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12 Patient Experience Week ideas to celebrate staff and empower patients

Patient Experience week starts Monday, April 29, 2024. We’ve compiled tips and best practices for you to use this year.

Medical professional works with patient during patient experience week celebrations

At a Glance

  • Patient Experience Week is an annual event that celebrates healthcare staff who provide compassionate, patient-centered care and aims to raise awareness about the critical role positive patient experiences play in healthcare outcomes.
  • Practices can celebrate Patient Experience Week through events and initiatives that honor hardworking staff while engaging patients and the local community.
  • Participating in Patient Experience Week can boost employee morale and retention, build community connections, and support an ongoing commitment to exceptional patient experiences.

“The staff always makes sure I understand exactly what is going on.”

“Every member of the team who cared for me was respectful and kind.”

“I know I’m in good hands with Dr. __, and that helps decrease my anxiety.”

“Thank you for caring for my son as if he was your own family.”

Every healthcare practice hopes to receive feedback like this. But these types of comments don’t just happen — they reflect a practice that provides a high-quality patient experience. Delivering exemplary patient service requires hard work, collaboration, empathy, and compassion — from providers and clinicians to administrative, housekeeping, and operations staff.

The Beryl Institute defines patient experience as “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.” Patient experience is a critical component of patient-centered care that offers a range of benefits for patients, clinicians, and practices. Research shows that higher patient experience levels can influence clinical outcomes, raise profitability, reduce malpractice suits — and bring in positive patient reviews.

Celebrating Patient Experience Week allows practices to show appreciation for the dedicated team members who put attention and labor into making patients feel safe, comfortable, and empowered to participate in their own care decisions. With Patient Experience Week 2024 approaching, many practices need ideas for activities and events that celebrate practice members and patients while engaging potential customers and the local community.

This guide provides providers and practice managers with essential information about Patient Experience Week. It also offers helpful tips for planning your week-long celebration, including 12 creative Patient Experience Week ideas for engaging activities. Practices new to participating in Patient Experience Week and those looking to level up after Patient Experience Week 2023 can use this guide to help plan a standout celebration.

Patient Perspectives Report

What is Patient Experience Week?

Patient Experience Week (PX Week) celebrates and raises awareness about the essential role of experience in healthcare. Observed annually each April, PX Week acknowledges healthcare employees who practice communication, collaboration, and compassion and their positive impact on patients. It also highlights how healthcare workers, patients, families, and the community contribute to and benefit from positive patient experiences.

The vision behind PX Week 

Inspired by its own members, The Beryl Institute developed PX Week to encourage healthcare organizations to celebrate accomplishments and boost efforts to improve the patient experience. By sponsoring a week of fun and informative activities, organizations can honor hardworking healthcare professionals while engaging patients, staff, and community members.

Observed annually each April, PX Week acknowledges healthcare employees who practice communication, collaboration, and compassion and their positive impact on patients. ”

Participating in PX Week shows your employees how much you appreciate the big and little ways they work to deliver an exceptional patient experience and encourages them to continue making such a valuable effort. It also brings your practice into a global community of healthcare organizations dedicated to care that centers on the patient experience.

Goals and themes for healthcare practices 

While aligning with the overarching goals of PX Week, independent practices can identify their own key goals to meet the needs of their patients and businesses. 

An annual theme communicates your key goals with simplicity. Your theme can guide you in selecting activities, developing a marketing strategy, and creating talking points for team members or social media posts. 

For example:

Amplify patient perspectives“Patient Voices Matter”
Encourage teamwork“Together in Harmony”
Improve cultural competency“Caring Beyond Borders”
Highlight innovative technology that enhances the patient experience"Innovation for Better Care"
Emphasize the role of empathy in quality care"Empathy in Motion"

When determining your PX Week theme, keep in mind the professional, personal, and cultural needs of your staff, patients, and communities.

When is National Patient Experience Week celebrated?

Although the exact dates change annually, PX Week always starts on the last Monday in April. Healthcare organizations around the world celebrate PX Week at the same time.

When is Patient Experience Week 2024? 

Patient Experience Week 2024 begins Monday, April 29, and continues through May 3, 2024. 

Planning ahead for next year’s PX Week

Proactive planning ensures that next year’s PX Week will build on the success and address any mistakes made during this year’s events. Planning ahead includes strategizing about ongoing patient experience initiatives at your practice so you’ll have new accomplishments to celebrate next year. 

Things to consider during planning sessions:

  • New goals and themes
  • Emerging healthcare trends
  • Community concerns
  • Patient feedback
  • Staff considerations

Be sure to establish a flexible, year-long timeline for adequate preparation so next year’s celebration runs as smoothly as possible.

Why should healthcare practices participate in PX Week?

Practices that actively participate in PX Week have the opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of positive patient experiences. Proudly observing PX Week sends a message that the practice and team take their commitment to patient-centered care seriously. 

The week also has long-lasting benefits for team members and the business side of the practice. ”

Celebrating PX Week can itself contribute to positive patient experiences by boosting employee morale and encouraging meaningful interactions with patients outside of office visits. The week also has long-lasting benefits for team members and the business side of the practice.

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Enhancing patient-centric care

Investing in PX Week encourages your practice team to prioritize empathy, communication, and patient engagement. Recognizing and rewarding compassionate care reinforces positive behaviors and sets a standard for excellence.

PX Week celebrations often include workshops and forums on topics that inform and educate healthcare staff, such as:

  • Honing communication skills
  • Reflective self-assessments for providers
  • Understanding and responding to patient feedback
  • Recognizing and mitigating implicit bias
  • Innovative tools for patient engagement
  • Addressing compassion fatigue in healthcare professionals

Activities that empower patients with information and resources can increase their health knowledge and prepare them to participate in their own care decisions. 

Benefits for healthcare organizations and staff

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry has high staff turnover rates. Across all practice types, 2022 saw a 40% turnover rate for office staff and 33% turnover in clinical support and business operations support staff. High turnover negatively impacts practice productivity and is associated with direct and indirect costs, resulting in revenue loss of up to twice the employee's annual salary.

PX Week provides a perfect opportunity to acknowledge employees who put time and energy into making patients feel seen, heard, valued, and appreciated. ”

Much research underscores the connection between staff recognition, job satisfaction, and turnover. PX Week provides a perfect opportunity to acknowledge employees who put time and energy into making patients feel seen, heard, valued, and appreciated. Additionally, PX Week activities can encourage team building and positive communication between staff members and departments, contributing to a caring, inclusive workplace culture. 

Community engagement and reputation building

Incorporating community engagement into PX Week helps increase visibility, highlighting that the practice prioritizes patient needs and cares about the environment in which it operates. Practices can sponsor initiatives such as health fairs, workshops, and information sessions. To show you value local businesses and offer more variety in PX Week activities, consider collaborating with a partner, such as a pharmacy, restaurant, or library. 

To spread the word about PX Week, use the templates and marketing resources available on The Beryl Institute website, including its annual “I am the Patient Experience” video. Be sure to take photos of your events and share them on your social media channels. Don’t forget to tag The Beryl Institute and use #pxweek so your posts can reach the global healthcare community.

12 creative ways to celebrate Patient Experience Week

Elevate the connection between your team and the patients they serve with these unique Patient Experience Week ideas.

1. Host a Patient Appreciation Day

To show appreciation and foster connection, consider dedicating one day of PX Week to activities designed just for patients. Patient Appreciation Day events can focus on patient education, chronic disease management, patient-care team communication, or other goals that align with your practice. 

Whatever theme you choose, make sure patients can laugh and enjoy themselves throughout the day. Offer door prizes, games, swag giveaways, karaoke with providers — anything light-hearted that balances out the more serious activities.

2. Share patient success stories 

Remember those comments at the beginning of this article? PX Week can help your patients provide feedback and also provide an opportunity to share widely. You’ll need to select activities or installations that make it easy for patients to tell their stories. 

One option is to invite people to write a positive comment on a piece of paper and place it in a large bowl. At a patient-staff roundtable, draw random remarks and discuss what worked and why. 

After PX Week, periodically share your favorite stories on social media, practice websites, blogs, or newsletters. ”

Another option would be to install a “patient comment wall” in the lobby. Use an extra-large bulletin board and invite patients to write comments and pin them up for all to see throughout the week. 

After PX Week, periodically share your favorite stories on social media, practice websites, blogs, or newsletters. You can choose whether to anonymize comments or ask for names (but make sure to ask for permission before sharing attributed comments, and ensure patient testimonials are HIPAA-compliant.)

3. Personalized thank you notes from leadership

A personalized note serves as a special memento of recognition and appreciation. Ask the CEO, CMO, or someone in another leadership role to handwrite or hand-sign notes on quality note cards. Hand these out to office and operations staff as well as clinicians. 

Personalized notes take a little time but can make a lasting impression on team members. A simple message like “Carrie, thanks so much for keeping our clinic fresh and clean. - Dr. Brenner” communicates to the employee that you appreciate their efforts.

Download the report

4. Organize patient experience workshops

Bolster staff education with patient experience workshops during PX Week. You might wish to hire a consultant, or you can use an online resource to design your own PX training, such as this free one from Prezi

5. Set up a “Share Your Story” booth

A "Share Your Story" booth fosters deeper understanding between patients and healthcare professionals. Patients share their perspective of the healthcare journey; staff describe what goes into effective healthcare services. Reading or hearing these stories generates mutual understanding and a stronger sense of community.

To create a successful “Share Your Story” booth:

  • Plan ahead
  • Use a comfortable, private location
  • Designate booth attendants
  • Create prompts, questions, or themes
  • Provide paper and pens or pencils for written stories
  • Prepare tablets, cameras, etc. for audio or video stories 

Take care to respect the privacy of staff and patients. Be transparent about what happens with any footage or files, allow participants to remain anonymous, and ask permission before sharing their stories.

6. Host a Q&A session with healthcare providers

Offering a provider Q&A during PX Week allows patients to learn more about the skills and responsibilities of care professionals. Insight into the provider’s expertise and humanity helps build patient trust, strengthening the provider-patient bond.

7. Decorate the facility with a patient-centered theme

Decor celebrating employees is essential for PX Week, but you can take it up a notch by adding patient-centered elements. Themes like “What do our patients really want?” or “Talk to us: we’re listening” encourage patients to engage with PX Week initiatives. Here’s a “When I am a Patient” board and an “Advice from a Patient” poster that work with either theme. 

8. Unveil new innovations and comfort features 

PX Week is an excellent opportunity to let patients know about any updates you’ve made that will make practice visits more comfortable, safe, and convenient. 

Examples of updates include:

  • New waiting room furniture with softer cushions
  • Making coffee and water available in waiting rooms
  • Fresh paint in warm tones for the lobby and exam rooms
  • Replacing loud TVs with soft music
  • New software that reduces wait times and simplifies paperwork
  • Advanced technologies that make procedures faster and/or less painful

Comfort can also refer to tools and technology that make things easier, such as a remote check-in option or a patient app that streamlines provider messaging and telehealth appointments.

9. Provide special offers or services

Show patients your appreciation and encourage new business with special PX Week offers or services. Patients are more likely to add more services or return for another visit when they receive a discount or freebie. Offering those perks for bringing a friend to PX Week is a great way to spread the word about your business while demonstrating that the practice genuinely cares about patients and staff.

10. Conduct free health check-ups or seminars

Everyone loves getting something for free, including a health screening or exam. This can generate new business and spur established customers to schedule more visits. It encourages hesitant patients to participate in preventive care and could potentially lead to a critical diagnosis that might otherwise have been missed.

Everyone loves getting something for free, including a health screening or exam. ”

Another option is to offer a free patient seminar. Consider topics such as managing chronic conditions, making lifestyle changes, grocery shopping for good nutrition, or recognizing signs of illness, mental health conditions, or addiction in a family member. Seminars can help grow your business and support values-based care through patient education. 

11. Collaborate with local businesses on PX Week initiatives

Partnering with a local business engages the community and adds variety that contributes to a memorable PX Week. 

Practices can forge successful partnerships with many types of businesses, including: 

  • Natural foods stores
  • Gyms and athletic clubs
  • Yoga and Pilates studios
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Local coffee roasters
  • Antique shops
  • Gift shops

Businesses can donate goods or services to use as gifts for employees or as a patient giveaway. Business owners can share their expertise in a live Q&A or blog post.

12. Launch a patient education campaign

Launching a patient education campaign during PX Week demonstrates a solid commitment to patient empowerment. Your campaign might be contained within PX Week or continue through the next month, year, or indefinitely.

Design your campaign to strategically leverage brochures, posters, videos, online resources, patient classes and workshops, and patient engagement tools. Through these channels, educational content can help bridge the information gap between providers and patients, promote health literacy, and encourage more collaborative relationships with healthcare professionals.

Patient Experience Week: A step in the journey toward patient satisfaction

Fostering exceptional patient experience isn’t a goal with a clear finish line. Instead, it's a continuous journey requiring dedication and adaptability. The journey asks practices and healthcare professionals to commit and re-commit to prioritizing compassion, communication, self-awareness, and cultural competence. 

PX Week offers a time of awareness and enthusiasm, but its principles should inform care delivery each day of the year. When practices cultivate an environment where patients feel supported, understood, and valued, everyone wins. 

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Amantha May, freelance healthcare writer

Amantha May is a freelance healthcare writer specializing in health tech, primary care, and health equity. She has written for a large range of clients, including medical equipment manufacturers, large health systems, digital health entrepreneurs, and private practices.

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