able to design custom coaching programs that achieved dramatic service improvements.

STRATEGIES UTILIZED
System Governance | Attract & Acquire | Quality & Outcomes | Loyalty & Retention | Service Culture

11%

INCREASE IN COMMUNICATION SKILL
RANKINGS IN FAMILY-PRACTICE UNIT

8.7%

INCREASE IN OVERALL RATINGS FOR
AMBULATORY PROVIDERS

80%

OF AMBULATORY PROVIDERS
SAW IMPROVEMENTS IN SCORES

Opportunity

Like many health systems, MU Health has a wealth of data about patient experience. But when MU Health’s experience team showed this data to clinicians, many reported feeling overwhelmed. Within the deluge of data, clinicians had trouble finding actionable information to improve their practice.

What clinicians saw was a broad array of disparate facts; what they needed was a clear and comprehensible narrative. The human story behind the figures could guide MU Health’s clinicians to stronger performance. The experience team was determined to discover it.

To do that, they turned to NRC Health.

Solution

NRC Health’s Real-time Feedback solution was instrumental in MU Health’s efforts.

Real-time Feedback is an automated patient-survey solution that reaches 100% of patients within 48 hours of their care episode. This immediacy not only drives up patient response rates, but also gives leaders rapid insight into the quality of their consumers’ experiences.

Crucially for MU Health, Real-time Feedback also smoothly integrated with MU Health’s internal data warehouse and uncovered important new correlations that had previously gone unseen. Real-time Feedback solicits open-ended comments from patients, giving them a rare opportunity to voice their authentic opinions to providers. It was within these comments that MU Health found meaningful opportunities for experience improvement.

Implementation

FINDING THE STORY
First, the experience team analyzed Real-time Feedback’s quantitative feedback data for relevant themes they could convey to clinical staff. They found, for example, that certain demographics of patients would report middling levels of satisfaction with certain clinicians, or that patient experience would dip during certain days of the week. Identifying these correlations, and connecting them with MU Health’s revenue cycle, the experience team found clear relationships between exam-room performance and the organization’s long-term success.

“Our physicians reported frustration: ‘We just get the numbers.’ They wouldn’t know what to do with the data. There was a feeling of hopelessness from too much information. By combining NRC Health Real-time Feedback with data from our own internal data warehouse, we were able to fix that.”

Jeffrey Robbins, CPXP, Coordinator of Patient Experience Improvement, University of Missouri Health Care

SIMPLIFYING THE DATA
But the experience team knew that finding these correlations would not be enough. They would have to communicate them, too. Recognizing this, MU Health set out to radically simplify how these data-points would be conveyed.

They carefully re-fashioned data-streams into individualized dashboards for each clinician. They augmented trend-line reports with clear, eye-catching visuals. And they cleared away irrelevant “noise” data to make room for the “signal” that would ultimately help clinicians improve their performance.

This clean, simple, jargon-free presentation helped the experience team and clinical practitioners approach service issues from the same perspective.

   Example of the MU Health Dashboard

STARTING THE DISCUSSION
When it came time to coach clinicians toward a better patient experience, Real-time’s open-ended patient comments were indispensable.

The experience team used authentic patient comments to frame discussion around clinical behaviors. By showing physicians what their patients had to say about them, and backing up their comments with robust data, clinicians had an easier time internalizing the feedback that came to them.

These discussions of patient feedback also took on a distinctive format at MU Health. Rather than relying on mandated, top-down recommendations, clinicians and experience leaders would come together for one-on-one conversations. Together, they would devise simple, actionable steps to improve specific domains of the patient experience. Every month thereafter, experience leaders would follow up with the clinicians in question, to gauge whether their improvement efforts were successful.

“I firmly believe that by augmenting our internal data warehouse with Real-time Feedback, our patients told us everything we needed to know about our practice.”

Jeffrey Robbins, CPXP, Coordinator of Patient Experience Improvement, University of Missouri Health Care

Results

The experience team decided to focus this intervention on MU Health’s ambulatory-care and family-practice units. Undeniably compelling, the coaching sessions motivated these units’ clinicians to improve. Within 12 months of deployment, both units saw dramatic results:

A SHARP INCREASE IN AMBULATORY-PROVIDER RATINGS
Consistent coaching for specific ambulatory providers led to a marked improvement in service delivery. Patient feedback reflected the positive change. Overall ambulatory provider ratings increased by 8.7%.

This effect was also seen across the unit as a whole: 80% of MU Health’s ambulatory providers saw improvements in their experience scores.

BETTER COMMUNICATION IN FAMILY PRACTICE
Within MU Health’s family practice, communication skills were a cause for concern, and experience leaders targeted these skills for coaching intervention. Real-time’s data and comments made this intervention effective.

The family-practice clinic’s communication composite (MU Health’s internally designed measure of clinician communication skills) increased by 11 percentile rankings. This, in turn, helped move overall family-practice scores up by 7 percentile rankings.

“When you find the story in the numbers, physicians feel comfortable with the data. It’s credible and helpful. They’re getting
real experience intelligence, not just the numbers.”

Jeffrey Robbins, CPXP, Coordinator of Patient Experience Improvement, University of Missouri Health Care

Key take-aways

For any organizations hoping to see similar results from Real-time Feedback, MU Health’s experience team offers the following advice:

  1. DO YOUR “DATA HOMEWORK”
    While most clinicians want data-driven insight into their performance, they are unlikely to appreciate being presented with a torrent of raw data. They want insights, not just numbers. Before any clinician sees their own performance data, then, experience teams should do the work of analyzing it, looking for trends, and filtering out irrelevancies. This will help clinicians feel less overwhelmed, and present them with concrete areas for improvement.
  1. BRING DATA TO LIFE—AESTHETICALLY
    An aesthetic sense is crucial for making data digestible. Experience teams must put thought into the design of the data they show to clinicians. Taking time to strip out jargon, add color and visuals, and simplify clear trends will make the data that much more compelling to clinicians—which will make it much more likely to motivate change.
  1. UNDERSTAND YOUR PHYSICIANS
    Finally, MU Health’s experience leadership emphasizes the importance of empathizing with clinicians. Every physician has unique sensitivities and feels unique pressures as they perform their roles. Taking the time to grasp their individual emotional realities helps experience teams break past defensiveness and achieve a mutual understanding that can spur authentic change.

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