A woman’s husband came out of heart transplant surgery a few days ago. His recovery is on track, and this morning he has an appointment scheduled with a physical therapist where he will walk for the first time since the operation.
The woman has to leave the hospital to attend a critical prior engagement in another city and is deeply disappointed to be away from the hospital. She told the nurse how much she wanted to be there, and the nurse had promised to send a video.
Fifty miles away while waiting for her engagement to start, the woman’s heart and mind are with her husband. She receives a text message from the hospital that contains a link to a secure web page. She logs in and sees a message from the nurse, along with the video. She watches her husband walking – a small miracle – and plays the video again and again.
Caring Not Just for – but Also about – Patients and Families
The nurse in this scenario is a practitioner of “What Matters to You,” an ethos centered on the importance of clinicians caring not just for patients, but caring about the “experience of illness” they and their families face.
June 6 was “What Matters to You” day in North America. In recognition, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement published an article by the “What Matters to You” originator, Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA, Executive Director of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital. The article is titled 3 Ways to Make Every Day “What Matters to You Day.”
In the article, Edgman-Levitan talks about how she developed the idea for “What Matters to You” as an outcome of a long journey to find a healthcare provider who took her own chronic illness seriously. She explores why it can be difficult for clinicians to have “What Matters to You” conversations with patients – and how these conversations can help clinicians be more efficient and effective.
She is prescriptive too, laying out ways an organization can build “What Matters to You” into its work. This includes healthcare leaders asking clinicians and staff what matters to them, empowering clinicians to have “What Matters to You” conversations, and providing tools to have those conversations.
Tools to Support “What Matters to You” Conversations and Actions
What Matters to You resonates with me as a nurse and as the senior product manager for Vocera Care Experience, a comprehensive set of solutions to help healthcare leaders proactively manage the human experience across the continuum of care. Care Experience solutions are synergistic with the “What Matters to You” ideals.
One important tool is the Care Experience Rounds solution, which makes it easy for leaders to engage patients and staff. Another is our Care Inform solution, which supports communication with patients and families inside or outside the hospital. (Watch the video above to see how Care Inform works.)
Have You Used “What Matters to You” Concepts?
Have you used “What Matters to You” concepts in your clinical work? I’m interested in hearing about your experience and welcome you to connect with me on LinkedIn