Evaluating your employees’ performance can be a challenge. Evaluating your own performance is fraught with difficulties. When hospital units implement their own patient care within a post discharge framework, barriers to success immediately emerge:
- It is unrealistic to ask unit employees to report on their own short comings based on their patient interviews.
- It is unrealistic to ask a patient to evaluate a clinician who may have recently provided them with care and could be their provider in the future.
- It is unrealistic for a unit manager to track and manage a comprehensive telephone outreach campaign and oversee and provide face-to-face care.
- It is unrealistic to have clinicians, who are providing care, collect comprehensive patient experience data over the phone.
- It is unrealistic to have a unit clinician triage a patient on the phone without telehealth training, software, and support.
The best post discharge engagement programs:
- Present independent and impartial data to the unit continuously.
- Allow units to deal with their problems first.
- Focus unit staff on service improvements through face-to-face patient care.
- Deploy comprehensive scripts that accurately mirror patient experience. This can mean asking twenty or more questions during a post discharge interview.
- Use independent post discharge advocates, who will collect feedback in an impartial and non-threatening manner.
- Provide a clear escalation path should the patient be in trouble or require immediate clinical advice.
The tendency to improve patient care using internal resources is strong. Most managers feel they can solve the problem. However, it is important to remember not to take resources away from patient care in order to evaluate those very services you are trying to improve – both initiatives will suffer.