Meet Michigan Medicine: Office of Patient Experience

June 1, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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From the moment they pick up the phone to make an appointment or enter the hospital as a patient to the time they no longer need care, patients and families at Michigan Medicine deserve a world-class experience.

Achieving that goal is everyone’s responsibility — though one department in particular can offer plenty of assistance.

Here’s what you may not know about the new Office of Patient Experience (OPE), a department that helps Michigan Medicine put a spotlight on excellence in patient- and family-centered care!

Courtesy at its core

Established in 2016, the Office of Patient Experience was created to work with operational units to coordinate and improve the patient experience across the organization.

Currently, it consists of more than 900 patient and family advisors and 19 staff members within two distinct units — Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) and Service Excellence — and functions by engaging patients and families as active partners in their care and as valued partners in Michigan Medicine’s improvement efforts.

“We work hard to provide patients and families with the care they need, at the time they need it, with respect and compassion for the patient and the family,” said Keith Gran, the organization’s Chief Patient Experience Officer.

OPE team members are focused on four main priority areas — access, environment of care, courtesy and communication.

The team’s work is done through partnerships with patients, families and staff members in all areas of the academic medical center, including UH/CVC, C&W, the Comprehensive Cancer Center and ambulatory care clinics. The teams collaborate on projects and share best practices to help units improve how the quality, safety and experience of patients and their families can be improved through empathy and effective patient and family engagement.

“From point of care, to facility, program and policy design, we know that engaging our staff and faculty to honor what matters most to patients and families is a key driver to improving the patient experience,” said Molly White, manager of adult services for PFCC and administrative director of OPE.

“There is so much evidence about the value that patient- and family-centered care has on patient outcomes and we have enormous potential to take that to a new level here.”

Works in progress

In addition to drawing from its existing Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs), OPE seeks to improve the patient experience through the creation of a new advisory group — made up of patients, families, physicians, departmental leaders and nurses — that will provide guidance to the OPE leadership team. The committee will help prioritize which initiatives to adopt and potential practices that could be improved in each of the four focus areas.

For example, in terms of access, many patients attest to the fact that getting a timely appointment with a U-M doctor can be a challenge. To ease such concerns, the OPE team is planning to implement access solutions within the Department of Internal Medicine, beginning with pulmonary and cardiology.

To improve the environment of care, OPE plans to make it easier for patients to navigate the complex academic medical center. To do so, the office is partnering with Volunteer Services to launch the Ambassador Program this summer.

After receiving training, volunteers will be strategically placed at medical center entrances to greet patients and families, guiding them to their appointment locations. Ambassadors will also be deployed upon discharge to help patients smoothly exit the facility.

Another example is the development of a quiet kit, which — in partnership with Environmental Services — will be delivered to each patient admitted into UH beginning this summer. Acknowledging that hospitals can often be noisy, but that rest is a priority, patient and family advisors helped design the contents and packaging.

These initiatives will be regularly reviewed by patient and family advisors and the advisory committee and tweaked to fit the changing needs of patients and families.

“There are a number of initiatives we plan to launch in the coming months and years,” Gran said. “But they won’t be possible without the support of everyone at Michigan Medicine.

“We know that staff members are working hard in their individual unit or department and we hope to partner with those employees to bring about solutions across the organization. Patient experience is truly a team effort.”

If you have ideas on how to improve the patient experience, email them to