Healthcare’s burnout crisis is having a disastrous effect on staffing levels. The annual turnover rate for staff nurses is 22.5%which costs healthcare organizations $8.55 million annually.
Feedtrail — a Raleigh-based healthcare software company — believes its platform can help mitigate this crisis. The company thinks healthcare workers often become more satisfied in their roles when they’re connected to messages of patient gratitude, so it built technology to deliver that positive feedback to clinicians.
In December, the company launched a clinician retention workgroup designed to streamline the process of ensuring that employees are aware of positive patient feedback. Feedtrail announced the results of that workgroup on Tuesday — the company found that 77% of clinicians agreed that consistently receiving positive patient messages reinforced their purpose.
The program ran from December through April. The cohort included four providers: Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, Texas Tech Physicians in Lubbock, and FirstHealth of the Carolinas in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Nearly 800 frontline clinicians received positive patient feedback through the workgroup. They worked in care settings that have been characterized by worker fatigue during the past few years, including emergency departments and busy physician practices.
The four providers included in the cohort used Feedtrail’s platform to collect patient feedback and funnel messages of gratitude back to caregivers. At the end of each week, the platform automatically sent a text with a link to a two-question survey to each patient who received care over that week.
The first question asked patients if there was an individual staff member they wanted to recognize, and the second question asked them what they specifically wished to recognize about their interaction with this caregiver. Feedtrail’s platform shared these messages of patient gratitude directly with clinicians on a weekly basis through smartphone, email and employee portals.
Feedtrail’s baseline survey of participating employees showed that many did not say yes to the question asking if their employer shared positive comments about patient interactions with them on a frequent enough basis, said Paul Jaglowski, Feedtrail’s chief strategy officer. After the implementation of the company’s platform, agreement with that question improved 25% on average across the participating units. One unit even experienced a 40% increase in agreement between the baseline and pulse survey, achieving 100% agreement across its clinicians, Jaglowski declared.
Unfortunately, staff recognition and positive feedback ends up getting overlooked at a lot of health systems, he pointed out.
“Sharing patient gratitude internally has historically been a manual process, anecdotal or difficult to track. While most organizations do have a forum for collecting positive feedback — such as surveys, nomination forms or DAISY Awards — it is often dependent on a patient or colleague going out of their way to share a positive experience they had long after it occurred, therefore forcing the leadership team to follow a trail of breadcrumbs to identify the individual being recognized and then distributing that praise internally,” Jaglowski explained.
However, positive reinforcement is more effective when it’s delivered closer to the interaction. Of the providers that Feedtrail has spoken with that are doing a good job of providing this feedback already, the reality is that they are still only sharing the recognition with their teams on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.
That’s “simply not enough in today’s workplace,” Jaglowski declared. He may be right, considering the increasingly demoralized state of the healthcare workforce — on Monday, research revealed that nearly 60% of nurses feel misunderstood or underappreciated at work. It also found that only 40% of nurses have no plans to change their work status in the coming year.
To combat this workforce crisis, Jaglowski pointed to some examples of initiatives health systems can roll out to positively reinforce their staff members.
For example, during the workgroup, Feedtrail found that it was often a good idea for senior leadership to send out weekly newsletters highlighting all of the positive praise individuals received throughout the week. This was “extremely impactful to improve the culture of recognition and gratitude across entire teams and departments,” Jaglowski said.
In addition, department leadership could kick off each team huddle by reading kudos aloud that was received in their department during the previous day or week. They could also display these positive messages in public areas around the unit, such as bulletin boards or TV monitors, Jaglowski added.
Photo: Mykyta Dolmatov, Getty Images