Insights from Feedtrail’s Community Health Patient Experience Summit 2024

Ashley Worrall
May 1st

From April 18-19, 2024, healthcare professionals converged at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville, NC, for Feedtrail’s Community Health Patient Experience Summit. This two-day event brought together industry leaders, experts, and practitioners to explore innovative strategies for improving patient experiences in community health settings.


Community Health Patient Experience Summit Takeaways:

Speaker and attendee insights, combined with collaborative discussions and interactive sessions, made the Community Health Patient Experience Summit a resounding success. Let’s delve into the wealth of insights and actionable tips gleaned from the summit’s sessions to help community health centers and FQHCs improve their patient experience, business, and community initiatives:


Fostering Patient Engagement:

In community health, patients often seek care out of necessity rather than choice. To shift this, it’s crucial to explore ways to make the patient experience more engaging, inclusive, and personalized. Strategies discussed included:

  • Focus on Key Drivers: Instead of overwhelming staff with numerous patient experience initiatives, focus on 2-3 key drivers of patient experience to align efforts and drive meaningful change.
  • Tie Data to Interventions: Aligning survey questions with specific improvement interventions enables organizations to track progress and demonstrate the impact of their initiatives, instead of boiling the ocean with questions just to check a box.
  • Small Gestures, Big Impact: Empower frontline staff to set the tone for a positive interaction. One organization gives frontline staff small mirrors so they can see their facial expressions while interacting with patients- an easy and cost-effective way to make a significant difference in patient perceptions.


Improving Health Equity:

A cornerstone of improving patient experiences lies in understanding and addressing health equity issues. By recognizing the unique obstacles and needs of different patient populations, healthcare providers can tailor their services accordingly. Integrating equity considerations into organizational policies, practices, and programs is crucial for addressing systemic inequities and improving patient outcomes. Key takeaways include:

  • Collect Demographic Information: Front desk staff play a vital role in improving data collection, by helping staff understand the importance and “why” behind collecting demographic information you can improve accurate data entry.
  • Set SMARTIE Goals: By adding “Inclusivity” and “Equity” into SMART goal-setting processes, organizations ensure that interventions consider the diverse needs of all stakeholders and mitigate any potential disparate impacts.
  • Utilize Feedtrail’s SDoH Tool: Leveraging technology, such as Feedtrail, to complete the PREPARE screening tool, enables healthcare organizations to gather crucial data on patients’ social and economic factors, informing more targeted care strategies.


Leveraging Patient Experience Data:

Effective measurement of patient experience is essential for driving improvement initiatives. Key insights and best practices shared during the summit include: 

  • Establish Patient Experience KPIs: Organizations emphasized the importance of benchmarking patient satisfaction, analyzing feedback by population segments, and presenting positive and negative patient feedback comprehensively to inform decision-making.
  • Survey Design: Survey questions should be purposeful, actionable, and tied to specific improvement interventions. It’s crucial to regularly evaluate and refine survey questions regularly to ensure relevance and effectiveness.
  • Innovative Survey Methods: For remote clinics or underserved populations, innovative survey methods such as using tablets in offices can facilitate data collection and improve response rates. Organizations that serve the homeless also noted an increase in smart phone usage among this population and that they greatly appreciated care reminder messages.


Getting the Organization Onboard:

Securing organizational buy-in is essential for the successful implementation of patient experience initiatives. Key tactics for getting the organization onboard at community health centers include:

  • Share Patient Stories: Sharing patient stories, especially in-person or videos, with staff and leadership fosters empathy and reinforces the importance of patient-centered care and the impact of their work.
  • Audience-Specific Communication: Tailoring patient experience data sharing to different audiences—physicians, front desk staff, leadership, the board, etc.—ensures relevance and promotes engagement across the organization.
  • Create Scorecards: Developing scorecards for department meetings allows healthcare teams to visualize performance metrics that tie to their work, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate success and positive feedback.


Retaining and Attracting Talent:

Staff retention is a critical factor in maintaining high-quality patient care. Formal recognition programs and supportive leadership play pivotal roles in cultivating a positive work environment, boosting morale, and enhancing patient-facing care. Actionable steps for creating a culture of recognition include:

  • Recognition Programs: Implementing formal recognition programs, championed by leadership, boosts morale and fosters a culture of appreciation. Additionally taking the time to understand individual recognition preferences, such as public acknowledgment or taking on new responsibilities, personalizes recognition and boosts the impact.
  • Feedtrail Friday Newsletters: Sharing patient recognition stories through internal communications, such as Feedtrail Friday newsletters, celebrates staff achievements and promotes a sense of pride and belonging, while also ensuring the feedback is timely and relevant.
  • Employee Engagement: Combatting staff turnover requires strategies such as employee pulse surveys, exit interviews, and correlating employee and patient experience scores.


Leadership Engagement:

Engaging leadership in patient experience is an essential piece of motivating staff across the organization and ensuring successful initiatives. Some takeaways around leadership engagement were:

  • Leadership at PFACs: Invite senior leaders to participate in Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) meetings to share what the community means to them and why they’re inspired to work in community health.
  • Lead with Data: Participants agreed, the best way to garner leadership buy-in and support for new patient experience initiatives or investments was to lead with data and make a business case.
  • Leadership Rounding: Starting leadership rounds with positive feedback sets a supportive tone and reinforces desired behaviors among staff.


Community Health Patient Experience Summit Overview:

The Summit agenda featured speakers from prominent organizations, community health centers, and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) across the healthcare landscape, each bringing unique perspectives and expertise to the table:

  • The summit commenced with a warm welcome from Dr. William R. Hathaway, MD, FACC, Chief Executive Officer of MAHEC, setting the stage for insightful discussions and collaborative learning.
  • Tamiko Ambrose Murray, MSW, and Marisol Jiménez, MSW, from Spiral Path Consulting, delivered a thought-provoking keynote on integrating an equity lens into healthcare practices. Drawing from their expertise, they shared language and a framework for understanding and addressing the root causes of health inequities.
  • Moderated by Paul Jaglowski, Chief Strategy Officer at Feedtrail, a panel on the ROI of patient experience featured Karen Cagle, COO of Little River Medical Center, Alice Pollard, MSW, MSPH, VP of Operations and Strategy at NCCHCA, and Toni Land, MBA, BSN, CPXP, Founder and Chief Patient Experience Officer at Landing Exceptional Experiences. Together, they explored the tangible returns on investment achieved through prioritizing patient experiences and shared insights into linking patient satisfaction with quality and financial outcomes.
  • Felicia Hipp, Director of Organizational Effectiveness at Blue Ridge Health, and Tena Barnes Carraher, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing and Communications at The DAISY Foundation, discussed how to build a culture of recognition to retain and attract talent and get leadership involved.
  • Nikki Garcia, CPXP, Patient Experience Officer, Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) and Nikki Angeli, MHA, BSN, RN, CPHQ, CPXP, Patient Experience Strategist at Feedtrail, shared how to set, track, and share patient experience KPIs, building the foundation for a program that thrives on data insights.
  • Spiral Path Consulting facilitated a breakout session helping attendees understand trauma responses in themselves and others to strengthen their connection and interactions with patients, staff, and themselves,
  • Sarah Barry, Patient Advocate at Maury Regional Health, uncovered ways to build a 360-degree approach to patient experience improvement and engagement by involving all stakeholders, including families and staff, in the process.
  • Deb Woods, Chief Operating Officer at Feedtrail, and Paul Jaglowski, Chief Strategy Officer at Feedtrail, closed out the Summit by sharing recent and upcoming innovations from Feedtrail. Attendees heard about XM Insights, Feedtrail’s new advanced BI and Analytics platform that bubbles up insights and pinpoints areas and demographics to focus on, and how AI is continuing to be built into the platform to direct improvements and remove administrative work.


The Community Health Patient Experience Summit provided a wealth of insights and actionable strategies for healthcare organizations committed to enhancing patient experiences. Attendees appreciated connecting with peers that were working with similar resource restraints and patient populations. By effectively leveraging patient experience data, prioritizing health equity, securing organizational buy-in, and investing in staff recognition efforts, healthcare providers can create environments that prioritize patient-centered care and foster positive outcomes for community health centers.

Learn more about how Feedtrail helps Community Health Centers improve the patient experience.


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