How do you build a culture that improves patient experience? In my recent Linkedin Live conversation with Cassandra Crowe, Chief Experience Officer at Sharp HealthCare, Cassandra shared insights into the employee experience transformation at Sharp HealthCare and the ways in which this multilayered process impacted business operations and patient experience.
Sharp HealthCare is San Diego’s healthcare leader with hospitals in San Diego, affiliated medical groups, urgent care centers, and a health plan. As we know, improving employee and patient experience in the healthcare system can be a daunting task to undertake. Once you add the non-profit business model, there are more nuances to navigate. In our conversation, Cassandra described how she assessed the work to be done once she joined Sharp, the ways in which she helped her internal team feel valued, and how she united the C-Suite under a shared mission.
“Sharp really took every one of those components of hardwiring excellence, which really focused on focusing on your employees, on clear practices of leadership development: how you speak, how you act, your on stage and off stage behaviors, measurement—and taking all of those practices and putting them into action,” said Cassandra.
Assessing the Work to be Done: Start from the On-Boarding Process
Cassandra described how her first day of orientation at Sharp was a less-than-ideal experience and did not seem to accurately represent Sharp’s values or the reason why she joined the company. She explained that she mentioned this unsatisfactory orientation to the CEO and decided that revamping the employee experience with HR and the C-Suite was going to be a critical project to undertake. Her first big assessment was around figuring out how to attract the right people to the company and once they’re on board, how to properly bring them into the culture at the human and operations level.
According to Cassandra, understanding Sharp’s HCAHP scores and the process for introducing new leaders to the Sharp experience was a helpful starting place for her. Additionally, Cassandra began to meet with many of the leaders she interviewed with, to gain their perspectives on what was working and what needed to change. Cassandra soon found a misalignment between the goals of the CEOs of Sharp’s various entities – which was to improve patient experience, and her own job responsibilities to grow people, leaders, and the team. Once she realized there were many different opinions on the work that needed to be done, she regrouped with her CEO and put together a plan for a shared vision regarding the Sharp experience that united both the employee and the patient experience.
(Re) Build Alliances and Partnerships
“The other thing I realized very early on was that some alliances and partnerships had probably been frayed. So I’ve spent a lot of time rebuilding those alliances and partnerships,” Cassandra told me. Cassandra described an important aspect of experience-oriented leadership work, and that’s understanding who your allies are, how other colleagues interact with each other and listening to existing pain points. Once an organization decides to unite under a common goal, you need to know how to navigate the many relationships that will lead to achieving the end results.
Another component of Cassandra’s process of rebuilding partnerships and alliances involved looking at how vendor partnerships were managed. Cassandra said that they hadn’t challenged their survey vendor partner to fully do their job, nor had they reviewed what kind of data they were submitting to their partner. Realizing this was an effort that she needed her team to have more control of, Cassandra explained that she tasked her internal consumer research person to provide more insights rather than simply putting together reports.
Cassandra wanted the data to tell a story—the dashboard means nothing without a full understanding of how all of the information comes together. Holding external partners and internal members for more useful feedback was another method for improving employee and patient experience.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“I have learned that not everybody has your heart. So wherever you go, there will be people who aren’t good people. Keep doing the good anyway. And the return on that keeps coming back in spades, just over and over. I feel my blessings keep coming back to me because, what I do, I do because I know it’s the right thing to do. I do it to make life better for other people. And that’s it at the end of the day if we’re doing the right thing to make life better for other people. The good will keep coming back to you.”
About Cassandra CroweCassandra Crowe is the Chief Experience Officer at Sharp HealthCare with over 20 years of leadership experience in the industry. She is passionate about human connection and its power to create meaningful impact. Cassandra has a proven track record of dramatically increasing quality, level, and experience of medical care for patients, families, staff, and communities via a holistic, systematic, and results-focused approach.
The presenting sponsor of the Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show is Help Scout. Help Scout’s customer support software was named a leader in multiple categories in G2’s Winter 2022 Report, including easiest to set up, easiest to use, and best ROI. If you’re unhappy with your current support software, switch to Help Scout, and they’ll even buy out your existing contract. Learn more at helpscout.com/switch.
This partnership ensures that I can continue these shows that you’ve shared such positive feedback on. Thanks so much to Help Scout! Enjoy the show!