WOW: A KP Business Imperative
A Conversation with Linda Fahey and Judy Husted

Karen Casady, editor, Quintessence, hosted a dialogue between Judy Husted, Executive Director, Patient Care Services and Linda Fahey, Regional Manager Quality and Patient Safety, about the book, Caring: Making a Difference One Story at a Time and how it dovetails into efforts to promote more connection and communication between providers and patients.

LINDA: There are only two kinds of stories that people tell - really, really good stories and really, really bad stories. Nobody tells average stories.

Kaiser Permanente nursing across the continuum is on a journey to capture the good stories and the great care experiences that we are providing our patients everyday. To accomplish this, a decision has been made to publish a book, Caring: Making a Difference One Story at a Time, to recognize and share the impact that we are making on the lives of our patients and their families.

JUDY: We know there are many WOW moments that already occur. We are seeing them come to light with the DAISY Awards, recently being implemented at all of our hospitals to recognize caring, compassionate nurses for their extraordinary care. Those recipients are doing the things that we think really create that special moment for a patient or for a family or for each other – for the staff.

Our book, Caring: Making a Difference One Story at a Time, dovetails into that effort. It is our opportunity to unearth more stories and highlight those people, who have taken that extra step and created a WOW moment; who have carved out a story for our loyal advocates and promoters to tell. It is our chance to share our stories with the outside world.

Sometimes those moments get lost in the shuffle. What we’re trying to do with Caring: Making a Difference One Story at a Time and with the DAISY Awards is to clearly identify, acknowledge and share them.

LINDA: We have the opportunity to make creating WOW moments part of our culture and the way we provide care. Right now, I think our service scores represent what I call the “sometimes culture” - sometimes people do things and sometimes they don’t. I think one of the upshots of Caring: Making a Difference One Story at a Time and the DAISY Awards is for people to begin to look at, “What am I doing? Am I going this extra mile or am I just showing up every day and going through the motions?” to think about “What kind of stories do I want my patients to tell?”

JUDY: I hope that Caring: Making a Difference One Story at a Time will be both inspirational and consciousness-raising; loaded with the really great stories that we know are out there. We all have to remember that serving good care is not enough anymore in today’s competitive market.

LINDA: I’ll use a really good example - obstetrics. The young, healthy women who come to us to deliver their babies are also making the decisions about the healthcare that they are going to select for their families. If we don’t create really great experiences for those patients, they’re not going to stay with us. We are responsible for shaping the stories that they will share with friends and families for years to come. We are also responsible for the decisions they will make regarding their future healthcare.

JUDY: It is critical for us to look at the impact and influence that nursing has on the retention and procurement of new membership for the organization. When we look at our care experience scores relative to service within the industry, they are among the lowest that are being reported.

LINDA: One of the most important key drivers that really correlate with how members rate our hospitals and their experience is emotional support. We do not do well in this dimension. Internal surveys found that our focus and emphasis for our staff was more on efficiency and technology than on emotional support.

JUDY: That is why focusing on the emotional support we provide our patients and families is so important. One of our initiatives on the inpatient side is the Caring Model. Basically, we want our nurses to go in and introduce themselves and talk about their backgrounds and their competencies. We want them to sit at the bedside, develop a relationship and ask the patient if they are anxious or worried and then deal with those concerns. That’s how you build up confidence and trust.

LINDA: When a provider establishes that personal connection up front the patient feels more comfortable and less anxious. We’ve actually shown that time is saved; call lights do not come on because there are fewer extra requests when patients feel emotionally supported and their needs are being met.

JUDY: We know the quality piece is there. But, the next piece of the puzzle is the caring piece; the feel-good piece; the part where our patients feel emotionally supported. The part that often gets lost in the shuffle. That is unspoken. Caring: Making a Difference One Story at a Time has a multitude of purposes; to collect the stories we all have; to put them out into the world; to make the reader feel good, relate and have a response; and to be inspirational.

LINDA: Some stories are going to be just real tear-jerkers; others will grab you in the gut and hold on. Then there are going to be others that will be about little things that somebody did that made a huge difference. Regardless, this book has huge potential for us, the providers of Kaiser Permanente, and for our organization.