Policy & Measurement

Measuring what matters: A proposal for reframing how we evaluate and improve experience in healthcare

The conversation on measuring experience has been a long and thoughtful one. It has reflected a dynamic tension between measures used as a lever for action in some health systems and as a mechanism to determine reimbursable dollars in others. Yet underlying all the conversation, the question of what we measure, to what end we measure and what truly matters to those who experience care remains. Through a series of conversations over the last two years senior experience leaders across healthcare organizations determined it is time to assess the current landscape of patient experience measurement, to acknowledge what the existing system of measurement has inspired in effort and outcomes and to look forward to what could really make a difference in providing actionable insight and sustainable improvement in the future. While there are policy requirements for what organizations measure and report along with financial implications, this need not be the universal means by which patient feedback is captured and issues are addressed. This is paralleled by a global call for a clear, simple, comparable and actionable system of measurement to both understand and improve experience efforts in healthcare. This article reflects those conversations and frames the opportunity we have. It acknowledges all that the current system of measurement has helped us do, offers a new view on what measurement can be and presents a call to action to convene a diverse range of voices to shape experience measurement for the future.