Improving Veteran Experiences by Changing Culture at VA Medical Centers

Sustaining Leaders Focus On Patient Experience at the VA

CASE STUDY

How might we create medical center leadership buy-in of the patient experience program?

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,243 health care facilities, including 172 medical centers and 1,062 outpatient sites, serving nine million enrolled Veterans each year. Operating at this scale is no easy feat, and the VA continually develops patient experience programs designed around industry best practices, including creating a consistent customer experience and a culture of empathy for Veterans.
 
Eager to find ways to increase adoption and integration of the patient experience programs, the VA partnered with MO Studio and Technical Assent to understand ways of nudging incremental day-to-day behaviors that can lead to transformational change and improved customer experiences for Veterans.
MO Studio developed a plan to conduct user research with medical center employees and the program experience team—to better understand the current state of adoption of customer experience programs. The team conducted observations and interviews with employees across the stakeholder ecosystem, including directors, patient advocates, physicians, nurses, and patient experience coordinators. Remote interviews were conducted with additional stakeholders from various medical centers and program experience teams.
 
Armed with these insights, designers created a vision for an ecosystem of physical and digital products that communicated timely and relevant content and tools to nudge medical center leaders to take small daily actions aligned with program experience. These seemingly small behavioral changes would be the catalyst for cultural transformation and an improved customer experience. The strategy is for the tools and content to be evolved, localized and deployed across multiple communication channels to elevate Veterans’ experience.
 
“I served for you, because when I get old, you’re going to take care of me. I love my Veterans, I love my young people, and I love my country.”
– Last known living Vietnam Veteran to have served five tours in the war