I have great news to share with you! Last week, I published my second book,CGCAHPS & HCAHPS Breakthrough: Coaching Health Care Providers for Success with the Patient Experience. As the title suggests, it's a book about provider coaching.
What is coaching, and why do I think it's beneficial for improving the patient experience? Despite the increased focus on the patient experience, this topic is often missing from medical education. As a medical student and resident, my time was spent becoming an expert in anatomy, physiology, medical diagnosis, and treatment. We spent little time discussing the patient experience - why it is important or how to improve it.
Thankfully, that's changing as more and more health systems focus on improving the patient experience. Sit down during the visit, listen without interruption, summarize, solicit questions...these are all skills we emphasize for our doctors. However, one thing I've noticed from shadowing providers is that even when we have the best intentions, we still frequently forget to do what we know.
For example, I know not to turn my back on my patients when I'm using the computer. Yet, I frequently find myself doing this. If you asked me, I'd say I only do it occasionally. If you observed me, you'd see that I do it a lot more than I even realize. This is why a coaching program that incorporates shadowing can be so helpful. By implementing a provider coaching program, you observe your providers and offer objective feedback on what they do well, and what can be improved to positively impact the patient experience.
If you want to learn more, I've laid out a complete program in my new book. I go into very specific detail on what it takes to create a successful coaching program, and I've included a step-by-step guide. However, I still wanted to share a few tips to get you started.
3 tips to get you started with your provider coaching program
1. Choose an improvement coach - this is the person who will shadow and offer feedback to your providers. You want someone who is well-respected, compassionate, observant, and who truly understands the importance of the patient experience.
2. Decide what you're going to focus on - choose what skills you want your providers to focus on. These are the skills your improvement coach will look for when shadowing your providers.
3. Shadow your providers - once you select your coach and decide what you want to focus on, your coach can get busy shadowing your providers. By offering feedback based on direct observation, your coach can help your providers focus in on what truly needs improvement.
We're all working hard to improve the patient experience. There is no one thing that will instantly change your clinic or organization's patient experience, but there are definitive drivers of success. One of those drivers is physician coaching. If you're looking to start a coaching program, I sincerely hope my book helps.