Horrible Bosses: Finding Reality in the Extremes

Posted by Hannah Johnson on Aug 27, 2015 12:47:00 PM

Last weekend I rented Horrible Bosses 2 from Redbox. Wary of sequels, I had up to now put off watching it despite my love of the first Horrible Bosses. Disgruntled employees Nick, Kurt, and Dale are back in this sequel and taking matters into their own hands.

Watching these characters struggle with their truly awful bosses, it occurred to me that a movie like Horrible Bosses probably becomes popular not just because the situations it presents are so outlandish, but because they’re somehow relatable, despite their extremeness.

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Transforming Culture through Daily Huddles

When I joined Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in 2009, I knew there would be challenges. I was aware, for example, that the community had negative perceptions about the hospital.

What I did not anticipate was the concerning apathy I would observe among long-term staff when I arrived at the hospital. Two decades of punitive management and multiple bankruptcies under a previous CEO had left dedicated employees demoralized and wary of changes. 

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Popular Review Site Yelp Now Features Medicare Data alongside Hospital Reviews

Posted by Greg Hyman on Aug 25, 2015 9:55:32 AM

The review site Yelp recently announced it has begun displaying care quality information from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services alongside hospital and nursing home reviews.

The development is part of a partnership between the site and ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom, to “incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities,” according to the Yelp blog.

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Updates on Current and Emerging CAHPS Instruments – August 2015

Posted by Melissa Herrett on Aug 20, 2015 12:40:58 PM

As anyone involved with assessing the patient experience can tell you, keeping up with the changing survey tools and rules issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can be challenging.

Yet staying informed on the evolving survey landscape is crucial to maximize reimbursement and avoid penalties. This is true whether you are a hospital administering the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey or a provider group surveying your patients using the Clinician and Group CAHPS (CG CAHPS) tool.

To help you remain up-to-date on the latest developments in regulatory surveys, we have summarized some of the important recent changes in this blog post. To have regular updates on CAHPS instruments delivered directly to you, subscribe to Avatar’s blog.

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How Our Employee Engagement Survey Process Works for Us

Posted by Brian Ellis on Aug 18, 2015 2:29:21 PM

In my last article, I discussed some of the perks, activities, and practices we at Avatar have seen as direct results of our internal employee engagement survey. From regular one-on-one meetings with our managers to an annual summer outing, recognition and reward are just two of the outcomes we have seen from our own survey process.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the key steps of our internal survey process, which not coincidentally follows what we recommend for many of our clients.

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Inspiration Around the Office

Posted by Hannah Johnson on Aug 13, 2015 10:20:07 AM

Imagine this: It’s early Monday at the office. You watch as staff shuffle into the kitchen for coffee, some yawning or wearing worn looks. You turn to ask a colleague how they enjoyed their weekend and receive in response the tired refrain, “Ah, it went too quickly!”

Okay, so hopefully your work experience isn’t too similar to this portrait of the “Office of the Living Dead” I’ve painted here. But even if it isn’t, I believe we can all relate to the idea that our work environment strongly impacts employee engagement, for better or worse.

That’s why I’m a firm advocate of building an atmosphere that inspires staff to bring their very best to their work.

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The New Key Drivers of Employee Engagement - Pt. 2

Posted by Melissa Herrett on Aug 11, 2015 10:28:57 AM

As discussed in our previous blog post, Avatar's recent research has identified nine key drivers of engagement. In Part 1 of this two-part post, we explored four of the drivers: Organizational Culture, Work Atmosphere, Senior Management, and Skill Fit and Development. This article will examine the other five: Orientation and Training, Accountability, Individual Workload, Supervisors, and Coworkers/Teamwork.

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How a Company That Helps Others Engage Employees ... Engages Employees

Posted by Brian Ellis on Aug 6, 2015 8:01:28 AM

We have all heard horror stories about companies that promote one image yet do something very different behind the scenes.  Perhaps a company says their products are “all natural” when in reality they’re full of manmade chemicals, or an organization says they have a focus on corporate social responsibility, but meanwhile they’re employing sweatshop laborers.

Read a few stories like these and it’s natural to become a little jaded. Yet there are so many amazing organizations out there that practice precisely what they preach. Only these latter examples don’t make it into the media quite as often as the more sensationalistic, cautionary tales. 

With this dynamic in mind, I thought it would be refreshing to share some of our story – the Avatar story.

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Defending the Data, Vol. 2 – Crafting the Right Patient Experience Message

Posted by Marty Wright, Vice President of Engagement Services on Aug 5, 2015 6:00:00 AM


In this series of articles, Avatar’s Vice President of Engagement Services shares his experiences and suggestions to help patient experience leaders present data in a way that connects with audiences.


In my previous article in this series, I took a look back at my first presentation of patient experience data, and what my experience can teach about the value of telling the story instead of just “telling the data.”

In this installment, I’d like to continue that discussion by emphasizing the importance of crafting the right message. I’ll also share five characteristics of great patient experience messaging.

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The Two Most Common Obstacles to Achieving Success with Lean

Posted by Greg Hyman on Aug 4, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Lean and Six Sigma approaches have long been used by hospitals and health systems to increase efficiency, decrease waste, and improve the patient experience.

It’s easy to understand why the methodologies would be adopted so widely. In an industry focused intently on value, approaches that center on value specifically – and that have proven their impact in other industries – are certain to attract notice.

Yet, for all their popularity, Lean and Six Sigma have yielded mixed results for healthcare organizations. In some cases, improvement programs have produced notable change, with outcomes ranging from increased patient satisfaction to decreased cost per patient. In many other cases, no meaningful outcomes have been produced.

With numerous examples on each side of the fence, the question is not whether Lean is effective or not. Rather, the question is: What separates the successful programs from those that fail? While many factors can impact the success of a process improvement initiative, two themes seem to appear most frequently in the media and research literature.

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