Engaging and Empowering Our Nation’s Heroes

Clinicians in VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) across the nation are using GetWellNetwork’s patient-centered platform to empower Veterans to participate in their healthcare journey, which ultimately, leads to better outcomes.

Similar to non-government hospitals, VAMCs use post-discharge surveys to gauge Veterans’ satisfaction with their experience. The Veterans Health Administration selects a sample group of service members to send the Survey of Healthcare Experience of Patients (SHEP) — a standardized questionnaire similar to the HCAHPS survey used by CMS and commercial health systems. The SHEP measures performance across eight dimensions related to their hospitalized care experience. While insightful, the data received from the responses is retrospective and provides limited value for real-time service recovery.

Focusing on the experience

VAMCs have implemented a number of initiatives and strategies to improve Veterans’ satisfaction with their provision of services. Doing so has also led to advancements in their SHEP performance.

Actively engaging Veterans in their care is one of the core performance improvement strategies that many of these facilities are implementing. This includes leveraging GetWellNetwork’s GetWell Inpatient, which offers a patient-centered approach proven to enhance experiences and improve outcomes.

GetWellNetwork’s technology directly aligns with VA patient engagement strategies and supports goals for modernizing VA medicine with innovative technologies. Shifting from “sick care” to Whole Health using personalized, proactive and patient-driven care is inspiring Veterans to achieve optimal health and well-being [view infographic].

Engaging, educating and empowering Veterans

More than a measure of satisfaction, SHEP is a reflection of the overall quality of care provided to Veterans. Half of the survey’s domains and questions measure perceptions of the quality of their experience (e.g., “My room was clean.” or “Staff was responsive.”). The other half assess the quality of the care process (e.g., “I was taught about my medications.” or “My pain was controlled.”). Advancing in overall SHEP performance across all eight domains requires a strategy that addresses both the customer service experience and the level of quality care provided.

Raising SHEP scores means improving Veterans’ satisfaction with their care experience. GetWellNetwork’s tools and resources empower them and their families to learn about their condition, participate more actively in their care, communicate with providers, and prepare to care for themselves when they get home.

VAMCs are reporting double-digit increases in SHEP performance after adopting and integrating GetWellNetwork’s IPC delivery model across the care continuum and leveraging the included tools and resources.

Providing tools and resources for success

The GetWellNetwork platform offers a number of service management tools and over 35 Patient Pathways™ that have proven over time to directly impact Veterans’ satisfaction with the quality of their overall experience.

For example, the Patient Pathways automate, standardize and improve the overall quality of care processes in the hospital setting. VAMCs can use the Veteran Experience Pathway to obtain feedback on specific domains throughout their stay. If a Veteran indicates concern or dissatisfaction, a notification is sent to the appropriate person within the medical center so they may address and provide rapid service recovery in the area(s) of concern.

The Medication Teaching Pathway allows patients to learn about their active medications and ensure all elements of education are covered including teaching on medication side effects—a common area in which hospitals often struggle with respect to patient satisfaction performance.

Patient Pathways are triggered based on schedule, a prescription from a caregiver, Veteran feedback or as part of an overall care plan. They automate the care process for greater workflow efficiency and offer a level of consistency, standardization and quality that can have a significant influence on the Veteran’s perception of the quality of their care.

Beyond these tools, there is a host of reports and dashboards for monitoring overall and individual satisfaction. For instance, from the dashboard facility leaders can take an immediate overall pulse check on the level of satisfaction within their facility and pinpoint areas for improvement and individuals needing service recovery intervention.

The combination of tools, well-designed service management, recovery process and availability of real-time data and analytics means VAMCs can enhance the experience for every Veteran which ultimately, reflects in positive performance trends.

The double-digit increases in SHEP performance reported by VAMCs really tell the story best. When the tools are used together with effective service management processes and engaged leadership, the results are significant.

We are privileged to work alongside the care providers who serve those who have sacrificed so much for our country. It is our pleasure to help ensure that these heroes are provided with the best experience and quality of care every day.