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Marcie Hopkins, U of U Health.
Bringing Purpose into Action with Patient Experience Goals
Senior Director of Patient Experience Mari Ransco shares some exciting changes University of Utah Health is taking on in FY23 to modernize and improve the patient experience for our communities and patients.

ow more than ever, improving the experience that we deliver to our patients is crucial to serving our communities and region. For far too many people, health care is still inaccessible, depersonalized, and inequitable. University of Utah Health wants to lead the way in changing that paradigm—using the guiding Health Sciences 2025 Strategy—by advancing equity, leading education, and innovating care to be accountable. 

Years of collecting patient feedback reveals three core needs from our patients and their families:  

  1. Make it easier 

  2. Really know me 

  3. Partner with me to improve my health 

We are all focused on the well-being of our teams and clinicians. What we see is that when we can’t deliver on these three things, it causes significant moral injury. 

This past August, President Randall appointed a Chief Experience Officer for University of Utah. This tells us that centering the experience of those we serve has never been more important. We’re bringing that purpose into action by: 

  • Modernizing PX measurement—moving towards timely, relevant, actionable feedback  

  • Migrating our experience tools and bridging to new measures 

  • Continuing to deliver consistent and improved reporting to let you know how you’re doing in the eyes of our patients 

Modernizing measurement 

This year, we’re migrating our patient experience tools from Press Ganey to a new partner, Qualtrics

Qualtrics helps us better achieve our purpose by moving towards better collection, visibility and connection to our patients and caregivers, all to provide insights to improve. They’re also a Utah-based company. 

In service of providing us with better insight, Qualtrics will help us:  

  • Better understand the entire care continuum—not a single encounter 

  • Target methods to understand the individual to create a personalized experience 

  • Hear what matters most to patients; design new products and services 

This move to Qualtrics fits into our five-year strategy to modernize patient experience. In previous years, we rehoused all patient experience data to our own electronic data warehouse (EDW) and introduced new goals and reporting. We’ve also been piloting with Qualtrics in pockets of our organization for the past two years.  

During this third year of our modernization strategy, we are focusing on migrating to Qualtrics, supporting the organization in making the change, and ensuring compliance with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Magnet.  

In future years, we will optimize and co-develop question sets because we will be gaining much more flexibility in what we ask patients. 

How is this migration going to work? 

This year is all about building a bridge between old and new as we migrate. Throughout the year, areas of the system will be shifting over in a two-phase approach, one phase that happened this past October and one phase happening in January. As we get closer to when services or areas will migrate, those teams will get personalized information. 

What to expect in terms of performance 

Because we will be migrating, you can expect variability. This is because: 

  • Measures will be slightly different at different points in the year, meaning that the way patients answer may be different. 

  • We may begin hearing from a lot more people, as have colleagues across the country. 

  • We will add providers who haven’t traditionally been surveyed because we no longer have a limit to how many people we can survey. 

  • It will be challenging to predict a SMART goal (the m and a – measurable and attainable) 

All of this means that setting numerical goals will be unpredictable and potentially unrealistic this year. We know that when we set unrealistic goals it can feel punitive for our teams. To that end, you’ll see in reporting that there is no goal specified, instead we are comparing this year’s performance to the FY22 baseline. 

So what should goals look like?

Our goal is to learn from our patients and their caregivers, address their concerns, use their input to inform our decision-making, and improve care delivery to be more equitable, inclusive, seamless, and welcoming for everyone.

While we migrate, we’re still going to be listening to our patients’ voices. We’re still going to be asking patients for their feedback, and it’s important that we’re listening and learning from our patients and their caregivers. The voices of our patients and their caregivers is critical to understanding whether we are having our intended impact. Executive leaders have information about key priority areas and will be supporting teams with specific goal-setting information, but the big takeaway is that performance goals should be behavior based, for example, how we learn from our patients. 


Mari Ransco

Sr. Director of Patient Experience, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Accelerate, University of Utah Health

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